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Bhawai is a folk dance with swaying and twirling movements that is performed by women from certain tribes from the state of Rajasthan. This folk dance is one of the state’s most exciting dance performances as it involves tricky balancing acts, right from balancing seven to nine brass pots on the head to balancing oneself (along with the pots) on narrow and unstable objects like a glass bottle, brass plate or the edge of a sword. The brass pots can, and are often, substituted by an even greater number of earthen pots. Bhawai is also one of the most colorful performances of the state as the women wear bright colored ghaghra cholis and dupattas. The men from these communities offer the music to this dance, using string and percussion instruments. Bhavai dance is often misinterpreted from ‘Bhavai’ which is a folk theatre form of Gujarat.

Background
Although many believe that this dance originated in Gujarat and was inspired by a folk theatre art form of the same name, the Bhawai folk dance of Rajasthan has been a part of the state’s culture for a number of years. This thrilling art form is known to be a special custom of the following tribes: Bhils, Raigers, Charmars, Kumhars, Jats, Meenas and even Kalbelias. The Bhawai dance is usually performed during fairs and festivals as well as special occasions such as weddings. The emergence of this dance form can be traced to the household needs of Rajasthani folk, wherein the women were responsible for traveling long distances each day with numerous brass pots in order to fetch water for the family.

Sources of Inspiration
This dance is inspired by the fact that in the age of feudalism, and to some extent even today, the women of Rajasthan have had to walk for miles on end with a number of pots in order to fill water. When translated into dance, the women carry seven to nine pots on their heads and perform some of the most exciting feats with grace and ease. The highlight of this dance, besides the balancing of or on objects, is also the depiction of the strength, nimbleness and absolute grace in the posture of the women as they travel back and forth each day from the communal well.

This dance is especially colorful due to the bright and vivid hues of the performers’ costumes. This is so because, the culture of the Rajasthani people is to add color to the aridness of their surroundings through their clothes and ornaments.



The art of Bagh printing then moved eastwards to Marwar (Rajasthan) and later to Manavar (Madhya Pradesh) with the migration of the craftsmen.  Over time, the style of Bagh Printing has evolved and attained uniqueness. The present form of Bagh printing actually started in 1962 when the craftsmen migrated from Manavar to the neighboring town of Bagh situated in the Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh and hence Bagh has always been associated with this printing style.
Origin & History
Bagh printing is essentially block printing, which is a technique that has been practiced for several centuries. The earliest evidence of block printing dates back to the time of Alexander the Great, wherein he has specifically mentioned India’s ‘beautiful printed cotton’. However, there is some evidence that goes onto prove that block printing was also prevalent in the Indus Valley civilization, hence the practice of using printing blocks for textile printing can be dated as far as 3000 BC.

Sources of Inspiration
Bagh printing basically involved blocks that are carved onto motifs that represent flora such as Jasmine, Mushroom, lehariya and so on. There are some prints that were inspired by the jaali work that embellished the Taj Mahal and various other forts. Inspiration is also drawn from the landscapes and geometrical figures. The motifs evoke various moods in the serenity of the prints and that is the catchy element of Bagh prints.Bagh village is the place where Bagh printing is sourced and exclusively conducted. It is basically controlled and operated by five-six Muslim Khatri households of Bagh who are also the proprietors of the manufacturing facilities at Bagh. The artisans who are adept at the craft in these facilities are from various communities such as Teli, Bhillala, Bhil and Rajput. The Bagh prints are basically floral and geometrical patterns and the blocks for Bagh printing are crafted with great skill by block makers that reside in Pethapur, Gujarat.

Bagh prints’  are an all time favorite in the Indian subcontinent primarily because the material is very comfortable and soft. There is a variety of Bagh printed merchandise that is commonly found such as bed covers, cushion covers, table covers, runners, mats, ladies suits and sarees, kurtis, dupattas, skirts and dresses amongst other things.  A lot of trendy and contemporary prints are now being used by the Bagh printers along with more fabrics apart from Cotton such as Silk, Crepe, and Tassar with fabulous results.  Bagh prints are very fashionable and people are developing a new connect with this beautiful art form which is a part of the rich Indian textile heritage.  Eco-friendly in nature, since Bagh prints make use of vegetable dyes, this art is gaining a lot of recognition worldwide and indigenously too, with the Government taking initiatives in trying to support and reform this craft.

Innovations

Bagh prints have become increasingly popular from its erstwhile status of being nearly forgotten.  Traditionally, this printing style was used for a few products such as lehengas and sarees, whereas now it has innovated and expanded its range to bed covers, dupattas, dress materials, curtains, table cloths and much more. This craft is also gaining recognition as an eco-friendly technique and therefore Bagh printing is making forays into foreign markets by experimenting and evolving to satisfy their global clientele.

Maintenance

Bagh printed fabrics are washed three times before being sent out to the market. Generally color does not leak from the fabric; however, it is advisable to get the fabric dry cleaned the first time. It can be lightly washed later on and is not difficult to maintain.

Global Wearability
Bagh textiles are usually cotton based and very soft. These are an all time wear as they can be used in all seasons and climates. A lot of international attention is being given to Bagh printing due to its eco-friendly production process and Bagh printed merchandise has a huge market abroad.
Accessorizing

Bagh prints are very trendy, particularly because they can give a very nice ethnic twist that exudes simplicity yet sophistication. From scarves, dupattas, and kurtas to patialas and salwar- Bagh prints can be mixed and matched to give a trendy casual look.

Bronze Jewelry



 Bronze Jewelry
Bronze is an alloy majorly containing copper. It is extensively used in making handicrafts and jewelry. Before copper, Gold and silver were the only metals that were being used to carve jewelry. The bronze jewelry exuded the kitschy gold effect while maintaining a reasonable price range. The Bronze Age brought along with it beautiful and exquisite pieces of jewelry that charmed its way through many centuries and eras.During the Bronze Age most women wore earrings, neck-pieces, and other ornaments made out of bronze. The jewelry highlighted the bronze era along with the growing love for this metal among women. What made bronze interesting was that it was an alloy made of copper and tin and, possessed the desirable characteristics of both these metals. One just fell in love with the bronze made artifacts and, the love possessed them completely.

Origin & History
When the Bronze Age was established, it definitely became a highly appreciated metal among people of that Age. It’s no wonder that during that era, bronze became a desirable metal for jewelry also. Most jewelry during that time was a work of craft that produced artisan jewelry designs.

The exact date or, period during which the Bronze Age came into existence cannot be determined, but most people claim that it was introduced during the Mesopotamian Era. It was simultaneously introduced to India around the same time. Bronze is definitely one of the oldest and classiest metals for jewelry available in India. If one goes by the historical evidence and artifacts, one can see that most of the beautiful and exquisite pieces of jewelry were made out of bronze. The sensuality of the copper color made bronze a beautiful, timeless and exquisite source of art and craft, which still prevails in India.

Style
Bronze Age produced a unique style among jewelry designers. The initial jewelry pieces were similar to the metal jewelry. This style was adopted during the Mesopotamian ages, but gradually bronze started coming across as one of the best metals for imitation jewelry. A lot of designers started working towards styling the metal to create exquisite jewelry. Some of the recent bronze jewelry collection matches the needs of the modern world. Of course, traditional designs are still very much in fashion but, the modern world desires a bit more style even in traditional jewelry.

These days one can find several forms of jewelry which is a combination of both silver and gold imbibed with bronze which look unique and stylish at the same time.

Influence over the Years
The Bronze Age was an era that defined the existence of bronze across several artifacts including pottery, sculptures etc and different cultures and traditions influenced the design of bronze over this era as well. Every single culture that bronze passed through including the Greek and Roman cultures had a definite influence on this metal and on the jewelry made out of it. What ultimately reached the Indian territories was an amalgamation of various concepts and designs combined.

Innovations
Bronze as a metal has gone through various innovations and these days one can find exquisite pieces of jewelry which showcase traditional and royal appeal, especially the kind that have an ethnic and Indian touch. The most common and popular forms of Bronze jewelry these days are big chunky bangles, over sized rings, heavy pendants that hang off thick bronze chains, and funky looking neck pieces as well. Bronze is a type of metal that complements all skin tones and looks fabulous on all kinds of people regardless of their attire. It is also the type of jewelry which looks ornate, stylish and classy, while at the same time understated.


Kathak is one the eight classical dance forms in India. The name itself is derived from the Sanskrit word – Katha (Story). The narrator of a story is called Katthaka in Sanskrit. Hence this dance form which narrates a story through the expressions and body movements came to be called Kathak.
The dance form of Kathak has three main schools which have their own unique style and instruments. The schools known as Gharanas are Lucknow Gharana, Banaras Gharana and Jaipur Gharana.

The first two Gharanas are the ones from Uttar Pradesh. The Lucknow Gharana has a lot of Mughal influence reflected in it. The Banaras Gharana showcases a lot of use of the dance floor, not only for movement of the feet but also a flop down movement which shows the danseuse hugging the floor.


Origin and History
As per the literary records at Kameshwar library at Mithila, Kathak had it’s origin in the 3rd or 4th century BC. Even mythological stories like the Mahabharata talk about Kathak.

It was during the Mughal era; in 16th century A.D. that Kathak received Royal patronage and was performed in the courts to entertain the Royals. During this period, Kathak received elements of fusion from other dance forms like the Persian dance form wherein the art of straight leg movements was introduced as also the spinning movement.

In the following years, Kathak received the royal patronage of the Nawab of Awadh – Wajid Ali Shah who was the main moving force behind the creation of the Lucknow Gharana in the 19th century. The Lucknow Gharana reached it’s pinnacle of perfection under the guidance of Thakur Prasad Maharaj who was the chief court dancer in the Nawab’s court. His legacy was carried forward by his sons- Bindadin Maharaj and Kalkadin Maharaj.

Around the same time the Banaras Gharana also evolved. This Gharana was developed by a gentleman by the name of Janakiprasad. During British rule in India, Kathak came to be referred to as an uncouth entertainment form stereo cast as something associated with the trade of immoral women. Here on, Kathak saw a sharp decline in its popularity.

Style
Notably, there are two styles of performing Kathak. The first one is Nritta which has a structure of pure dance in which the performances moves from slow to a faster pace and then reaching a crescendo at the climax. It often has two kinds of compositions. The shorter ones are called tukra and the longer pieces are known as toda.

The second style is called Nritya which focuses on expressions as the main mode. This style uses pieces of expressions to convey a story. This performance style is also known Bhaav Bataanaa. The modern day Kathak uses more of Nritya style.
Kathak Dancer

The Nritya style is more associated with the Lucknow Gharana while Nritta is associated more so with the Banaras Gharana.

In early years, the performers wore sarees due to the Hindu influence. With the advent of the Mughal influence, the attire changed to anarkali suits with pyjamas and lehenga with choli. A dupatta or an Odhni (veil) is tied across from the right shoulder to the left side towards the waist. A kamarbandh (Waist belt) made of either zari with precious stones or cloth with meenakari work is used. Ghungroos (anklets) are for the feet. The unique aspect of Ghungroos in Kathak is that unlike other classical dance forms, the bells are not fixed on to a patch of leather. Instead, they are woven through a thick string. The Ghungroos also possess 100 bells.

An option being explored nowadays is that of a small peaked cap which is worn during performances. Traditionally, fabric made from silk was used for the clothing for the body. However with passage of the time, cotton is increasingly being used.

Jewellery for the Kathak danseuse includes a bindi (teardrop or round shaped gold attached at the forehead), and jhumka (earrings).
Innovations

The Anarkali suit or the churidaar & kameez for the Kathak performer is designed such that it is fitted tight around the waist and the skirt portion below the waist has a flared style so that when the dancer executes a movement of going round and round while standing at the same spot, it gives a wonderful spinning effect.

Traditionally, bangles were not used. The sleeve of the jacket used to have an embroidered stitching which would give a virtual effect of bangles. However nowadays, the real bangles are being used.
Influences over the Years

The biggest influences for the Lucknow Gharana are the descendents of Thakur Prasad Maharaj. In today’s times, Pandit Birju Maharaj has carried forth that legacy. The Banaras Gharana has it’s own famous face in the form of Sitara Devi, daughter of Pandit Sukhdev Maharaj.

Interesting Facts and Comparisons

  •     Similarities have been pointed out between Kathak and the Spanish dance of Flamenco especially in the way feet movements are done.
  •     Kathak has been showcased in many Hindi movies including the iconic Pakeeza, Mughal-e-Azam, Shatranj Ke Khiladi and more.
  •     In contemporary times, Kathak Yoga as part of the kathak movement techniques have been introduced by Pandit Chitresh Das.

Kalira (also spelled as Kaleera or Kalire) is a silver or gold embellished, umbrella shaped ornament that is attached to the bride’s Chooda or bangle, which is a set of traditional white and red colored bangles worn on each arm. A Punjabi bride’s wedding attire is incomplete without the resplendent Kalira, or Kalirey. It is an important accessory for a Punjabi bride, and there is a separate ceremony that is allocated to the ornamentation of this particular accessory, which showcases the bride’s marital mirth and bliss felt by people around her.
Origin

According to certain archaeological evidence, Kalira first came into existence around the 20th century in Punjab. There is an interesting legend that surrounds this exquisitely designed accessory, which indicates that as per Punjabi tradition, a bride was given half-cut, dried coconuts that were tied to her bangles as a snack to keep her from getting hungry since she had to travel long distances before she reached the bridegroom’s house for the wedding ceremony.

There is no bar when it comes to different communities. The Kalira is worn by all Punjabi women on their wedding day, regardless of their social standing. The traditional kalira was made out of shells, flowers and strings of beads, which were tied around the chooda on each arm by the bride’s sisters, cousins, or sister in law. The Kalira is a symbol of good luck and prosperity bestowed on the bride by her family and friends before she enters marital bliss.


Style & Variety

The Kalira is not just an accessory, but is an important part of a ceremony that takes place in every Punjabi wedding. The kalira ritual takes place on the morning of the wedding day, and right after the haldi ceremony. Long umbrella shaped ornaments are tied to the bride’s wrists by married women in the family, which includes her mother, sisters, sister in laws, friends and even aunts.

Certain Kalira’s are made out of gold or silver plated leaves, and it is believed that the number of leaves present on a single kalira represent the number of friends the bride has. Once the Kalirey are tied to the bride’s wrists, a whole row of bridesmaids is created that includes the single sisters or friends of the bride. The bride- to -be is then supposed to shake the kalira’s on every girl’s head.

If the kalira falls on someone’s head, then that girl is supposedly the next one to get married, or so it is believed as per Punjabi tradition. This could be considered equivalent to the Christian tradition where the bride throws the bouquet after her marriage, and whoever catches it in the crowd is the next girl to be married, or is considered lucky enough to get married!

Punjabi’s and Punjabi weddings, in particular, are known for their vibrant costumes, jewelry, fashion senses, and mainly fun and frolic that they carry across their celebrations or wedding ceremonies. The Kalirey ceremony is one of the most fun going ceremonies organized by the women of the household, holding and having them participated in the rituals and customs full of entertainment and splendor.
Once the bride gets married, Groom & Bride go to the Gurudwara, or the temple to seek the priest’s blessings. During this time, the bride leaves one of the two kaliras in the gurdwara as a token of respect for the priest, and to obtain his blessings for a happy married life. The other Kalira is kept as a token of her marriage for the rest of her nuptial journey.

Trends
These days Kalirey come in all kinds of exclusive designs and trimmings. Punjabi brides love to match the style and colors of the Kalirey according to their wedding dresses and jewelry. Different colored stones, flowers, or beads are added to the kalira which go in sync with the bride’s lehenga or the shades present in her overall wedding attire. Some go for the simple looking kaliras, which are silver or gold leaves attached to strings made out of beads, while some like to go for the more ornate looking kaliras, which are large and umbrella shaped, and have lots of diamonds, and pearls embedded in the design.

Global Appeal
All the grandeur present in Punjabi weddings make them famous not only in India, but in other countries. Several customs and traditions inherent in Punjabi weddings have been adopted by other cultures as well. Kaliras are beautiful ornaments that have captured the hearts of many on a global scale, and continue to do so even today.



Rudraksh, since ancient times, has been referred to as a form of Lord Shiva that symbolizes Godliness, ultimate truth and eternity of life. Of the various beads of Rudraksh found in the recent times, the ekmukhi (single) Rudraksha is considered to be primary form of the Lord. The followers of Shiva have always owned at least one piece of Rudraksh jewelry. It could be in the form of a Mala (necklace) or, just a bead. But, with changing times, it has found its place in the modern pieces of jewelry as well as jewelry boxes.
Origin
It comes from a mish-mash of 2 words: Rudra which means Lord Shankar and, Aksha which means tears. The plant of Rudraksh originated from the tears of Lord Shankar that he shed when he saw the pain and suffering of his people. It counters and nullifies the negative effects caused by the various planets on any person. It can be worn by anyone and everyone and, it does not cause any negative effects like the navratnas. These are available in mukhis and shastras for easing out the negatives. The various faces and, shastras work in harmony and help alleviate the pain observed by humans.

Trendsetter
Although it has a religious and spiritual bit attached to it, it has been seen donned by every other fashion enthusiast. Followers of Lord Shiva proudly wear them in form of neck piece or wrist piece. Also, there are caskets that come with a single bead of Rudraksh or several beads of Rudraksh encasing the front opening, which in turn makes them look beautiful. It has heavily transmitted itself in modern jewelry and gifting boxes. It gives an otherwise simple casket a defining look. The boxes could be as small as ring boxes, big enough to fit a mala, a ring and, other defining things. The boxes, brown in color  carry an elegant and sophisticated look.

Occasion Dressing
One can gift a Rudraksh box anytime or for any occasion. It can be a gift for the wedding anniversary or weddings, functions, and auspicious occasions such as house warming parties. It could also be given as a gift when a child is born in the family , a promotion is given, or in general during some visit to a person’s house. Rudraksh boxes can also be given as a parting gift for all those who attend a wedding.


Global Influence
With beliefs attached to the bead, a lot of Rudraksha travel across the Indian borders. More of it, have reached the fashion ramps of big shot fashion shows, and has created a cult culture globally!
Suitability
It can be worn to suit your fashion tastes as it is harmless and has no planetary influence on us.

Chronicles of Future Untold

It was once not accepted by the masses. It was confined to the followers of Lord Shiva. With it transforming into boxes and jewelry, a lot of people have started wearing it as a regular piece of accessory.

Interesting Facts & Comparisons
  •     There are 14 types of Rudraksh with different powers of healing. Each one is strong in its own way.
  •     Mukhi is basically the deep lines that one would find on the surface of the Rudraksha from the top to bottom.
  •     Rudraksh is suitable for spiritual maintenance of mind and body.

Bamboo craft is indigenous to India, and is also amongst the oldest of crafts in the world. It is practiced in various states of India such as Kerala, Goa and the North Eastern states. They are very much into bamboo craft, and particularly, bags and bamboo baskets, which are quite popular throughout India and across the world.

Origin
In Goa, bamboo craft is practiced by the Mahars, a Goan community, who have passed on this skill for generations. In Arunachal Pradesh, bamboo is an integral part of their daily sustenance. The famous Adi Gallong basket is used to store and transport rice whereas the Angami Basket is another important bamboo craft, presented to the daughter in her marriage trousseau. Assam also has its own distinctive style of making bags and baskets out of bamboo. Besides this, they are also renowned for their innovative bamboo furniture industry as much as it is known for its basketry. Likewise, Sikkim too has a rich heritage of bamboo craft. The fine craftsmanship of these artisans shows from how they give bamboo an exquisite look by using simple tools but intricate manual methods. In fact, a lot of tribes make colorful baskets out of bamboo and adorn then with natural dues and embellishments like birds feathers. Each state has its own distinctive bamboo weaving style which gives an entirely different appearance to their bags and baskets.

Vintage Bamboo Clutch
Bamboo baskets are made by splitting bamboo longitudinally and then heating it on slow fire. These coils are then used in basketry and are built up in a spiral pattern to create the desired height. These baskets are then ornamented with shells and lace. The baskets are finally cleaned with the help of sandpaper and given a glossy look by polishing it with varnish.

Although these baskets and bags have a very specific use in the states from where they are originated, they are now considered to be a very popular modern-day bag accessory. Owing to its eco – friendly nature, bamboo bags and baskets are now increasingly becoming a favorite of people of all ages for a variety of purposes. Similarly, the bamboo bag/basket making craftsmen are too coming up with a variety of newer, trendier options for the youth and hence the demand for these bags, biodegradable in nature, is on the rise.

Present Day Scenario
Over the course of the past few years, the humble bamboo has evolved and come a long way as it a very commonly used favorite amongst both Indian and international designers. The versatile bamboo has now found a myriad forms and is now used in making clothes, jewelry, bags, furniture toys, beer and musical instruments. In fact, bamboo luxury brands have been in vogue for years- be it in the form of jewellery, or accessories produced by the premier brands. For instance, the bamboo crocodile satchel by Gucci is one of its kind and is priced at a whopping Rs. 12,65,000.
Bamboo Bags

Global Appeal
The international movement for adopting ‘green practices’ and ‘green products’ has created a surge in bamboo accessories, particularly in handbags and baskets. Not only do they provide great durability, but are also aesthetically pleasing because of their availability in various forms, sizes, embellishments and colors.

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