I’ve recently returned home from a whirlwind trip around Rajasthan, and now know why the phrase ‘Incredible India’ was coined by the country’s government as its international tourism sales pitch. It’s a place like no other — a riot of colour steeped in culture. When my friend and fellow interiors enthusiast Amber Armitage and I were making our travel plans, we plotted an itinerary that would give us all sorts of otherworldly experiences, taking us to ancient forts filled with frescoes, architectural monuments dedicated to astronomy and the chicest boutique hotels we could afford.
The way colour is used so confidently to decorate indoors and out was utterly uplifting; my lasting impressions are of dusky terracotta temples with ornate marble detailing, cornflower blue houses with mint green trim, and fabrics intricately woven and printed by hand in every shade imaginable. But the memory that will remain the strongest is of the welcoming nature of the people we met.
We were made to feel at home wherever we went, from being served chai tea and chocolate cake in the middle of the night on our arrival at Scarlette guesthouse in New Delhi, to being invited up to a camel farmer’s rooftop terrace for chai overlooking a village in the Aravalli mountains, to sharing a meal on the floor of a family home in Bagru, where we spent a day learning about hand-block printing.
Each of these experiences and many others left me with a feeling of gratitude not only for that generosity of spirit, but also for how lucky I am to have the life I do at home, as there’s no ignoring the struggles many people face every day in India. They say travel changes you, and this trip truly has taught me the value of wonderful experiences as well as wonderful things.
Alice Lines, Editor