For the ladies going on the Mother Ganga tour in September, here is a post from Jennifer giving advice on Indian clothing…
Jennifer: What I wear in India ~
What do I wear in India?
On the Mother Ganga tour, especially in Delhi, Amritsar and Mumbai, it’s going to be very warm. And by very warm, I mean hot.
In Australia, when it gets hot in summer, I wear shorts and a singlet around the house, and a thin dress for a visit to the shops. This means exposed legs, exposed arms, tops that can be low cut, shorts or dresses that can be short short.
In India, in the summer, I dress up. Layers and layers, even if it’s 40C+. This is what’s most comfortable. This is how the Indian women dress, and I figure they’ve been doing it for hundreds of years, so they must know what best suits the climate.
So in India I dress Indian!
I put on traditional Indian leg-ins, called churidars. The Indians must have invented leg-ins. They are long and thin down your leg but big and baggy around your tummy.
If it’s really hot though sometimes I’ll wear baggy salwars pants. They are so big I can fit myself into them a couple of times. Over this I wear a kurta. This is the iconic Indian shirt.
A kurta goes over my head and down over my leg-ins or baggy salwar pants. It covers all the folds of fabric pulled in at my tummy and floats down to my thighs or my calves depending on the length I choose.
The last layer is my favourite piece of Indian clothing – the dupatta.
A dupatta is like a scarf or shawl except it’s twice as big. I drape my dupatta over my shoulders, put on some pretty sandals, and I’m ready to face anything the Indian streets may send my way.
Everything I’m wearing is either cotton or silk, or both. The sweep and flutter of my baggy pants, and the flip and flap of my dupatta, creates little eddies of breeze – my own cooling system.
If the sun’s beating down, I can use my dupatta to shade my face. If there’s a sudden rain squall, my dupatta will protect me till I find shelter. And when I go into a hotel lobby and the air con hits me, I can wrap my dupatta around me so I don’t get hypothermic shock.
And if I spill curry on myself – well I can use my dupatta as camouflage.
I walk differently when I’m in my Indian layers. Gone are my camino hiking boot strides. I take little steps. I like to think I’m graceful and feminine like the Indian ladies around me. I’m not really.
They sail past in exotic clothing, More exotic than I would dare to wear. They have on the perfect mix and match confections called Salwar Kameez. Each item in theory is like mine but in practice no. The artistry of the Salwar Kameez can be breathtaking.
Or perhaps they are wearing saris. Oh my! Six meters of exquisite fabric draped around a body. How do they stay on? Why don’t the ladies trip over? How do they do it? I have heard they use safety pins but even so.
This is a feminine country.
The softest mint greens are mixed with the most delicate pinks. In India orange is a neutral and hot pink goes with everything.
Head to foot pure white looks divine.
And glorious ruby red matched with brilliant emerald green doesn’t make me think of Christmas. Every colour imaginable is on the street in combinations that make my head spin.
Sequins are worn to breakfast. Sparkle is daywear. Jewelry glints and gleams.
Shiny bangles go all the way up arms. Ankles tinkle with tiny bells. Toes wear rings. Hands are etched in henna. Foreheads are decorated in coloured powder.
I so want to join in.
There are a few places still available on the Mother Ganga tour.
Here is the link to the site: