Alternative Medium for kids, to draw attention from Screen Entertainment.

I started My cultural interest journey, during my graduation. It was a craft education orientated institute, based in the capital of Rajasthan. My specialization was in textile designing that led to witness cultural diversity throughout in  the country.  That made me learned a lot about culture, through their aboriginal attire and craft culture preference. Those easily get influenced by history, geography, climate condition and cultural beliefs about that indigenous place. These facts intrigue my interest to not only  see their craft but also look at, life around them.

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I love travelling,though it’s not as easy to manage along with your professional 9 to 5 job but somehow I make it possible if I want it bad enough.

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The culture of India is one of the oldest and unique. The South, North and Northeast have their own distinct cultures and almost every state has carved out its own cultural niche. There is hardly any culture in the world that is as varied and unique as India. But Due to urbanization of young generation on one side where we are becoming a multicultural society, On the other hand, we are losing our distinct tradition and its cultural values.We can clearly understand as if, as many rituals and custom our grandparents followed; in the next generation my mom not able to follows them all. In fact, in heirloom, I also won’t be able to follow half of what my mom does now.  That would happen Due to lack of resources, knowledge, and interest.

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So in that way, if the majority of generation ignores their culture and its values, it can’t survive for long. So here we can trace where it is proceeding, But no!! We don’t want our unique and diverse culture to get write off. Then the question is how to protect it?

Culture in itself a very vast topic; we can classify it in 2 as tangible and intangible aspects.

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On following key points, we need to think on individual level, about our own part of contribution, to keep attached next generation with the culture. As parents, it’s our job to choose the right occasion  and right places to help them explore, inspect, create, and question everything around them.

dav
http://www.handmadetoys.in
dav
http://www.handmadetoy.in

Here I’m putting my little efforts by creating ‘ TANGIBLE MINIATURE’ artworks to promote cultural education. I believe these artworks will ENCOURAGE parent to involved them-self with kids. I choose Parents to cover the intangible aspects of these cultural artworks. That’s how you can make them understand their own roots, primal culture, and its values.Top of the thing, we are giving various topics to parents, to share their own respective part of memories. Those memories you might have collected in their life, over a certain time. It would be exactly like introducing them with your family photo album, where they start recognizing your family friends and events based on your detailed description.

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dav
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Topic of artworks I’ll choose from different distinct culture. On first series, I covered North Indian culture. For more clarity about its tangible and intangible aspects, I will cover whole article on each of them.

dav
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while working and observing the pattern of learning for kids in past 3 years , I found that there are mainly 7 ways to make them learn anything –

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1-visual, 2- aural, 3- social, 4-solitary, 5- physical, 6- logical, 7-verbal.

Here parents, teachers, friends n society play a great role to build the character and cultural knowledge of kids.Only Parents and teachers can play the best role to connect them with their culture, as they are the closest persons to them. I strongly believe that Visual, social and verbal communication bridge will find alternative to keep kids away from screen entertainment; where they only get trapped in someone else simulation.

dav
http://www.handmadetoys.in
dav
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Knowledge about culture will open a whole new field of imagination and understanding for kids to analyze Cultural Revolution. I just want you to Give them food of thought and Let them play with their own imagination.

‘GANGOUR’ The festival of Isar and Gour.

Gangour is one of the widely celebrated festivals of Rajasthan. The festival marks the beginning of spring season in the state.It’s commenced at the mid of march with a series of celebrations that last for almost 18 days!

The word ‘Gangur’ is made up of two words,’Gana’ and ‘Gaur’. ‘Gana’ is synonymous with Lord Shiva and ‘Gaur’ stands for Gauri (Parvali), the goddess Gauri who symbolizes soubhagya (marital bliss). The Gangour festival is widely acclaimed and enthusiastically celebrated throughout the state of Rajasthan. Gangaur is a festival of the women folks; Gangaur is celebrated in the honor of Goddess Gauri, who is considered as the symbol of virtue, devotion, fertility and a perfect married woman.

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The small Idols of the Shiva and Gauri are usually made of wood or clay mud. These divine male and female entities are called ‘Isar’ and ‘Gauri’. It is mandatory for a newly- wedded girl to observe the full course of 18 days of the festival and keep fast to ensure her marriage do well,  even unmarried girls fast and eat only one meal a day.

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Now, let me take you through the procedures of celebrations!

The celebration begins almost a fortnight before the main day of the festival.Girls worship the goddess all through the fortnight before the main event day.   A group of women from the town holds a procession and carry colorful Idols of Gouri. Many people from nearby villages come to take part in the procession and roam around with them from village to villages.

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On the main day of this festival, women wake up before sunrise. Prior to the worship, newlyweds and unmarried girls leave the house with an earthen pot with a lamp lit inside, called ‘Ghudlia’, on their head to near the pond and garden, to collect fresh water and fresh flowers respectively.While coming back to the house, women chant hymn and (mangal) songs.

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After making home holy by sprinkling this water, women construct twenty-four finger-high and twenty-four finger-long square base of the holy clay in the solitary place.During this Pooja as a symbol of virtue, sixteen dots by  kuncum, sixteen dots by mehndi  and sixteen dots by kajal  are made.

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Women Decorate the Isar and Gauri with beautiful clothes and ornaments specially made for the occasion.the beautifully decorated idols look like they are brought to life by these girls and married women. Women worship ten forms of Mother Gauri: Gauri, Uma, Latika, Subhaga, Bhagmalini, Manokamna, Bhavani, Kamada, Bhog Vardavini and Ambika, with great devotion and faith.

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The idol of Isar and Gouri placed on the head of married women are taken in a procession in the afternoon, to a garden, bawakdi or well. Vidaai songs are  sung  as  Gouri departed to her husband’s house, after that they come back to home. These prayers are persisted continuously for 18 days and are concluded with the arrival of Lord Shiva to accompany his bride home.

The married women worship Gauri for welfare, health, and longevity of their husband and cheerful married life. While unmarried girls worship the goddess to get the husband of their choice.They sing Bhajans or devotional songs as part of Gangour Puja.During Gangour festival several fairs or Jatra are celebrated in Jaipur, Udaipur and many other towns in Rajasthan.

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Gauri and Isar idols are taken out for a ceremonial procession through different parts of the city. Once the religious part of the festival is over, time for cultural events starts where the Rajasthani culture is portrayed through songs, dance and several cultural activities.

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On the final day, the procession comes to an end with the Visarjan (immerse) of all the idols in the water of Gangour Ghats. The women bid farewell to Gouri and return back towards their home with teary eyes and in this way, Gangour Festival come to an end.

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Lord Jagannath and his siblings, Balabhadra and Subhadra, deities smile at me :)

jagananth_1413021999We covered many heritage toys stories from north, south and west, how could we forgot to Raghurajpur . On the mapping of traditionally rich heritage places, you will found Raghurajpur painted with bold strokes. Raghurajpur heritage craft village is in Odisha, 14 km away from Hindu pilgrimage town of Puri. Raghurajpur renowned to produce different varieties of handicrafts.

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This is the only village in India, where each family is engaged in one craft or the other such as patta paintings, palm leaf engravings, papermache toys and masks, wood carvings, wooden toys, cow dung toys and so on. Raghurajpur a place where arts and crafts have reached its stage of excellence.

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Photo credit: Abhimanyu Biriki

There are barely a hundred homes in this village. Narrow houses located on either side of narrow lanes, a temple on each lane, a sit out area in front of each house, total wooden interiors (beams, pillars, doors and the likes) and traditional decor is how Raghurajpur looks at first glance. but once u enter u will found every home is an studio and every another person is an artist or a chitrakar, creating and preserving the traditional art form of Pattachitra and other carft painted with Pattachitra. In this village you will found fascinating murals painted on the outer walls of every home.

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photo credit; Abhimanyu Biriki

The reigning theme is the portrait of the three faces that fill up every space on the walls: the triad deities of Puri – Lord Jagannath and his siblings, Balabhadra and Subhadra. Almost every art form in this village is inspired by them.

As I always talks about cultural art toys and artifacts over my blog, here also we will talk upon those features only.

Coconut n betel nut painting-  

coconut shell called  nadia are inexpensive in Orissa, given its long coastline where coconut trees grow in abundance. Decorative and utility items crafted from coconut shells work out cheaper on account of the low cost of raw material,and less labour involved in comparison to betel nut carving.

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photo credit: Abhimanyu Biriki

on these shells, where the triad deities smile at me.

Cow dung toys

From centuries, toys made from cowdung have severed as cheap substitutes to wooden and metal toys, especially for marginalized communities. The raw material is free and production cost is negligible almost. They are mostly made by womens of stone carvers community, these brightly painted toys are rustic in design. Birds, animals are popular motifs as are statuettes of lard jagannath and his companions.

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These are sold in local markets . cowdung enjoyed a great deal of value in india and is thought of as holy as well as having antiseptic property.

Papier-mâché masks

Like other handicrafts linked with Raghurajpur, this handicraft made from wet waste paper too has its origin at this heritage village. Local pattachitra artists uses natural colours & mythological figures to make this masks.

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Photo credit: Abhimanyu Biriki

It can be used as wall hanging, toys & as puja idol. Masks of demons can also be used in front of houses to ward off evil eyes.

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Photo Credit: Abhimanyu Biriki

All the time favorite game for girls, all over the world is to play homemaking.

All the time favorite game for girl,all over the world is to play homemaking. Around 400 – 500 years ago, Bhatukali was devised as a method of getting young girls to learn home management rituals and traditions through play. The traditional version of this in Maharashtra is the Bhatukali. The players are in Bhatukali are all mainly girls from neighborhood however, young brothers who promise to behave well, may included to function as men in the household. A short Bhatukali session takes two to three hours. An elaborate Bhatukali can start early in the morning, that run throughout the whole day and into that they replicate all what happen into an ordinary household.

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Cooking and the distribution of responsibility of kitchen are the main core element in Bhatukali game. Bhatukali game is all about realize the ordinary real life situation (which we learn by noticing elders how they deal with it in daily basis) and replicate it by role playing. Leaves, flower, pebbles, sand, are used as a ingredients for the meal. Sometime mothers gives to girls  jaggery, puffed rice, peanuts and other dry fruits to play with, to pretend as meal which could be eatable in row form.

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In addition of cooking, Bhatukali session simulate several other aspects of the daily routine in a home. Bhatukali players take on the different roles in the family and enact their role with meticulous precisions. Through different roles girls concentrate over the role of grown-up women of household. Not only do the players simulate the routine within household but also they simulate some of the crises that occur. The crises imitation may be relatively simple –for instance, the unexpected arrival of the guest.

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Play is an integral part of every childhood. It is essential for child’s development and for learning life skills. Play is how children learn to have fun, to socialize, to think, to solve problems and to work. Play connects children with their imagination, their environment, and the people around them. Toys are tools children use in play.  It impacts the learning and development in children. Toys of value enhance a child’s natural ability to engage in imaginative and meaningful play.

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While today’s household has around 40 – 50 types of utensils, a few hundred years ago, the average Maharashtra household had around 200 types of kitchen articles. The miniature stove, pots, pans, and kitchen implements as well as the plates on which the food is served, are fashioned out of brass, copper, or stainless steel. u can get Bhatukali utensils set  in copper, brass, stainless steel.

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Role Playing Toys are very impotent  to imitate real-life roles for emotional development. These toys help in nurturing the imagination to play socially and help them to develop  emotionally. These toys help them to learn about their environment and enhance their social skills like language, body language, etc by encouraging interaction.

So the conclusion , toys are vital part of every childhood. Playing with toys help children learn about the world around them in a much better way. Toys nurtures healthy overall growth in children.

 

Panchmura terracotta craft become the symbol of Indian folk-art

Panchmura is a village, which is located at a distance about 40 km from Bishnupuri, Bishanupur  is a town under Bankura district(West Bengal). It is known for its Traditional Terracotta Horse and Mansha chali (the Snake Goddess), and other Handicrafts.

Bishanupur become the principle centre of culture and  art during the patronage of Malla king Veer Hambir and his successors Raja Raghunath Singha and Veer Singha. Most of the exquisite terracotta temples for which this town is famous were built during this period.

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Originally Horses, elephants, Manasi Chali (the Snake Goddess) and Shashti (the guardian deity of children) were produced for ritualistic purpose.  People offered Horses and elephants as a token of their devotion to Dharma Thakur, Manasa chali and numerous other village deities. Local people promise to dedicate terracotta horses and elephants to the serpent deity on the fulfillment of a wish. Manasa Chali, terracotta facade of a shrine. The snake deity Manasa is worshipped for protection from snakebites.

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One of the beliefs is that, these horse and elephants are considered as the carriers of village ancestral spirits. They believe that the ancestral spirits ride on the horses and elephants which are offered at the village shrine, to drive away the evil spirits from the village.

The Basic Raw Materials needed for making the Bankura horse and other similar crafts is mainly the TERRACOTTA clay, which is generally available in the region; otherwise the “Kumbhkars” (potters) get the clay from the other neighboring region of Bishnupur. The clay which they get mostly impure and the potters make the clay fit for the craft production by removing the dust- stones from it. The clay is generally ordered in bulk, and is kept outside of the house, and covered if there is any rain. The other Raw Materials which are mixed with CLAY are SAND, HAY and WATER. Generally the water they use either from the tube well or from the local pond. Sand and Grass are used to hold the clay together as a binder.

From mid April to mid June they stop their production due to extreme summer weather, which makes cracks on products. Before starting the production they worship lord shiva by making shivling on the wheel from the clay which they collect in bulk for the rest of year production.

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Paper, mud, and clay are used to make the Chhau masks.

 

Puruliya is a district in the state of West Bengal, India. It is located in the eastern part of the country near Bengal- Jharkhand border. Chhau is a form of dance that has become very popular in West Bengal, Jharkhand, and Orissa. Based on place of origin and development, this dance can be classified in three subgenres—Seraikella Chhau, Mayurbhanj Chhau, and Purulia Chhau.

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Photo credit: Shuvarthy Chowdhury,

Seraikella Chhau is from Jharkhand, Purulia Chhau is performed in West Bengal, Mayurbhanj Chhau is performed in Orissa. The Purulia Chhau and Seraikella Chhau are more popular than Mayurbhanj among the three, cause Seraikella and Purulia use masks but  Mayurbhanj Chhau does not and these chouu quite different from each other by look.

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Seraikella Chhau
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Purulia Chhau

This form of dance performed duringthe March-April months. The locals gathered around the dancers for entertainment, and performers performs various episodes from the epics; Ramayana, Mahabharata and from Puranas to communicate with the people by using the Chhau dance.  You will often see the incredibly fit dancers dressed up as Hindu deities such as Durga, Ganesh, Kartik and dancing around effortlessly in their heavy costumes and masks.

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photo credit: arunima mondal

Paper, Mud,and clay are used to make the Chhau masks. The masks are painted in pastel shades and have a frank, simple, and bold look. The eye- brows, mouth, and eyes are painted to give completeness to the looks. Around 150 years ago during the rule of King Madan Mohan Singh Deo of Bagmundi the tradition of making chau masks started in the CHARIDA village of Purulia. Presently there are around 300 traditional Artists in the village known as “SUTRADHAR” community

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Photo credit: Shuvarthy Chowdhury,

Why we called it chauu? there is a fact to explain it,  that long ago this dance was performed by the military of the local kingdom in their leisure time. The themes included their heroic deeds and traditional folklore. They performed this dance for their own entertainment as well as to encourage themselves. As it was performed in their camps (locally known as “Chhauni”), the name “Chhau” came from that term.

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It is mainly performed at night in an open space, called “akhada” or “asor” along with traditional and folk music on the reed pipes “mohuri” and “shehnai” (locally shaina) and  traditional drums  “dhol” dhumsa” and “kharka”.

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Photo credit: Shuvarthy Chowdhury,

Besides its importance to culture, Chhau is crucial to the local economy. There is a global audience for this folk art form, and a large number of families earn their livelihood by performing and selling masks and dresses.

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Photo credit: Shuvarthy Chowdhury,