For the past month I have been traveling across the globe including a few weeks visiting the northern part of India. Color and chaos abound with stalls selling vegetables, fruits, and flowers line the streets.
My first morning in Mumbai was a 5:30 a.m. tour of the city markets. From the fish market with coolies carrying large baskets of seafood on their heads to the newspaper market with the sorting of papers in multiple languages which are stacked five feet high onto bicycles for delivery, my eyes were wide, taking in all of the morning activities.
An early morning tour of Mumbai’s flower market shows row after row of marigold and other blossoms that will be used for making garlands.
A statue of the Hindu god Ganesh is adorned with a garland of marigolds. The elephant is a symbol of strength and power and Ganesh is known as the remover of obstacles and is worshipped before any major undertaking.
Our bustling days often ended with stays in opulent palace hotels with exotic décor and abundant floral designs. Hotel flowers were high impact with sometimes a thousand or more stems of the same color. Each hotel welcomed its guests with a garland of marigolds, orchid blooms, or a shower of rose petals. Coming home to a pile of mail and empty refrigerator made the contrast even greater.
Hotel Taj Palace in Mumbai was our first stop. This display of a variety of yellow flowers filled the center lobby. I stopped counting stems at 1,000!
The technique for filling the glass vases is to bundle multiple stems of the same variety together. About thirty sweetheart roses and twenty stems of yellow lilies fill a simple glass vase.
Marigolds are featured in these golden candelabra. Each evening at sunset there is a ceremony to light the lamps.
At the Lake Palace in Udaipur we were greeted with a shower of rose petals. The hotel roof was lined with a carpet of petals leading to a romantic table for two. (Sadly not mine!) Indian flute music added to the elegance.
In Jaipur again we see the multiple glass vases. This time filled with all white flowers.
The all white theme is used again for this elegant luncheon table.
Contemporary décor at the Rambagh Palace uses bowls of dark pink rose petals on its banquet table.
I was intrigued by the creative use of contemporary fabrics and décor in the Rambagh Palace. Notice the pink and white orbs in this sunroom.
A moment was taken for quiet reflection when at the flower market I received the gift of a single lotus blossom. The lotus symbolizes purity and devotion and is a reminder of the contrasts of life in India and throughout the world.
In just a few weeks the WAFA World Association of Flower Arrangers Flower Show will be held in Jaipur, India. Keep an eye out for www.wafaindia.com for lots more about flowers in India. And good luck to all of my flower friends who are attending. I can’t wait to see pictures of your designs and wish I were there with you.