A Trip to India with Anita Dongre
Last month I had the opportunity to visit India with famed Indian designer, Anita Dongre. She has dressed royalty, celebrities, and public figures, including but not limited to Kate Middleton (Duchess Kate), Kim Kardashian and Hillary Clinton. While mostly known for her couture line, Anita Dongre created Anita Dongre Grassroot, an everyday and more casual ready-to-wear line designed for the chic globetrotter, in efforts to revive a traditional artisan craft of hand embroidery. All garments are handmade by women living in rural villages and the impact the jobs and brand have had is significant: they help sustains entire villages, enabling women to afford to send their children to school. Talk about empowerment!
During the trip, I had the amazing opportunity to visit 4 of India's incredible cities: Delhi, Agra, Ahmenabad and Mumbai. I wanted to take this opportunity to take you on a quick look back at the incredible experience that was this trip with Anita Dongre. So let's dive in:
New Delhi with Anita Dongre
Upon arrival in Delhi, I checked in at the Taj Hotel in Delhi. The rooms are contemporary but the pool is absolutely stunning and picture worthy. I woke up to birds chirping and the most beautiful sunrise. We were in Delhi for one night and had the opportunity to visit one of Anita Dongre’s flagship stores and pass by the Grassroot store as well in the most beautiful shopping mall, where pictures aren’t even allowed. I of course, was able to snap a quick story on my instastories because hey, I had to! and nobody saw! Shhh! After picking out looks for the week, we passed by Qutb Minar, a real wonder. While the stay was brief in Delhi, other must visits include the Tomb of Safdar Jang and the Red Fort. You can also try visiting Delhi (old) there is a Delhi and a New Delhi where you can ask a merchant to visit the rooftop of one of the buildings and watch a gorgeous sunset – just make sure to bring marigold flowers and a blanket with you!
Agra with Anita Dongre
A four-hour drive from Delhi is Agra where the Taj Majal, one of the wonders of the world, is located. While we spent a night in Agra, I’d recommend hiring a driver and traveling early morning and returning the same day. Another quick tip: you do have to pay to enter so make sure to bring cash. Once at the Taj, pass quickly through the entrance and go towards the left where the mosque is, you will be able to snap a picture of the Taj with less people. As most tourists take pictures once they enter or go to the structure to the right. P.S. The design of the Taj was inspired by a dream that the wife of the emperor had – to honor his wife, he built the Taj Majal for her – a real symbol of love.
Ahmedebad with Anita Dongre
Upon arrival, I found out it's a dry and vegan state. Luckily, my husband is vegetarian and I mostly eat vegetarian at home, so that wasn't an issue, but figured I'd let you know! Here, we visited the rural artisan women and let me tell you: this has to have been one of the most incredible experiences of my life.
We were greeted by women who were singing and blessing us as we entered the home of one of the artisan women. It was a truly humbling experience to meet the actual woman that handmade the dress I was wearing at the time. Think about that for a second.. She recognized it! It was so incredible to see and hear how the lives of these woman have improved since working for the Grassroot line – talk about shopping for a cause. We spent one night here and stayed at a charming hotel called The House of MG, once the home of a family that was converted into a boutique hotel.
Mumbai with Anita Dongre
Mumbai is known as the cosmopolitan state of India and was once known as Bombay.
Here, we spent 2 nights at the Taj Majal Palace that overlooks the Gateway of India – another incredible sight. My room actually had a direct view of it and I couldn’t get enough of watching the sunrise from my balcony. While in Mumbai, we had the opportunity to visit Anita Dongre’s home and headquarters – such an incredible experience to see how the entire brand works.
If you're in town, I recommend going to the flea markets for some shopping as well. I was able to pick up brass champagne flutes, gorgeous bangles, and 6 purses – yes 6 (all totaled under $100 - such a deal!).
To get the perfect shot at the gateway of India, I recommend buying bird food so you can feed them to get them to fly near you and have the photographer ready!
The trip was not long enough as there are so many amazing must-visit places in India like Jaipur and Goa. Hopefully, I can return soon!
Be on the lookout as the Anita Dongre Grassroot store is set to open in May in Soho, NYC and I’m so excited to welcome the brand to the city.
Have you been to India? Let me know in the comments below! Plus: Which dress was your favorite?