Dyeing to see the real India

The discovery of a dyed cotton fabric dating back to the Indus Valley civilization shows that the art of dyeing with the use of mordants was well known to the Indian dyers 5,000 years ago. This form of dyeing was responsible for making India famous all over the world for its dyed and printed fabrics. Printed fabrics have also been found in Fostat, the old Cairo City. Recent excavations of Red Sea ports have also brought out a greater range of printed textile. These date back to 800 A.D. There technique and design point to western Indian origin. Indian dyers had mastered the art of dyeing with fast colors from ancient times whereas in Europe this was unknown. Indian dyers were considered magicians by travelers, who saw them putting a white cloth into a pale liquid of indigo dye and when the cloth appeared from the dye bath it was still white. It was only when it came into contact with oxygen and it became blue. Multiple immersions and exposure to the air enriched the color. People felt this was a magical transformation. Printed fabrics were in common use throughout North India, as well as for home use. They also became important export items.




 You could be forgiven for wondering about this when the television shows, documentaries  on  India with Bollywood stars, high rise buildings  and hotels that you need not leave, because every type of souvenir is sold in the hotel foyer.  A ride on an elephant is included in the package along with the ready made turban, but just as you are settling into being a Maharaja,  you are summoned back to the bus.  Tourist,s seem to move at an amazing pace once the tour leader calls.

A busy day is always a must, whizzing around from one place to another exhausted when you get back to the hotel and wondering where have you have been and what was the name of the last white building ( probably the Taj Mahal).  No problem you can look it up in the guide book when you get back. India can replicate a village  complete with artisans in the car park even in the  most conjested city and is always ready for the next tourist bus to roll in.

When you feel that you can be flexible and change from being a tourist to being a traveller, there is another India waiting to be seen.  Real village’s with artisan’s that have  unique skills that have been handed down from generation to generation.  A way of  life that is timeless and that you would normally  only see in the National Geographic magazine

Of course to see all this you have to be with a small group and someone who has lived,worked and played in some of the remotest areas that are still unchanged. Tiger Travel do just that  www.tigertravel.co.uk   My name is Lyn  Baker owner of the company.  Over the coming weeks I will be sharing the real India with you, and who knows you might even be tempted to go and see it for yourself.


Indigo village


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