Elephants, a Temple and Block Printing

We didn’t have any time to sleep in on our first day of the trip! Our first activity was a visit to the Amber Fort in Amer, a town on the outskirts of Jaipur. While there were elephants available to be ridden up the hill to the top of the fort, the group rode jeeps up – which was a fun experience to say the least!

The Amber Fort is a massive old palace, which we had the whole morning to explore, take photos, and do some drawing. I loved the architecture of the building and enjoyed walking up and down stairs and through lots of little corridors to find secret rooms and rooftop sunlight spots.

After the fort, the group visited a temple and the Panna Meena Stepwell, after walking down the hill into the town of Amer. The carved stone in the temple was very impressive and beautiful, of course featuring elephants! Both the temple and the stepwell were breathtaking, something I had never seen before!

Our final activity of the day was a visit to the Anokhi Museum, where we saw textiles and demonstrations of traditional Indian block printing. As a textiles student, this was a really interesting experience. I learnt how the blocks are made, and then how the pattern is printed in practice. For each pattern, multiple blocks are required for the printing process, and this depends on how many colours are in the design (up to six). The blocks are hand carved, one for each colour. When it comes to the printing, the outline is printed first and then the colours. After the outline, the order in which the colours are printed doesn’t matter. I would really like to try this technique on my return to university, or something very similar (as I’m not sure that I’d be able to make a block as well as the professionals!).

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