Judith Feakin

Lower Hutt, New Zealand

“My highlight was the Muslin weaving. A chance to see a villager spin the cotton that fine …”

Here are my random thoughts.

Overall, I thought the balance of textiles activities and other activities was excellent. When I received the itinerary that was the first thing I looked at, as needed to see more of India than just through the fabric.

I let myself down a little by not researching the different weaving and embellishment techniques before I travelled, especially not being familiar with the Indian names. I need to see things written down not just spoken! Not a criticism as you did give us plenty to read.

I was well aware that India is a big country and a lot of van travel was a big part of the trip. Everyone having a window seat was essential.

All accommodation was varied and interesting. You must be commended on that. The Taj in Kolkata a little removed from places to eat and shops.

My highlight was the Muslin weaving. A chance to see a villager spin the cotton that fine would have been a treat. Maybe that could be arranged.

Shiite Muslim home. I have two contradictory thoughts on this day. It was a long drive and the embroidery very simple to what we had already seen. However, getting a chance to see a segregated compound living was a once in a lifetime chance. If we didn’t go to the mother in laws home, just seeing the embroidery would not be worth the long drive. Lunch couldn’t be faulted. The family would have to be home to make this day worthwhile. Even then marginal versus the long drive.

Suggested improvements.
An extra night in Delhi, which you may already taken into consideration.

The language on your itinerary regarding rest and relaxing at the end of the day needs to be toned down. Don’t put any times down. No tour I have been on ever got to the accommodation on time.

Varanasi (Add-on Tour)
I was right in telling you a trip to India wouldn’t be complete without going to Varanasi. I thoroughly enjoyed the two days.

Two days spent around the river was enough. For a third day would have to visit something else like Buddhist temple Sarnath.

Accommodation great by the river but needed a guide to get to the road through the labyrinth of streets. We enjoyed the easy access to the river and the food very good and lunch very cheap. I think the rest of the group may have found it too basic. Just saying that for the clientele you are marketing for. A good trade-off for me being so close to the river and having a rooftop view as well as a room view.

Guides and drivers all excellent.
We missed the guide off the train at Varanasi. Other disembarking passengers told us to go to the main gate of the station. It would have been better knowing to go to the carpark on the other side of the station. We did find each other eventually. Guide waiting outside our carriage even better but perhaps not possible.

Just loved India and so glad I took this trip that included so many villages and countryside. Feel as if I know India better because of this and the delicious food, of course.

Judith Feakin

Lower Hutt, New Zealand

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