From the ashes of eighteen princely states, a rich architectural and cultural legacy rose, as can be seen from the multitudes of forts and palaces all over the state.
Today these monuments are open to the public as heritage hotels where you can live as the royalty did, walking the same corridors as the great kings and princes of the past.
The raw beauty of the Rajasthan landscape is fitting to its glorious past. The vast stretches of the Thar desert (also called the Great Indian Desert) in the North west is tempered by the placid water of Udaipur, the enchanting City of Lakes and the lush green of the hill station Mount Abu in the South.
With so much to see and do, taking the journey of your dreams on one of the most luxurious trains in the world seems like a good way to explore the state. What could be better than a week long journey aboard the Palace on Wheels, once the personal railway coaches of erstwhile rulers of the princely states, the viceroy of British India and the Nizam of Hyderabad?
If there is one thing the people of Rajasthan love, it’s color. From their Pink city of Jaipur and Blue city of Jodhpur, to the bright clothes, artifacts, gems and stones, Rajasthan obliterates the harsh desert sun with bright swathes of color. From their bright saris to intricately embroidered lehengas (skirts), from their accessories to their puppets and dolls, it seems to a Rajasthani, life without color is a life not worth living.
An opportunity to shop in Rajasthan is a reason for joy. Known for their lovely hand carved jewelry, vibrant and expressive paintings, scroll painting, Rajasthani jooties (leather shoes), rugs, carpets and more, a traveler here will be hardly spoiled for choice! Here too it’s as much color as the eye can behold. Bed sheets and blankets, vases, saris, turbans, necklaces and nose rings, it all sparkles and glitters at you whichever way you turn.
A city filled with color, beauty, culture, heritage and a strong, proud race of people, Rajasthan has a vibrancy and energy that will make your senses truly come alive.
Today Rajasthan has found its place in the global fashion eye for its fascinating and unique use of colors, accessories and style. Whatever your expectations, Rajasthan truly has it all.
Payal, the owner of the famous South Asian fashion house Payal Singhal Inc. brings out the beauty of the old and the new, the vintage and the modern, two things that never go out of style. It's no wonder her clientele and fan following include the stunning Aishwarya Rai and the sublimely glamorous super model Saira Mohan. Thanks for making our day with your picks Payal!
The best things in life are simple, done purely for the pleasure of it. Kantha embroidery is one of those things. From the poor landless rural lady carefully embroidering her baby’s blanket to keep him warm in the winter, to the rich housewife wiling away a pleasant afternoon on her elaborate Christmas project, Kantha work transcends economic barriers to focus only on the sheer love of beauty.
Kantha embroidery, popular in West Bengal in India, is a form of running stitch used to decorate saris, shirts, shawls, pillows covers, cushion covers, blankets and many other everyday household fabrics across cotton and silk. The beauty of Kantha embroidery lies in the ability to use such a simple stitch to create beautiful motifs of flowers, animals, birds and geometrical shapes. Different shades of thread can be used aesthetically based on the design. Traditionally Kantha work was done by stitching together layers of old fabric like saris together to make a quilt, recycling it into a thing of beauty.
The basic stitch in Kantha embroidery is the running stitch. But this is utilized in different ways to create designs. Kantha technique can be broadly classified into JOD (aligned) and BEJOD (nonaligned) stitches. Using these basic stitches motifs are created on the cloth. Usually the stitch under the cloth will be much shorter than the one above.
Kantha work is distinguished based on its uses. Nakshi Kantha (large spread) is an embellished quilt embroidered with traditional motifs using an innovative style. In modern day usage Nakshi Kantha is also used for bed spreads, cushion covers, wall hangings, shawls etc.
Kantha embroidery is a simple technique that can be used to make anything from an old shoe to a scrap of cloth absolutely beautiful. Check out some beautiful Kantha work at Aniika.
You’ve fallen in love, its going great and it’s time to meet the in-laws. Your fiancé says he loves you for who you are, and personally we’re all for free expression, but there’s a time and place for everything. And maybe shocking your future in-laws with your cock-a-doodle-doo Mohawk isn’t the way to ensure marital bliss.
So here are some looks you better avoid.
Hairstyle Havoc - Put those dreadlocks, mohawks, and neon tints away at least till after a couple of dinners. Let’s face it, parents are a different generation that just might not get how not brushing your hair helps you express your inner spirit.
Morticia Makeup – Now we’re sure you’re a fan of the Addams family, but you might want to tone down the bloodless look and do a little more than peck at your dinner when you meet the parents. And at all costs, avoid telling your mother in law she ‘smells so good.’
Goth Goner – Ah, you discovered the Goth look in high school and never looked back right? You’re a black robed, deathrock listening, eyebrow piercing, tattooed badass. We’re not suggesting you do away with it all, but maybe for the sake of the dinner you try out some nice pastel shades. We know, gag worthy, but necessary.
Hip Hop Hottie – You’re sexy and you know it. And you’re fiancé knows it too. But don’t over sell the message by wearing miniskirts and high heels to meet the folks. And definitely don’t blind them with the bling.
So now D-Day’s looming and you don’t know what to wear? Here’s a look to get you started.
If there was ever a place to heal and rejuvenate oneself, Kerala would be it. Fondly called God’s Own Country, Kerala is a land that’s been blessed with the best the earth has to offer. Historically, the state of Kerala was formed in 1956 in southern India by merging several Malayalam (the regional language) speaking states. Today, Kerala stands at the forefront of the Indian tourism industry as a state steeped in history, tradition and culture.
When you think of Kerala, you think lush Green paddy fields guarded by strong coconut trees. The backwaters lazily lap against the shore as the fishermen cast their nets into the early morning breeze. Somewhere else, the scent of tea and spice over sprawling estates blend to make a heady mix. Life is idyllic in God’s own country.
Home to Ayurveda, the ancient and most trusted form of medicine, thousands from all over the world have flocked to Kerala to find peace, healing and new strength. With its serene atmosphere Kerala has grown to be a haven for those in need of a mental, physical and spiritual cleansing. Ayurvedic centres all over Kerala utilize a combination of Ayurvedic massages, meditative techniques and yogic practices to guide you back to health and equilibrium.
But like all good must be defended, Kerala is also known to be the cradle of Kalaripayattu, one of the oldest forms of martial arts in existence. Sinuous, graceful and deadly lethal, Kalaripayattu also lends itself to Kerala dance forms like the highly stylized classical Indian dance-drama Kathakali. As is the same with the rest of India’s states, Kerala has a wealth of customs and traditions, unique to itself. Visiting Kerala in between Onam, the state festival will have your head whirling with the number of elements involved. Everyone’s out in the Kerala finest, the ladies in set saris and men in Mundu, the kasavu (gold thread) glittering in the sun. Over ten days, its music and excitement galore with boat races, folk dances (Kaikottikkali), traditional banquet lunches (Onam Sadhya), and flower carpet (pookalam) competitions.
Kerala has wooed the world by striking the balance between the traditional and modern, the classical and the contemporary, the relaxing and the rejuvenating. It is a state that boasts of world class resorts and getaways, and also promises good old fashioned toddy and sea food. A visit to Kerala will leave you with only one thing to say – it’s simply irresistible.
Our In the Spotlight pick, news personality Joya Dass shares her ideas on what would make fabulous accessories for a fun day out. Joya, a television anchor with NY1, CNN and co-founder of a women’s cocktail networking initiative LadyDrinks in New York, shows us how success and fashion can be two sides of the same coin. We love your picks Joya!
Bandhni technique (more commonly known as Tie and Dye) is the artistic process of forming patterns on cloth by first tying, and then dying the cloth with different colors. In India, the states of Rajasthan and Gujarat are famous for their beautiful Bandhni work. Kutch in Gujarat produces the finest Bandhni of India.
The main colors used in Bhandni are Yellow, Red, Blue, Green and Black. These colors are not used at random. Each color has significance. Red is used to represent a bride, while Yellow indicates that a lady has recently become a mother.
Bandhni work is done through a series of steps.
Step 1: The cloth (either cotton or silk) is cut in different width and length according to the requirement
Step 2: The design is created on a transparent plastic sheet called Farma. Small pin holes are made in the plastic sheet along the design through which the design is transferred to the cloth.
Step 3: They lay the cloth on the ground with the Farma on top of it. Using water color and squeezing they transfer the design to the fabric.
Step 4: The fabric then goes through a process of Bandhej. This means tying knots in a specific pattern. Doing this ensures that the part that is tied in the knot will not catch the color of the dye and will remain white or whatever the original color is. Bandhej is a process that is repeated several times in the making of one Bandhni.
Step 5: The piece is then dyed. Once the color is made the cloth is dipped in it for around one and a half minutes each.
Step 6: The cloth is finally dried (a process which depends on weather conditions) and deknotted.
Check out some beautiful Bandhni work at Aniika.
Giveaway time! Mother's Day around the corner and you can win these stunning turquoise earrings worth $50 from Aniika AND a $50 gift voucher for some beautiful children's clothing from Rayil
1. Like the Facebook pages of both Rayil and Aniika
2. Tell us your favorite product from both Rayil and Aniika by commenting on this post
Contest ends midnight PST May 12th 2013.