While exploring India’s culture, it’s a given that you will learn about the cuisine. The smells and taste of Indian spices are enchanting as are the varied number of dishes that are available. While in India, our team traveled to many different areas. Paneer was offered in almost all of the regions and enjoyed in various dishes. Paneer is a cheese similar to cottage cheese or farmer’s cheese. It takes on multiple forms – in Eastern India it is cubed and in Northern India you’ll find it’s been kneaded and beaten like fresh mozzarella, the results a bit crumblier. It’s easy to see why it is a staple to many of meals in India! continue reading →
I didn’t go to India expecting to meet a hero. But that’s exactly what happened when I visited a small village in Rajasthan.
The first two days in India were eye opening. You arrive, you see shantytowns on your drive to the hotel, you go shopping in busy markets, tour the City Palace and ride painted elephants. It’s very clear that this is another life, one far different than what you know. But you don’t really understand just how different until you get outside of the Pink City and past Amer Fort. It’s not until you meet someone, you meet people – who have been working for over 25 years to make a difference here. You drive an hour outside of the city with these people, down dirt roads further than you’re comfortable with until you reach villages with no electricity, no real housing, no drinking water. You are welcomed with warm smiles and nervous laughter, because these people have never met anyone from the United States before. It’s awkward at first, and hard and emotional. But you sit and you take it in and you return these warm smiles and nervous laughs and in this moment, you realize while everything seems so foreign, we’re all the same. At the core of it all, we’re human beings — with feelings and needs and we just want to be happy and healthy.
I had no idea what to expect from this particular day in Rajasthan. That morning, I didn’t even know what kind of transportation to expect from our hotel to the GBS office — and while I’m being honest, I had no idea what GBS stood for. I did know that through The Global Fund for Children, LaDonna and I were able to visit one of their grantee partners that worked to empower young girls and women. I knew that we would be visiting a few of the villages this organization worked with and I knew we were in good hands.
The ride from the hotel to the GBS office was an anxious one for me. The prior two days were a whirlwind. I had never been so far from home and in such a foreign place. Everything was new and strange and jet lag only caused a haze. But on that third day in India, as soon as we walked inside Gram Bharati Samiti’s office and shook hands with Bhawani (the GBS founder), my anxiety disappeared and I felt at home. The chaos of India seemed to slow down around me and I was immediately certain that indeed, we were in good hands and to trust that the day would pan out just as it should.
In Hinduism, the cow is a symbol of wealth, strength and abundance. Mahatma Gandhi was once quoted on the subject, explaining that “one can measure the greatness of a nation and its moral progress by the way it treats its animals. Cow protection to me is not mere protection of the cow. It means protection of all that lives and is helpless and weak in the world. The cow means the entire subhuman world.”continue reading →
Modern India takes great care and pride to retain the extraordinary refinement of its many palaces, old temples and ancient forts. We’ve fondly named our newest delivery, Paisley Palace. From the stunning marble dome of the Taj Mahal to the ornate arches of the Mysore Palace to the spectacular paintings that adorn the Amer Fort, there is no lack of inspiration in the architecture in India. Many of our designs in this collection are named after these great palaces! Take a look at the history of these great sites to better understand the story behind the design.
The Amer Fort was built by the conqueror Raja Man Singh who ruled from 1590-1614 AD. On our visit here, we rode painted elephants and admired the red curtains that framed the fort. We were inspired by the elaborate painted motifs on the walls and ceilings in the Jaipur City Palace.
See this man playing the kaimacha, a bowed string instrument used in folk music from the region of Rajasthan.
The unique and rich music of India spans many genres from fusion to classical with a varied range of instruments. The striking sounds of the sitar have influenced many musicians – even all the way into popular Western music rock & roll music. Check out our playlist to see why the Beatles and The Rolling Stones were so drawn to the mystical sounds of the sitar. Don’t forget to listen to “The Sun Won’t Set” by Norah Jones and Anoushka Shankar – sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar’s daughters.
Everywhere we went in India, we passed women dressed in beautifully vibrant saris. You could not help but be in awe of their beauty, our pictures do not do them justice! We were very inspired by the colors and embroidery seen on the saris. continue reading →
We love sharing stories of our travels with you here on Studio T. It’s a great way for us to connect with you and convey the story behind our collection. Our hope is that our sense of adventure resonates with you and your little citizens!
Do you love to travel like we do? Have you ever traveled to India? If you’re up for it, we would love to collaborate on a guest post. Your story may be featured in our monthly newsletter! Fill out our poll below and we’ll be in touch!
A garden of marigolds…. orange, yellow and rust, Bright, soft and rich, touched with golden dust. Quiet and regal, sun kissed and fair, Basil – citrus fragrance that mellows the moist air. A thousand smiling marigolds, a thousand smiling suns, Sweet nectar, ambrosia, for natures gentle ones.
Woven into garlands, yellow with tips of red, Woven into memories with many a words unsaid.
Animals 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!
The 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. continue reading →
Every culture has different traditions surrounding the birth of a little one, each celebration being unique but with a central theme of love and happiness. In the Hindu religion, many Indians practice the ceremony of Naamkaran, in which a new baby is named. In Sanskrit, “naam” means name and “karan” means to create. Traditionally, Naamkaran is held anywhere from the eleventh to twelfth day after the baby is born and before the baby’s first birthday. Family members and friends gather to celebrate the baby and the women are central figures in the ceremony and they carry many of the main rituals. A baby’s name is very important and parents usually take many things into consideration before settling on a name. Some parents look at the day and time of the baby’s birth, or look to astrology, numerology, music and mythology. The purpose of the ceremony is to celebrate the birth of the new baby and to welcome and bless it with a prosperous life. We named many of the pieces in our new collection after traditional Indian names. Learn more about the names of some of our baby and newborn pieces below! continue reading →