TRAVEL

On the Road with Anndra Neen


Anndra Neen’s Annette and Phoebe Stephens were born in Mexico, moved to New York after college, and came up with the idea for their line of sculptural accessories while on a trip to Japan. More recently, their wanderlust led them to India, where they spent 10 days hiking trails, visiting religious shrines, and of course drawing inspiration for their next collection. Here, their travel diary.

1

The beautiful Golden Temple of Amritsar, India at night. It is the holiest Sikh gurdwara. It was completed in 1577 and over 100,000 people travel to worship there each day. In order to enter, your hair has to be covered and your feet have to be bare. It is one of the most impressive and awe-inspiring places we have been to.

Photo courtesy of Annette and Phoebe Stephens.

2

Our guide taught us how to wear a turban Sikh style! Their turbans are an important part of their identity. They use them to cover their hair (which they never cut), keep cool, and to wash themselves. They also match their turbans to their shirt color. As two foreigners, we got a lot of stares at the temple!

Photo courtesy of Annette and Phoebe Stephens.

3

Selfie after being turbanized.

Photo courtesy of Annette and Phoebe Stephens.

4

This is a Sikh warrior who was volunteering during the closing ceremony at the Golden Temple. It is a celebration that happens every night when the Scriptures are put to bed until the next morning. This experience was magical.

Photo courtesy of Annette and Phoebe Stephens.

5

The Golden Temple in the light of day.

Photo courtesy of Annette and Phoebe Stephens.

6

Phoebe and our trip companion Jaime posing at the edge of the water surrounding the Golden Temple. Jaime is wearing the traditional orange colored turban for men.

Photo courtesy of Annette and Phoebe Stephens.

7

Annette in front of the Golden Temple. We were obsessed with the different patterns on the marble floor!

Photo courtesy of Annette and Phoebe Stephens.

8

Beautiful women in front of the temple. The vibrancy of color and the patterns on the Saris they were wearing was breathtaking. Collectively they looked like a painting.

Photo courtesy of Annette and Phoebe Stephens.

9

We were told that a Sikh warrior is distinguished from other Sikhs because he always wears a weapon. They use it not for violence but to keep the peace. We absolutely loved his indigo wardrobe. We would wear it out here in NYC as a dress!

Photo courtesy of Annette and Phoebe Stephens.

10

Looks like a mother and a daughter standing against the outer wall of the Temple, they have the same expression. The contrast between their colorful saris and the white marble walls was radiant.

Photo courtesy of Annette and Phoebe Stephens.

11

We visited the largest soup kitchen in the world. They feed over 100,000 people a day! Anyone can come eat at any time for free. It is one of the reasons why there are no beggars in the city. Everyone volunteers and the kitchens are run on donations. Here, women are pealing garlic.

Photo courtesy of Annette and Phoebe Stephens.

12

This man is preparing khee in a humongous vat. It is a rice pudding that is part of their meal. We had never seen so much food being cooked at the same time before.

Photo courtesy of Annette and Phoebe Stephens.

13

Metal spoons. Imagine using 100,000 of them daily!

Photo courtesy of Annette and Phoebe Stephens.

14

We volunteered to help make the Dal bread. It is harder to do than it looks! The women kept laughing at how irregular the ones we were making came out. They showed us their technique with the rolling pins and we got a little better. Everyone was so welcoming and friendly.

Photo courtesy of Annette and Phoebe Stephens.

15

People also volunteer to help clean up. Here women are drying cleaned bowls off with ash.

Photo courtesy of Annette and Phoebe Stephens.

16

Everything in the temple is a work of art! Beneath our feet, one of the most beautiful mosaics comprised of lapis and mother of pearl. This definitely gave us tons of inspiration for our jewelry.

Photo courtesy of Annette and Phoebe Stephens.

17

The buildings of old Amritsar haven’t lost their charm.

Photo courtesy of Annette and Phoebe Stephens.

18

This picture was taken by Tarun Chopra, one of India’s top photographers who we were also lucky enough to have with us on the trip. The wall behind us reminded us of Mexico.

Photo courtesy of Annette and Phoebe Stephens.

19

A man walking through old Amritsar.

Photo courtesy of Annette and Phoebe Stephens.

20

A typical day on the streets of old Amritsar. You get the feeling that not much has changed in a long time. However, we were told that everyone here has a Facebook page!

Photo courtesy of Annette and Phoebe Stephens.

21

Couldn’t help but go shopping! Phoebe tried on a sari that we were told would be worn by the best friend of a bride. Imagine the actual bride’s dress! Makes you want to have an Indian wedding.

Photo courtesy of Annette and Phoebe Stephens.

22

We stayed at the super chic Imperial Hotel in New Delhi. We felt like we were visiting India in the 1940’s!

Photo courtesy of Annette and Phoebe Stephens.

23

The hotel was filled with stunning drawings.

Photo courtesy of Annette and Phoebe Stephens.