At Zola Amour, we love exploring the world, looking at different cultures, craftsmanship and landscapes for inspiration, both within our collections and for how to live our lives. This summer we've focused on India, and our recent trip was eye opening!
In this article we wanted to share some of our favourite and some of the most contradicting aspects of India which makes it such a marmite country.
( India Coffee House in Shimla)
1. The food
Indian cuisine is absolutely delicious and full of flavour (beware if you are sensitive to spice!). By taking a cooking class, we learnt the benefit of spices and the spiritual connection there is in between our food and our bodies. Indian cuisine also doesn't have to be greasy and heavy, most home cooking is actually very light with flavour simply coming from the added spices. Luckily we have bagged ourself a few recipes which we will make sure to share with you later.
( Marble carving craftsmanship from Agra)
( Dilli Haat Marker, New Delhi, Top @ZolaamourUK, Skirt made from recycled sarees)
2. The Craftsmanship
Well known for its craftsmanship, India has preserved an art becoming rare in Western countries. It's absolutely beautiful to witness artisans working in shops and markets. Traditional techniques still survive and allows for unique and beautiful pieces to be created, such as the marble carving technique in Agra, the same technique as the one used on the Taj Mahal. We also found ourselves a beautiful skirt made of recycled old sarees, the perfect match for one of our Zola Amour tops!
( Ashram in Rishikesh, dress @zolaamour)
3. The culture
India is a country in which you experience the most culture shock. The population is so dense you can barely walk around in the streets, smells are unfamiliar, traffic is crazy with horns resonating constantly. During monsoon season the streets and shops are flooded. Just being there, walking around (trying to) is an immersion into a culture which is so far from ours you cannot help but feel out of place and yet feel that you are part of it.
The spiritual presence all around is fascinating. Most tourist attractions are temples in which the traditions or visit experience can vary immensely. Added to this, the yoga culture along with their ayurvedic medicine. We were lucky to do a yoga retreat for a few days which really helped us understand their connection between body and mind, we are definitely keen to learn more and to share our findings.
(sustainable campaign poster vs rubbish all over the streets, New Delhi)
India is a very difficult country to visit if you have strong sustainable beliefs because the country is overpopulated the priority remains to get the population water and electricity. This makes it extremely difficult for the country to manage the sustainable issues they are facing. The streets are covered in rubbish, you can see dogs and cows eating from the piles, you often witness people throwing packages outside their car windows and bins are very rare. Yet you can see posters promoting green living and recycling bins around the main monuments only. It is a very difficult reality to witness which truly leaves you thinking: What else can I do?
But rest assured, India also has some sustainable habits which we believe Western countries could adopt and we will make sure that we share our findings with you soon.
Don't forget to share your comments and experiences @zolaamouruk .