Leaving the market square behind, we drove on through the small town, past stalls selling all kinds of colourful wares.


I can imagine the scent from this one being particularly fragrant – possibly as well, since right next to it, someone was in marginally less fragrant surroundings.


However beautiful the sights, the “real” India is never far away.


As the old women pick their way through the detritus of life, people are riding bikes and mopeds whilst talking on the cellphones. 


We soon find ourselves heartily welcomed at the Silk Weaving Centre and having been ushered in via the cowsheds and the lavatories, we go upstairs to find work being done.


I think these chaps are here for the show really, but for a demonstration, it’s pretty good and the work they are doing is beautiful.


The Jacquard looms are hand powered and the designs are traditional.


But no-one lingers up here, because of course, downstairs is the shop!


I’m not a fan of European women wearing sarees and wouldn’t consider the style for myself, but that doesn’t stop me being completely enchanted by the colour, the pattern, the texture.


For sure, there are ready made garments here too, but these are cut for the slight, Asian build and those who try on are disappointed in the fit.


Silk is pulled from these luscious piles of loveliness, thrown out by the assistants to show us the beauty


there’s gold and embroidery galore, elaborate patterns and fine weaving.


and sooner or later, there’s one with my name on it.  You’d have guessed that one spoke to me, wouldn’t you?


Until I saw the price – 9720 rupees….that’s over £130 and a little more than I wanted to pay, however beautiful the silk.


By the time we’d finished, the shop was looking like a plague of locusts had passed through.  I imagine that some considerable folding practice was done to return the displays to normal, but business had been brisk and there were plenty of smiles.


We stepped outside, narrowly avoiding the fuel supply, drying in the sun and were offered a snack to keep us going till lunchtime, which wouldn’t be till 3pm or thereabouts.


We were each given a packet of biscuits (rather like Ritz crackers) and a can of Fanta, having been advised that even the bottled water doesn’t meet safety standards here.

Finally, I imagine you’d like to see what I brought out in that shopping bag?


It’s a saree, similar to the one I rejected on price grounds – this one was less than a quarter of the price, isn’t quite the same quality as the previous saree but the colours are softer and I rather preferred it.  When I get home, I’ll decide what I’m going to do with it!