To the north of Udaipur are a group of small towns and villages famed for their temples and centuries-old handicrafts. They make for a delightful leisurely excursion filled with opportunities galore of experiencing colourful local religious practices and interacting with artists and artisans, away from touristy sights.
The trail starts from Udaipur with stops at Sahasra Bahu Temple, Eklingji Temple, Nathdwara Temple, the Pichwai painters’ neighbourhood in Nathdwara, and the small-scale terracotta workshops in Molela Village, and finally back to Udaipur.
It is easily doable on one’s own. All you would need to do is hire a cab for the 116-kilometre-long journey which amounts to some three hours of driving time.
Here is a visual [where photography is allowed] guide on what to see and do along the trail, an introduction to some of the artisans and artists, together with some tips to make the most of the day trip. Happy travels!
“A glass pitcher, a wicker basket, a tunic of coarse cloth. Their beauty is inseparable from their function. Handicrafts belong to a world existing before the separation of the useful and the beautiful.” ~ Octavio Paz, Mexican poet
I love this quote by Octavio Paz for it captures the sheer ethos of handicrafts.
Whilst art is pure expression, craft on the other hand is purely utilitarian. Shape, proportion, and colour—all serve a purpose. To be useful.
But just because it is useful, it does not mean it needs to be ugly or even plain. The craftsperson, since time immemorial, has imbued craft with a sense of aesthetics, following a deep-seated human instinct to create beauty. Continue reading →