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Last year, in 2015, Catherine and I spent many weeks travelling throughout different regions of India. A country so vast and so full of completely different cultures and customs, we were always exposed to something new and unexpected. With over 120 recognized languages and more than a thousand dialects as well as thousands of different gods being worshipped you can start to imagine the vivid contrasts the country presents.
This year, we plan to travel throughout more regions of the country as we seek to explore the different craft regions, meet new artisan partners and continue to be inspired by India’s many faces. Before moving on into 2016, we'd like to share a few of the many images we've captured bringing a little bit of India to your doorstep and perhaps inspiring you to discover this complex country for yourselves.
Mornings and daily routines start early in this rural village in the country side of Tamil Nadu. Waking up with the sunrise we would make it a point to take walks through the surrounding countryside in order to witness some of these daily activities.
In some places, everyone bathes together. We've never seen so many ducks in one place as we did during our stay in this region in Hampi.
According to local belief in parts of Tamil Nadu, the village guardian deity patrols the village every night keeping out evil forces. His horse plays an important role as he carries him on his rounds and it stands to reason that the horses need to be kept well fed.
Indian weddings are elaborate affairs. Hiking up to the one of the many temples around Hampi we were fortunate to come upon a local wedding ceremony. It was abundant with flowers, music, food and people and we were quickly invited to sit and watch!
Traditional Henna designs have been painted on the bride’s feet and here, the toe ring, a symbol of marriage for Hindu women, is being slipped on by her new mother in law.
Some temples are less obvious than others, as this animist site at the base of a tree shows. Elaborate flower offerings are made daily.
Symbolizing good over evil the demon here has been subdued by the guardian deity. And his horses stand ready to help transport him on his nightly rounds.
The scenery around Hampi of endless boulders mixed with bright green nature is spectacular. The whole region is so peaceful and spiritual. Here is Catherine one of our co-founders after hiking up to a sunset viewing point.
In the Rajasthan region of Northern India we traveled to a village called Bagru. Here traditional block printing employs the majority of the community. These indigo dyed cottons have been stamped using the dabu or mud-resist block printing method and set out to dry.
Cattle and other farm animals are everywhere in Hampi, where agriculture plays an important role.
Some Lambadi women still wear their traditional dress from which they get the inspiration for their embroidery designs. What a great coincidence to come across an elderly tribal woman while driving through the countryside and she agreed to pose for a photo.
Sunrise at the Hanuman temple in Hampi. Devotees tie colorful fabrics to this tree symbolizing a wish they’ve made.
So many beautiful carvings in these temple ruins surrounding Hampi. Lots of inspiration found here!
Having made a promise to fulfill a vow, this devotee taking part in a local festival has a betel leaf topped with a piece of turmeric root tied to his wrist.