31st Oct After breakfast, visit Potter’s colony to see pottery making. Drive Pokaran-Jaisalmer. Lunch will be on direct payment basis in Jaisalmer. Afternoon witness mirror work done by ladies followed by puppet making in Jaisalmer. Stay overnight at Hotel in Jaisalmer.
About a 60 mile journey by road to the next town. One great feature of the internet is that I can listen to how the names of the places I’m about to visit are pronounced. Jay (rising intonation) Sal (dropping intonation) Meer. I was caught out when asking for Ernakulam – I thought it was Erna kull am but no one understood where I meant. I should have said Errrrn (then raise my pitch) Ak …que..lam. Likewise in the USA I asked directions to Yosy Might Park instead of (emphasis on first syllable ) Yo Sem Itty (Yosemite) Park.
There is a website for the town of Jaisalmer; it’s a World Heritage site – the fort and temples attract the tourists and I’ll take note from the wikipedia entry.
‘Prices range wildly and one has to bargain for everything, hotel rates included. Jaisalmer is known for huge mark-ups which range between 400% to 500% depending on the product. So buying shawls, carpets, jewelry etc. can be a very time consuming and nerve rattling experience. A few quiet days spent wandering around the town and the surrounding desert can be a wonderful way of unwinding from the chaos of larger Indian cities.’
I get the feeling that I’ll be travelling through vast deserts then confronted with many individuals trying to make a dollar through their wares. Such a difficult conundrum…I’m the wealthy tourist, having paid hundreds of pounds just to reach India, yet I think whatever I see is too expensive (for me) to buy. It’s only because I scrimp on my day-to-day expenses at home in order for me to pay for such a trip – obviously I have this disposable income and I’m not living hand to mouth as so many are in India but still I can’t afford to pay more in India for an article than I would do at home. And the next question is ‘Would I want to buy it at home even if it was inexpensive?’ Again the global village comes into the equation – I expect most of what I’ll see I’ll be able to buy here in Britain.
Hallowen, but I’m not expecting to see a pumpkin or bat, let alone a witch or ghoul. What will we have on offer at the pottery?
I’m a little uncertain if these pieces are going to be to my taste. On seeing the images I’m reminded of the potteries I was taken around in Turkey. Although the potters were very skilled, throwing many vessels from one lump of clay on the wheel, it seemed soulless – just like a production line. Likewise the decorations were also painted in a formulaic fashion, but this is how tableware was produced in The Potteries in the 19th and 20th century. I think this is where the debate about art v, craft starts.
On to the mirror work. I’m looking forward to seeing how the woman produce the pieces.
Then something I’m really curious to see – the puppet making. I’m fascinated by the world they inhabit and the reviews of the museum all very positive. On my last visit to Kerala we took the bus to the School of Puppetry only to find it closed – a great disappointment.
The puppets at Jaisalmer are worked by strings.