We woke up early, but still in doubt whether or not should we proceed with our initial plan to visit Sanganer. We raised this issue to the guesthouse owner, and also to the guy we met at the Pink City the day before, they said, we need to hire a driver to drive us there or at least a rickshaw to get to the colonial area where the actual textile factory are. So did the rickshaw guy we met outside our guesthouse, he then convinced us to visit Mughal Town instead. It has less factory, then Sanganer, but shorter distance, means; we can save some rupees and spend some times at Pink City.
I’ve read about the Mughal Town while doing some research about block printing, some kind of review from another blogger, which I couldn’t find the link anymore, not even in my archive or email (yes, I did email myself some link for future reference). I can’t remember if she mentioned something about scams, or if it’s not worth a visit. Ichie and I exchanged looks, hoping we can read each other mind, and the rickshaw guy impatiently waiting for our answer. He added that he can still take us to Sanganer, but we need to chip in more money. We said yes, to Mughal Town please.
It will be a quick visit, just to learn one or two things because we eagerly wanted to spend our days at the Pink City again, bargaining some souvenir so we can tick off our souvenir list, send it back to KL and spend the rest of our day braving India, peacefully.
The place wasn’t that far, and we were a bit too early. Mughal Town is a small town which most of the population is Muslim, people are still getting ready with their morning routine, and some are taking a bath outside their house. Animals were scattered around the town, pigs, donkey and cow, nuzzled the garbage alongside the road.
We arrived at our first factory stop. It has a signage outside their premise, it read, Mughal India Crafts Textiles. It’s a small scale factory, as we entered, there were two guys concentrating on their work weaving a carpet. I can’t imagine how many days it took them to finish a carpet.
The owner brought us to the block printing area while the rickshaw guy was invited to have a chai at their office. There were two guys printing a border of a white fabric, placed on a table, padded with some thick clothes underneath. They showed us some trick while the owner gave us some explanation of their working process, the color used, and some useful tips I jotted down for our future reference.
The owner then showed us a way to his shop, upstairs, and here’s the tricky part you cannot escape. They showed us colourful saris with different materials while trying to convince us that they’ve had offer a better, cheaper price that the shops outside, especially those in the Pink City. I must say no. It wasn’t that cheap, and I hadn’t planned to get any of those just yet, so did the Ichie and we politely declined and thanked him for his time.
We went to another factory, a double storey building similar to the one we previously went with a big sign, India Textile. The owner wasn’t there yet so we parked outside, while the rickshaw guy trying to contact the owner and he showed up about 10mins later. He took us to his factory, which located a few blocks away. He has a few factories around Mughal Town, he said, smaller scale compares to the one he has in Sanganer.
We went to a small lot, similar to the shop lots in KL, where his workers were already starting their everyday work. Piles of white fabric ready for fabric dyeing. There were few large boiling pots for the dying, with different color in it. ‘We use natural color,’ he explained. The sources are from the Mother Nature itself, yellow from turmeric, green from some leaves, so did all the other color, and turned it into a powder. He was quite good in giving an explanation and let us take some photo before we headed to his other factory.
If the first factory were dominated by men, his second factory filled with lady and a guy, they were doing the finishing product, crochet and sewing, from clothes to bed sheets, and even some fabric decoration that is popular among Indian, and the foreigner as a souvenir. They were lovely. All their stocks were stored here and he let us wander around if there were any fabric that we like. We did. I found a fabric that has a quite lovely pattern in it, so did Ichie.
He took us back to his shop afterwards, where we parked our rickshaw and we went upstairs for some chai. The rickshaw guy was already there for his second round of chai. The shop was quite nice, the stairs were painted in a different pastel color and the wall was painted in pink. Hand painted decals are everywhere, an elephant, in Indian culture, an elephant is a symbol of great intellect and wisdom. Hanging fabric decorations never failed to amuse me, it was handmade as what I was told, and it has a sense of welcoming. I believe every household at least own one in their main door.
Here comes the part where we’d like to skip and run back to the town. He served us chai and showed us some samples of their saris, bed sheet, the fabric decors and even Pashmina. ‘How about a customized Punjabi set?’ he suggested. I quite like the fabric we found earlier, and we were planning to customize one for myself and since it can be done within a day and he promised to deliver it to our guesthouse, because we can’t wait for two hours there, we both said yes.
His tailor measured us up, and we negotiating the price. Thank God, I was born with quite of skill in negotiating, it’s still a bit expensive for India market I thought, but compare to Malaysia’s market the price is kind of reasonable. Arggh, so that was how we spent our 3K INR on clothes, for both.
On our way back to town, the rickshaw guy told us some riddles and jokes, it wasn’t funny although he laughed his heart out. I started to take some photos along the bumpy road. Their houses were lovely, it was small, but painted in a colorful way, yellow wall with a pink door, a blue wall with a brown door, and they even colored their shutter door in pastel orange. Wall decals were everywhere, and I never get tired looking at those.
As we arrive, we thank the rickshaw guy for his service and he kept reminding us not to get cheated at the shops in Pink City. We took his advice and wave him goodbye.
The weather turned gloomy and the sky went dark, ‘reroute,’ I said. We skipped shopping and find our way to City Palace. It wasn’t raining yet, but we must hurry. And the rain poured heavily as we reached the City Palace. Again, we were in doubt. We weren’t sure if it was a good idea to wander around the City Palace during rainy days, and the entrance fee wasn’t that cheap.
It was such a perfect timing when a guy approached us to offer a ride. Ichie looked at me and said, ‘let’s go back to the guesthouse, have some roti and chai as we sort out our new plan’. We hopped on to the rickshaw and back to the guesthouse and call it a day. We took a long nap, collected our laundry and waiting for our Punjabi clothes.
Later that night when the rain has already stopped, we walked to the train station for food. We saw a restaurant the other day, the same restaurant that has served our dinner and breakfast on the train the other day; the food must be good we thought. And it was devours. Indian has a really good taste in food, and that is the fact. We had Thali, a set of roti, rice, curry, dhal, salad and chutney. It was cheap and filling.
The train station was packed with people, so did the restaurant, I couldn’t finish my food, and the portion was quite a bit too much as I’ve been snacking around since afternoon until dinner.
We traced our way back to the guesthouse, with our left over food for midnight. The night after rain was calmer and breezy. We passed by the dark alley, just the two of us. We had another day in Jaipur before heading to our next stop, Udaipur, and I was already thrilled thinking of the town surrounded by a beautiful lake. It must be beautiful. It must be.
I should paint my fan back in KL with color that I like, maybe in gold, or the color of sea and draws some patterns on it, so it can hypnotize me back to sleep, but the owner wouldn’t like the idea, so I pass.