My research for the day is here. By this time we had gone slightly off the programme order.
Up at seven o’clock with a determination to have a light breakfast. I had chance to wander round the hotel grounds to get my bearings. Soon after we were on the coach to be driven into Bikaner.
Heritage Resort, Bikaner
Checking of e mails in reception
Off the coach and into the tongas
Past the Red Fort
A usual street scene
But as we neared the gold district we saw the women panning for flecks of gold that had escaped the traps of the gold workers in the open drains .
Soon we arrived at the old part of town
As we waited for the rest of the group to join us I took a couple of images of the horse.
Nothing goes to waste in India – a recycled British Airways strap
Then a little excitement as a cart got stuck in a gulley. The horse was soon unhitched and the men pulled out the cart.
Ever present Gnasha reminding me of what I was learning on my trip.
And some offerings for him.
I didn’t see many decorated trucks or wagons so this one caught my eye.
Into the gold smiths’ workshop – as usual all very low key.
I’m unsure which of the many gods/goddesses these are as multi-handed ones are common. But wherever work is carried out they are to be seen blessing the artisans.
A welcome lunch at Gallops Restaurant overlooking Junagarh Fort then onto where the glorious patchworks are made. There was a wonderful display on the wall outside.
Then we met the ladies who make them.Out came some of the never-ending array of work – here is a silk and camel hair shawl with detail below.
At the end the floor was littered with small and large pieces, some woven, some patchwork pieces, some very old, some made yesterday. Much buying was done by members of our party – our guide joked that maybe we should spread our money around and not give it all to the middle man.
Onto the next place – no, we never stopped! We were driven to Raisar – a small village where camel wool rugs are made.
The looms are strung over pits so the weavers can sit at their work.
Some are so large it takes three people to throw the shuttle
Some of the yarn is coarse.
And seem to stored in a random fashion…but that’s to my uneducated eye!
A quicker way was to use this electric tool that punched the yarn into the backing fabric.
I’m unsure how these rugs were made but the men were cutting the design into the wool.
Other small artefacts – a water pot
and a charpoy (bed)
The children were charming and followed us around but didn’t ask for anything apart from to have their photo taken.
Feet were often used to work with
Whilst waiting for the bus I saw two beautifully coloured surfaces.
But our day’s adventure didn’t stop there. We drove through the dessert, catching a glimpse of one of the most hansom men I’ve ever seen – he was riding a camel – a scene out of my dreams! Then we informed we were lost – how the driver found his way around I often wondered. However, fortunately there were camel carts near by!
We were soon ensconced in the carts which were covered with bright textiles
And off we went into the sun-set! (Unfortunately it was too hazy to have a sun set that evening)
By the time it was dark we had arrived at a small oasis – the crickets were chirruping and the air warm. We were greeted by ladies wearing traditional costume; they presented us with sweet smelling rose garlands and led us to an outdoor arena.
There were two long tables with chairs along one side giving us a view of the stage. Soon the band started to play.
This experience was the best for me – the surprise of the event, the setting, the tasty pakora, the music and the dancing. I made a short recording here of our guide explaining how to play a mouth harp. A perfect ending to a perfect day.