A day in Old Delhi

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When getting lost is part of the job. 

Bhanu wanders Old Delhi for inspiration.

I’m always on the lookout for new sources of design inspiration. That’s why I decided to take a trip to Old Delhi, a bustling and vibrant area known for its rich history, culture, and of course, its bazaars. Located just 45 minutes from C+S offices, it’s a place I always recommend to visitors, but rarely get the chance to go myself.

As I made my way through the crowded streets, I’m always struck by the colours, sounds, and smells that surround me, the energy of the place is infectious, and I felt myself getting swept up in the excitement of it all.

First on the list to look out for as I wandered through the markets was textiles. From intricate embroidery and delicate lace to bold prints and bright colours, there was something for every taste and style. I was particularly drawn to the rugs and carpet like fabrics that are a specialty of the area, and I knew that they would be perfect inspiration for next years collection I’m working on at Cora + Spink.

However, it’s important to acknowledge that visiting a bustling city like Delhi comes with its own set of challenges and limitations, particularly when it comes to sourcing materials and ensuring that they meet our ethical and environmental standards. The pollution and noise levels in Delhi can be overwhelming, so take precautions to protect yourself when spending time in the city, be mindful of beggars, pick pockets, and con artists!

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Somewhere in Old Delhi.
Photographer: Bhanu Gill.

While the markets in Old Delhi offer an abundance of materials and inspiration, it’s important to not get carried away, I carefully vet any potential suppliers to ensure their products meet our criteria, ethical labour policies, and environmental protection. As a responsible and sustainable company, Cora + Spink is committed to upholding these values in every aspect of our business, including our sourcing and production processes. This approach to vetting our suppliers and materials, means extra work, but also brings us closer to local communities and artisans. At the end of the day, ensuring our products are not only beautiful but also ethically and sustainably produced at all levels.

Despite these challenges, my trip to Old Delhi was an eye-opening experience that highlighted the importance of taking a responsible and mindful approach to sourcing and design inspiration. The city offers an incredible wealth of creativity, culture, and history that continues to inspire on many levels.

As I explored further, I discovered a treasure trove of accessories and embellishments that would be perfect for our backpacks. From colourful tassels and beads, intricate zardozi work to army surplus materials and canvases. But it wasn’t just the materials that inspired me during my trip to Old Delhi. It was also the people and the culture of the area. I was struck by the warmth and hospitality of the locals and found myself learning so much about their way of life and traditions.

As someone who originally comes from Karnal, a much quieter town in Haryana, India, the hustle and bustle of Old Delhi was a stark contrast to what I was used to. But I found that I loved the energy and vibrancy of the place, and I know that my experiences there will help enrich the work that we do at Cora + Spink.

In conclusion, a visit to Old Delhi is an incredible opportunity to immerse oneself in the rich culture and history of India, and to discover an abundance of design inspiration and sourcing opportunities. However, it’s important to take a responsible and mindful approach, particularly ensuring new ideas meet our ethical and environmental standards.

At Cora + Spink, we remain committed to upholding these values in everything that we do, and we are proud to work with local communities and artisans to produce beautiful, sustainable products that reflect the rich creativity and culture of India.

10 things to see and do in Old Delhi.

Visit Jama Masjid – This iconic mosque is one of the largest in India and features stunning architecture and intricate details.

Take a rickshaw ride through the streets – The best way to experience the hustle and bustle of Old Delhi is by taking a ride in a traditional rickshaw.

Explore the bazaars – Old Delhi is known for its vibrant markets, which offer an incredible array of textiles, jewellery, spices, and more.

Visit the Red Fort – This historic fort was once the residence of Mughal emperors and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Try street food – Old Delhi is famous for its street food, including chaat, samosas, and jalebis.

Visit the spice market – Khari Baoli is one of the largest spice markets in Asia and is a must-visit for foodies and anyone interested in the vibrant flavours of India.

Take a heritage walk – Many organizations offer guided walking tours of Old Delhi, which provide a fascinating glimpse into the area’s rich history and culture.

Visit the Chandni Chowk – This famous street is one of the oldest and busiest markets in Delhi and is a shopper’s paradise.

Check out the street art – Old Delhi is home to some incredible street art, which adds an extra layer of colour and vibrancy to the area.

Visit the Havelis – These historic mansions are a testament to the wealth and opulence of the Mughal era and offer a glimpse into the lives of the city’s elite

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You can’t park there…

Traffic wardens are the bane of everyone’s life. Scooters being impounded – Old Delhi, Bhanu Gill.

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