Category: Our Destinations

Popular Indian Spices

Indian Spices

Just like the country itself, Indian food is extremely diverse. While the spices remain constant, you’ll find very different dishes as you travel through the country. South Indian cuisine is considered to be the hottest of all Indian food. Popular dishes in the region include idlis, vadas, dosas and sambaar. Food from North India is characterized by its thick, tasty gravies. The meals are hearty and will often include several dishes — and don’t skip out on their sweets! It’s important to have the right spices on hand when making your favorite Indian recipe, so we’ve rounded up a few to help get you started! 

DIY Okra Woodblocking

okra

Okra is a popular green vegetable in India as well as southern regions of the United States. There are many delicious Indian dishes that incorporate okra, the most popular being Bhindi (okra) Masala. While being nutritious, it just so happens that okra also makes a great homemade woodblock! Woodblocking is a popular technique for printing text, images or patterns with ink on fabrics and textiles in India. Indian woodblocking is typically done with a hand carved piece of wood. Here, we show you how you can use okra to make a DIY woodblocking card at home with your little citizens. 

Kabini Forest Reserve Safari Trip

kabini-2Animals play an important role in our designs at Tea Collection. When we traveled to India, we were fortunate to go on a river safari through the Kabini Forest Reserve in Nagarahole National Park in Karnataka, located in southwest India. Karantaka has long been a favored destination, dating back to the 1800’s when viceroys, rulers and members of the British East India company would come to hunt. Today, the animals are fiercely protected and the reserve operates as an eco-tourism resort and wildlife preserve. The guides hope to inspire the guests and help them understand their role in preserving the gifts of nature. It was an amazing way to see the landscape, interact with the safari guides and get an up close look at all the wonderful animals indigenous to India!

kabini 1The Kabini Forest Reserve has a lush green landscape that surrounds a large river. Many people flock from all over to have a chance to see an elephant or at times, a tiger! We rode in a jeep through the forest to try and spot monkeys, birds and deer.

Painted Elephants

I have painted on many surfaces over the years: clay, canvas, wood, buildings, streets, sidewalks, fabric, faces. None of this prepared me for painting on elephants. This is definitely something I never even dreamed of doing. I had mixed feelings going into it. I always awed at the beauty of the photographs of painted elephants in magazines and online, but was worried about what all that meant for the elephants. Weren’t they meant to be in the wild? Would these elephants be treated well?

I read all about Elefun before we went. It had good reviews and people had good things to say about how they treated the elephants. Our amazing trip planner, Gouthami, checked in with some of her local connections who also had good things to say about Elefun. Elefun is an elephant village dedicated to creating a safe and natural environment in order to conserve elephants. In Indian culture, elephants are revered, loved, respected and protected.

My first impression was that the elephants were MASSIVE. Being an animal nerd I knew that Indian elephants are one of the smaller varieties, these were anything but small. They introduced us to the elephants, had us pet their trunks. Showed us how to feed them bananas. They ate entire bunches of bananas at once, in what seemed like one giant bite.