The walnut trees of Kashmir known as ‘Doon Kul’ have seen the love, giggles, mischief and various such emotions of generation after generations since this tree is cut only after it has reached an age of 300. It is the raw material for the woodcarving in Kashmir and the tree is special because of various reasons. Firstly, this wood is available only in Kashmir, secondly it is hard and durable, thirdly it has even texture facilitating fine and minute carving, and the list goes on. Usually the wood from the root is used for carving because of it being almost black and is very strong and thus most expensive. But these days, people have started using the trunk too because of shortage but it is lighter and thus not very efficient. After the wood is cut, they are numbered and piled and the gaps between the layers of plank allows air passage helping in seasoning process which goes on for 1 to 4years. After seasoning, the wood is sent to the carpenter to be used to make the desired objects. The entire process is carried out in the shade.
The dismantled pieces are brought for carving and the steps include inscribing the design on the wood with a pencil.Woodcarving has mainly five steps which are Undercut, Deep carving, Open or Lattice work, Semi carving and Shallow carving. The designs on the craft are usually inspired from the four seasons of Kashmir, flowers, dragon, jungle scene, etc. The wood from walnut tree when polished with wax leads to the surfacing of the inherent sheen in it. The ever booming market of this wood has brought enormous wealth to these people but they faced a setback due to certain caste differences.
Ranidongri- the basket makers in disguise Amongst the simple yet colourful life of Ranidogi, a small village in Madhya Pradesh one can easily spot the women weaving beautiful grass baskets in various sizes. These baskets of the region are popular in various other places in the vicinity of Madhya Pradesh. As the women are busy preparing these beautiful baskets, men of this village are known for the dancing and acting skills.
The heartwarming gesture that you will receive when your visit their home will just make you fall in love with the place. They will sing welcoming songs meanwhile you can relax in the mud clads, huge and beautiful courtyard that will make your visit worth it. The depths of their eyes and voices will be soothing. It’s one of the villages where the guests are treated like the gods. These acts of singing, dancing and basket weaving aren’t just for passion but also a source of livelihood for these folks.
looking to explore a historical and mythological chapter which is full of ancient Indian then Ranidongri may provide a worthwhile choice to you. A visit to this place is a must for those seeking some time off from the hectic city life.
It is always nice to go towards Basavanagudi and Gandhi Bazaar because it reminds one of old Bangalore. Kadlekai Parishe is a 2 day fair, a cultural practice observed for 400 years now; all the groundnut growers from the nearby districts and even some from Tamil Nadu attend this fair. Besides groundnut (in all forms – roasted, raw, salted, boiled, etc), you can also find a lot of other things like in a regular village fair. Here are some pics that I took today.
BTW, in Kannada, kadlekai = groundnut and parishe = fair
all the growers setup their shop on the road
not just on the bull temple road, but on the cross roads too
this was on the first day, in the morning; gets quite crowded as the day progresses