Wendy’s Fifth Trip to India

Why India and Where are you going?

“This will be my fifth trip to India and each time there are different cities to visit and a different focus. Friends have asked me why I continue to travel there on repeated trips. I always say that India is more like a world than a country. Each region is so different, especially from a food perspective. Over the years, we have catered for so many South Asian clients from different regions and it’s been really helpful to have a frame of reference. This trip we will be landing in New Delhi, exploring for a few days there and then traveling to Varanasi, Calcutta, Assam and Amritsar.”

Are you going to be doing different things than on earlier trips?

“This trip I’ll be learning and experiencing Chaat, or Indian Snacks as well as street food which I’ve never eaten on previous trips. I’ll be travelling with a few of my Indian friends so I am confident they will know which eating places are best and safest. Varanasi, especially is supposed to have amazing street food. In Calcutta, looking forward to some of the Bengali Tea Houses. Amritsari fish is a delicacy and looking forward to experiencing that. Someone told me about a Dhaba outside the Golden Temple whose specialty is black daal. An interior designer will be travelling as part of our group so there should be loads of textile exploration throughout the cities we are visiting. I know that one of our main stops in Delhi will be at the Craft Museum.  On past trips I’ve explored, almost entirely, into historical India. This time I’m hoping to experience modern India also. I hear that Calcutta, for instance, has a really vibrant modern art scene and I have a list of 10 modern art galleries I hope to visit.”

What’s your pre-trip prep?

“Throughout the year, I collect clippings and links to refer to when I start planning to a particular destination. I recently pulled out India related articles from the NY Times, Departures Magazine and Elle Décor India to refer to and map out some of the more under the radar places I want to visit. In addition, I ask clients and they tell me about favorites like the Dhaba in Amritsar. As prep for this trip I just read “The Last Mughal” by William Dalrymple and “Calcutta” by Amit Chaudhuri. Instagram is also a wonderful way to research modern India. The people there are so connected! I’m now following a few food accounts from each city we will be visiting.”

What do you hope to buy while you’re there?

“When I come across some fantastic textiles or crafts, I’d love to bring those back for our EC Home Store. It’s best to not have an agenda and let the magic unfold. The best things I’ve bought in India have been stumbled across when I least expect it. For instance,  I furnished part of my Chicago house with furniture found in a warehouse while wandering around.

I’m looking forward to discovering new recipes, ideas for Sangeets and Weddings, textiles and a load of pictures snapped on the street. Can’t wait to share!”