January to March 2010 - Sourcing trip through India.

Nothing prepares you for India. This extraordinary place has the ability to excite, frustrate and amaze, often all at the same time!

We started our adventure in Kutch, the "wild west" in Gujarat; edged by the Arabian Sea on one side and huge salt deserts on the other, it is one of the few places on Earth where pink flamingos still breed in the wild.

This dramatic landscape is home to many tribes with very different cultures and customs. In the villages across the region are made some of the most beautiful textiles in the world.

We landed in Bhuj, the main town of Kutch and its proximity to Pakistan was obvious - most of the small airport was a military base.


A tuk-tuk took us to our guesthouse in the centre of the town and from this moment it felt like we had entered another world. We'll never forget standing, wide-eyed in the middle of the nearby street bazaar surrounded by exotic foods, carts pulled by camels, and spectacularly dressed locals. We instantly knew this was going to be an adventure!

We got to know Bhuj quite well. This, once picturesque, town had been devastated by a major earthquake in 2001. As a result 15,000 people were killed and many buildings destroyed. As we wandered around one of the shattered palaces, we entered a hall where an interesting photographic exhibition was taking place, showing images of Bhuj before and after the event.


We met the photographer who, later, introduced us to a very tall and distinguished looking man. While we talked, we couldn't help noticing that the three of us were being photographed. It made sense later when we found out that the man to whom we were casually chatting about the Isle of Wight, was a Maharajah - the Maharanao of Kutch!

We hired a local guide and explored the tiny villages in search of treasure!

We found exquisite embroidery by the Ahir and Pacco peoples, gorgeous - bedspreads, and watched wonderfully intricate wood block printing being carried out by the 7th generation of a family who have examples of their work displayed in the V&A! It appears that the desolate landscape of the area inspires the production of wonderfully sumptuous textiles.

Leaving Bhuj we crossed the southern edge of the Little Rann salt desert by bus (8 hours!) into Rajastan where we went on to Barmer in the Thar desert, Udaipur, Salawas & villages around Jodhpur finding, on our way, spectacular vintage merchant chests, which we had re-furbished; colourful hand-woven cotton dhurries (rugs); fabulous gold-plated jewellery; opulent velvet quilts and many other treasures.


Towards the end of our adventure, before heading off to Delhi to organise our shipping and fly back to UK, we stopped for a couple of days at Ranthambore National Park and were lucky to see a tiger in the wild!

Finally our journey came to an end. We were utterly enchanted by the culture, sights and friendly people.

So, back to the UK on 26th March in time to re-open Drift, as tradition, on April Fools' Day!