It was over ten years ago that Alistair and myself set off on our travels, the outcome of which was to become Nkuku. For a long time we had wanted to take our brood out to India and show them why we love it so much. Our journey started in Delhi where we held a Nkuku lunch and conference. This was a great opportunity for our children to meet our suppliers and some of their families and gain a clearer understanding of what we do!  Travelling in India with our four children was the most wonderful experience.  Their strong sense of family and love of children made us feel incredibly welcome wherever we went.

First we headed to the stunning blue city of Jodhpur, situated on the edge of the Thar desert.  We soon worked out that the six of us could squeeze into one rickshaw - three children on the small drop down bench  and our youngest  squeezed in between us on the seat! The first journey was an event in itself! The elections were on during our visit and there were a number of elaborate processions complete with music and drums. This combined with general rush hour traffic,  noise and the mandatory cow (including one over friendly one who poked her head into our rickshaw – much to our children’s delight!) was a great  introduction to Jodhpur and Indian city life!  Our four year old asked if we could ‘turn it down for a bit’!

After exploring the city and surrounding villages we spent a fantastic day with one of our suppliers, with our children helping out with design suggestions! We then paid a necessary visit to the Meherangarh fort. This incredible fortress dominates the city of Jodhpur. The fort managed to captivate our children with the  legendary tale of martyrdom made by one man who laid himself down under one of the enormous stone bolders of the fortress wall to break a curse . (They kept looking back at the wall!)

The children had their first taste of celebirty as they were  ‘papped’ by other Indian tourists. Our two year old became a celebrity in her own right and we had to explain politely after the hundredth person asked for her photograph that she needed  a rest! Every adventure even a trip to the chemist resulted in a entourage of freindly people high fiving the children and trying to hug our two year old! From Jodhpur we set off on the next leg heading out into the great Indian Thar desert to explore the stunning rural landscape.

The Bishnoi community live in this area with their fascinating culture and passion for  protecting wildlife and environmentally friendly living.  It was wonderful to vistit their villages and homes.

The children loved learning how to spin thread and their imacculuate red earth huts were a fascination.

This beautiful Grandma was the matriarch of an extended family of daughters, son in laws, grand children and cousins.  We spent most of our time mutually  adoring each other’s children! Our secret weapon - our 2 year old - made another hit with her blond curly hair proving a novelty!

Whilst out on the road we passed a school and asked to pop in and say hello.  It was fantastic experience for our children to visit a school and meet children their  age.  It was hard  not to draw comparisons between this school and their own  back in Devon.

Our elder two stood in the doorway taking in the concrete floor and lack of desks, chairs and books.   The head teacher kindly explained to us their topics and a mass of gorgeous smiling children cheekily giggled and came up to greet us or hid behind doorways!

It was hard to tear ourselves away from such a great place. On our journey back to our hotel it was lovely to hear our older two children fuelling each other with ideas of how to get the school some books and pens.

One of the main ambitions and a definite highlight for the children was to ride a camel in the desert. Both Alistair and I have ridden a few camels in our time but when Tito rocked up she was literally the tallest camel we had ever seen. 

The children quickly lost enthusiasm but after a bit of a bit a persuasion both of the older two  managed to set off across the desert on Tito with a our younger two in the lap of luxury reclining on a cart!  It was a magical experience traipsing out into the desert with blue buck and antelope (and a lot of goats) gallivanting around.  It was slightly marred when we later passed our camel guide on his mobile phone riding Tito home!

We sadly left the desert, the beautiful Marwari horses, camels and Bishnoi people to head through the Aravalli Hills and onto the next leg of the trip. We hired a car and a driver for the seven hour journey  and with five of us squeezed into the back seat and Alistair riding shot gun we were soon on the way to Ranakpur and the town of  Delwara…..to be continued!

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  • Nkuku specialise in eco friendly, fairly traded homeware and gifts. Our products are inspired by the traditional skills of artisans throughout Africa and India. We combine contemporary design with age old traditions, natural materials and sustainable methods of production. We passionately support fair trade and consider the environment in everything we do.