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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http://www.handmadetoys.in

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.

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

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
http://www.handmadetoys.in

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
http://www.handmadetoys.in

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.

The festival of Jagannath Rath Yatra

‘Jagannath Puri’, Rath Yatra get organized every once in a year. Jagannath Puri is one of the four ‘DHAMs’ in the Hindu Culture. It is situated in the holy town of ‘Puri’ within the state of Orissa, on the eastern part of  India; remaining three ‘DHAMs’ are situated:

original1.2406073.2Dwarika in the west, Badrinath in the north and Rameswaram in the southern part of India and today I will share some interesting facts about ‘The Jagannath Rath Yatra’.

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The Jagannath temple has a long and rich history. On the second day of the bright fortnight of Asadha (june) month, the pilgrim town of Puri celebrates the festival of Jagannath Rath Yatra. It is the day when Gods come out on the Royal Chariots and visit the Gundicha temple.

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The embodiment’s of 3 deities, Jagannath, and his siblings Balabhadra and Subhadra, have brought out off the temple on the streets of the Puri. Devotees use their combined strength to pull the chariot to Gundicha temple using ropes.

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During this there is a ritual call “Chedaphahra”, which involves the king of Puri, Sweeping the floor before Jagannath. He sweeps all 3 chariots with the gold handled groom and sprinkle sandalwood water on the very first and last days of the Yatra.

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After 9 days, these Deities are brought back from the Gundicha temple to the main  Shree Jagannath temple. On the way back in the mid of the return journey, the 3 Deities hop on a temple called Mausi MAA temple and get the feast of ” Pada Pitha”  (a kind of baked cake).

 

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GUNDICHA  Temple

 

When we were kids, we usually used to watch the Jagannath Yatra on our television set. But we never tried to get to know why this ritual is happening?Why is a king sweeping around chariots? Why these Gods come out every year?

Let’s know these facts today!! Recently I came across some very interesting facts about Jagannath Puri. So, I thought, let’s share them with you.

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Legendary account as found in the Skanda-Purana, Brahma Purana, and other Puranas that the original image of Jagannath (a deity form of Vishnu), at the end of Treta Yuga, manifested near a banyan tree, near seashore in the form of a Blue Jewel. That blue jewel came out from Lord Krishna’s feet. After death, his body got disappeared, but this Padma (Blue Jewel) remained on earth. It was so dazzling that it could grant instant Moksha, so the God Dharma and Yama wanted to hide it in the earth, and was successful. In Dvapara Yuga Lord Jagannath was originally worshiped by a Savar king (tribal chief) named Viswavasu. On hearing about the deity, King Indradyumna sent a Brahmin priest and his brother Vidyapati to locate the deity, who was worshiped

secretly in a dense forest by Viswavasu.

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INDRADYUMNA

Vidyapati tried his best but could not locate the place. But at last, he managed to marry Viswavasu’s daughter Lalita. On multiple requests of Vidyapti, Viswavasu took his son-in-law blindfolded to a cave where Lord Neela Madhava was worshiped.

Vidyapati was very intelligent. He dropped mustard seeds on the ground on the way. The seeds germinated after a few days, which enabled him to find out the cave later on. On hearing from Vidyapati, King Indradyumna proceeded immediately to Odra Desha (Odisha) on a pilgrimage to see and worship the Deity. But the deity had disappeared. Actually, the Deity was hidden in the sand. The king was disappointed and he determined not to return without having a Darshan of the deity and observed fast unto death at Mount Nilgiri.The King Indradyumna was apprised of the message of Brahma by Narada: that the King must worship the deity with one thousand Ashwamedha yajnas.(yug).

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OVER one thousand Aswamedh yug: the divine voice of Neela Madhav instructs Indradyumna as:

“In this world, I will not give you Darshan in the form of Neela Madhava, but I will manifest in four forms: Jagannatha, Balabhadra, Subhadra, and Sudarshan chakra. Wait near the river bank, and a Daru (log of Neem tree trunk) would come afloat.I will manifest in the form of very large, fragrant, reddish log, and the signs of Sankha, Chakra, Gada, and the Padma will be seen everywhere in that form. Go there and take me out and make four deities from that log. Then you will be able to worship me”.

When this log, radiant with light, was seen floating over the sea, Narada told the king to make three idols out of it and place them in a pavilion.

brahmaIndradyumna got Visvakarma, the architect of the Gods, to build a magnificent temple to establish the idols and Vishnu himself appeared in the guise of a carpenter to make the idols on the condition that he was to be left undisturbed until he finished the work.

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But just after two weeks, the Queen became very anxious. She assumed the carpenter to be dead as no sound came from the temple. Therefore, she requested the king to open the door. Thus, they went to see Viswkarma at work at which the latter abandoned his work leaving the idols unfinished. The idols were devoid of any hands. A divine voice told Indradyumana to install them in the temple. And hence the inception of ‘The Jagannath Temple’ happened.

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Following the same pattern, every once in a while, Jagannath presides deity temple in the Puri dies and then come back to the life. Jagannath’s sister Subhadra and brother Balabhadra also undergo the same change. This tradition, known as NOBHAKODA, has been taking place from last 4000 years. It happens when an extra month gets added to the traditional calendar year.This happens to every 14 to 19 years. 2015 was one such years.

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It’s a pretty interesting phenomenon by which how Lord Jagannath’s rebirth takes place.  A Special Neem tree called Darubramh; which doesn’t have a nest, ant hills and snake lives near these and contains symbols of Vishnu. These are cut and transported to the pilgrim town of the Puri where they are carved as with the specific ritualistic guidelines. Then on a specific night the government declares a complete blackout in the Puri and the special blindfolded priest transfers something mysterious from the old image of Jagannatha to the new one. That substance is called “Bramh Pradarth” but no one really knows exactly about it. People believe that it is the same Blue Jewell which is worshiped as Neela Mahadev.

brahmaAfter the rituals, Jagannath’s old image is buried in the special ground barrier of the temple.

Although the Jagannath temple faced several invasions,  through all these adversities Puri temple has continued to thrive. Invasions happened, religious adversities came and went, but the divinity that lives in deformed and smiling deity of Puri passes from one form to another and blesses the entire mankind…

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‘Kaavad’ A traditional masterpiece of storytelling

Storytelling, it’s a part of Indian rich heritage. It defines our culture and our identity. Storytellers spread the important messages and lessons via their stories, with the help of voice and gestures. They use different mediums along with it like painted scrolls, boxes, dance and music performance or a combination of all to make their message even more crisp and thoughtful. Storytelling is an ART!! And Kaavads are the masterpiece of this Art!

The Kaavad is a portable wooden temple/shrine that has visual narratives on its multiple panels that are hinged together. These panels can be opened into many layers, similar to crossed thresholds of a temple, unfolding its deepest secret.The picture painted on the panels depict episodes of a particular tale or a series of epic stories .‘Kaavad Banchana’, a storytelling tradition, is still alive in Rajasthan using stories of the epics Mahabharata, Ramayana, Puranas and folk traditions are told in a magnificent and astonishing manner.

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The Kaavad-storytellers are called Kaavadiya Bhat.They bring the shrine to their patron’s house to recite their genealogy and stories from the Hindu epic.The Kaavadiyas (storytellers) and their jujmans (hereditary patrons) consider the Kaavad as a sacred shrine, which demands certain rituals to be followed, listening to genealogies, epic stories and making donations. It is believed that listening to stories purifies the soul and reserves a place for the devotee in heaven.The Kaavad tradition is approximately 400 years old and like several other oral storytelling traditions in India, its origin is located in mythology or attributed to a mysterious power.

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Kaavad is made by the Suthar (carpenter) community in Mewar, situated amidst the hills of the Aravalli ranges in Rajasthan. The specific identity of Kaavad makers comes from the place Bassi, the place where Kaavads are originated from. The Suthars of Bassi calls themselves the children of Visvakarma, the God who is considered as the chief architect of the Universe and the father of carpenter community. Out of 25 families of Suthars in Bassi only five to six families are involved in making of Kaavads.

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Kaavadiyas procure Kaavads from the Suthars of Bassi and then travel along with it from village to village to tell a lot of marvelous stories. On his arrival at a village, the storyteller holds the Kaavad against his chest, tilted slightly backward so that everybody could see the mobile Kaavad-shrine.During Kaavad bhachana, he sits crossed legged and keeps Kaavad over his lap.

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The story begins by opening the small outer doors revealing the decorations on the outer panels to arouse the curiosity by talking through the highlights of the stories depicted in the Kaavad.The storyteller then opens a ‘donations’ flap located under the decorated panels.The storyteller opens panels, one by one, telling the unveiling the several episodes of the tale.Sometimes a story could last for several days. One Kavad can contain many linked tales.The grand finale of the tales comes as the storyteller opens the final panels to reveal a ‘shrine’ –housing 3D sculptures of the hero, his wife, companions, and other characters of the story, where everyone lives happily ever after.

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