The story behind our beautiful green Lotus cotton quilt.
Rajesh is a friend of our who runs a delightful Homestay Guest House in Rajasthan. When Covid kept all the tourists away from India, Rajesh contacted us to see if we had any ideas that could generate some income. We wondered if he could supply us with the beautiful cotton quilts that we sell. There's an abundance of hand printed cotton in Rajasthan and Rajesh went searching for prints that we could use. We were delighted when Rajesh was able to get this fabric printed.
Making the quilts wasn't a problem - Rajesh lives a wonderful small town called Nawalgarh in the Shekawati region north of Jaipur. Cotton grows locally and quilt making is a local skill. The process is basic but effective - they've been doing this for many generations - as you can see in these stills from video clips.
The cotton is washed and then separated, fluffed up to make it soft and light before its combed into a roll.
As someone who always struggles to get the quilt into a duvet cover I'm always impressed by the next stage where they get the roll of cotton into the case before tamping it with canes to even out any irregularities. Finally the edges are sewn on an old Singer sewing machine.
Rajesh has done a wonderful job making these quilts. Our cotton quilts are perfect on their own in summer and make a wonderful second quilt for winter. They last for years. The Green Lotus is slightly thicker than our other quilts so writing this after a cold November night I'm really grateful for Rajesh's efforts to make this project work.
Here are some other quilts in Rajesh's house making their way to us right now.
We stayed with Rajesh for a few days at this Guest House in October. We first knew of Rajesh in 2005 when his Guest House was full and we stayed on his father's farm just a mile away. The following morning we awoke to the sound of annual camel fair. By a strange coincidence when we stayed with Rajesh in 2017 there was another camel fair. This year there as no camel fair but once again Rajesh took us on tour round his wonderful town of Nawalgarh. The markets stay open at night and his night time trips are an utter highlight.
If you go to Rajasthan I can't recommend Rajesh's Homestay enough. It's beautifully decorated, his wife cooks fantastic organic food and Rajesh's passion and knowledge of the environment he lives gives you a remarkable insight in the local way of life. Nawalgarh is a fascinating town, Rajesh is a delightful man and a guide par excellence.
Rajesh Tourist Pension Homestay
Top floor room at Rajesh Homestay
Reading room at Rajesh Homestay
You'll eat in the courtyard. Weaver birds come every year to nest in the tree. When we arrived in October they had just left for the winter but their nests are there.
Rajesh is the perfect guide to show you around the intruiging district of Shekawati - it's a quiet rural area of Rajasthan, a couple of hours drive from Jaipur, where rich Indian merchants built their family home called havelis in the 17th and 18th century. The havelis are especially famous for the painted decoration. Nowadays most of the families live elsewhere and a caretaker will let you in to some of the havelis. Nawalgarh is the ideal place to see them.
Unseasonal rain in a Haveli in Nawalgarh
One of my main reasons for going to Shekawati is to visit the stepwells, centuries old underground architectural wonders built to find water in the semi desert of Rajasthan. This one is at Jhunjhunu. Rajesh knows them all!
It's time to say goodbye to Rajesh and the Tourist Pension homestay but you can buy the Green Lotus quilts here.
If you have difficulty contacting Rajesh or want more information you can contact me at email@example.com.