Monday, April 26, 2010

Colors of India

India virtually holds miscellaneous cultures and lifestyles belonging to its diverse people. Its landscapes extend from the eternal snows of the Himalayas to the humid deltas of the east; from the dry heat of central plateau to the cool southern forest foothills. Food habits, clothing and skills of Indian communities differ with regard to their places of origin. A trip around India will surely cause one to stumble upon a peculiar traditions, costumes or artifact that will always remain truly Indian. Here we mention but a few.

Luscious Indian Mango

Once the famous Indian poet Kalidasa sang its praises and the Greek conqueror Alexander the Great relished its taste. And today, people all over the world just love it. Here, we are talking about the delicious Indian mango.

Nearly 1000 varieties of mangoes are grown in India, which makes the country the world’s largest mango producer. Contributing more than 50 percent of the world’s total mango production, Indian mangoes are vastly harvested in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Whenever you a pay a visit to one of these states, mango will be a part of you culinary delight.

Melancholic Shehnai

It is said that no Indian marriage is complete without the sound of shehnai filling the air of the wedding hail. Of course, most Hindu marriages are conducted to the tune of melodic shehnai. Apart from being an instrument of celebration, the shehnai has overtones of melancholy in its sound. When the Indian nation is in deep crisis or sorrow, the shehnai shares the dispirited grief of the country.

Also known as ‘oboe of North India’, the shehnai is a double reed wind instrument with a widening tube towards lower end. Comprising of either eight nine holes, the upper seven are for playing and the lower ones are for tunning. The shehnai comes under the category of Sushir Vadya (aerophonic musical instrument). During ancient times the shehnai was one of the nine instruments associated with the ensembles of royal courts. Ustad Bismillah Khan was India’s foremost legendary shehnai player.

Timeless Bidriwares

If you missed Charminar on your last Hyderabad visit, you really missed something. But if you missed Bidriwares, you missed everything. Though the craft of Bidriwares originated during the reign of Bahamani rulers in Karnataka, it spread to various parts of the country and finally the finest pieces currently exist only in Hyderabad.

Bidriwares are indeed exquisite designs with shining silver artwork carved on a dull black background. Bidri craftsmen are not just skillful but extremely creative in bringing these eccentric designs into existence. The erstwhile Mughal Dynasty of India must be applauded for these artifacts.

Tsunamika Dolls

The name itself almost reveals their story of origin. Tsunamika dolls reflect the livelihood of fishermen dwelling in the Tsunamika areas of coastal Tamil Nadu. In the wake of December 26 Tsunami tragedy, the livelihood of many inhabitants of the region was completely destroyed. Even the possibility of long term recovery – apart from immediate needs of food and shelter – was a big question. Amid hue and cry, a misanthropic group that emerged to rescue those affected people was an international community called Auroville. In an attempt to teach life skills to fishewomen, Auroville initiated a doll making workshop. This gave birth to the remarkable Tsunamika doll.

Though ther are made of leftover cloths and threads, Tsunamika dolls are more than mere dolls. Right from their birth, Tsunamika dolls gained global recognition for their attributes of hope and regeneration. A more remarkable thing about Tsunamika dolls is that they are not for sale. People give and receive them as gifts. Upon hearing the story behind the dolls, many have been inspired to donate funds to support the Tsunamika Relief and Rehabilitation Project that spreads the word about the dolls around the globe. Donations received from all over the world enable poverty ridden people to earn from each doll they create. Today, the term Tsunamika is no longer stuck only on dolls; it can also apply to hair clips, bookmarks and rakhi.


  • Anonymous says:
    April 17, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    "It is said that no Indian marriage is complete without the sound of shehnai....."

    You should have said North Indian marriages are incomplete without the sound of shenai. South Indian instrument of choice is Nadhaswaram in temples, marriages, and on all auspicious occasions. Most people outside of South Indian cities would not have heard shenai.

Post a Comment