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Jaipur, India

Jaipur is the capital city of Rajasthan. Home to 6.6 million people, it is a popular tourist destination with a strong tradition in textiles – above all, block printing

 

India is a particular place. Most people say that either you love it or you hate it. For the first-time Western traveller, it is difficult to assimilate the misery of families living under bridges in cardboard boxes and seeing destitute children eat out of the garbage while life, overcrowded and drowned in the noise of seemingly chaotic traffic, goes on all around.

Jaipur is no different in that respect. Known as the Pink City of India, it is well-known to foreigners as it is home to the Amber Fort and Hawa Mahal among its many sights – all part of the golden triangle tourist route that also includes Delhi and Agra.

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Rajasthan is home to a strong heritage in artisan industry such as jewelry and textiles. In the garment industry, it is particularly known for its traditional block printing. Carvers repeatedly hammer nails as chisels on a block of wood, slowly creating intricate patterns that can take up to two days of labour to complete. These are then charged with garment dye and carefully placed on extended fabrics to create Rajasthani traditionally artisan fabrics. The whole process is part of our human heritage to be preserved.

Growth, however, is in tourism. It provides opportunities to individuals and families from elsewhere in the Rajasthani region and is a big draw for internal migration – adults and children who upon arriving to Jaipur typically settle by under the bridges around the train station. There is a clear need to provide opportunities to disadvantaged individuals and families, regardless of background and caste.

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