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Nagpur and Thanjavur

November 2015 – yet another month I spent travelling to new places in hope of finding the unknown, exploring new cities, towns and villages, their culture, the prominent art/craft forms of these places, meeting various artists and craftsmen and generally meeting new people (another benefit of traveling which I thoroughly enjoy. I have met some of the most helpful people while being in new cities. This time I would have almost missed my flight, had I not got the lift back to the hotel on time ~ Thanks to Mr Praveen and God bless his mom for offering me tea at the time when I was almost dizzy because of hunger . It is just amazing how people come to help completely unknown people).

The journey started at Nagpur. Got a chance to visit a weaver’s house which has been converted into a small handloom mill where around 8 weavers work together to make beautiful Maharashtrian Sarees; specifically ~ Nagpur Silk Sarees. I was told that each silk sari takes anywhere between 40-50 hours. Nagpur was one of the hubs of handloom in Maharashtra, however, with decline in demand of these products the number of weavers has come down drastically.

To know more about the numbers and various weaves I decided to visit the Weaver Service Centre in Nagpur. There I met some of the officers and I was genuinely happy to see their effort. The government run center helps weavers in terms of new designs and affordable yarn. The centre also trains the younger generation and students from various designs schools to keep the craft of weaving alive. Hopefully we will work with these weavers in coming months and bring a flavor of Maharashtra in our collection soon! 

Later in the month was Tamil Nadu (right before the flood struck the place). Got a chance to explore the Temple Town called Kumbakonam, a town where almost every lane has a temple and is also known for Mahamaham (the Kumbha Mela of South India) festival attracting a huge crowd not only from India but abroad too.

Visited Thanjavur or more commonly known as Tanjore, home to splendid Tanjore paintings and beautiful Tanjore dolls. Thanjavur is one of the most ancient cities of India, It was one of the main centres at the time of Cholas, owing to which it has some of the most magnificent temples in India. I was mesmerized by the sheer size and architecture of these Temples. One has to visit these temples to understand the grandeur, intelligence and creativity of that time.

I was lucky to meet some of the people associated with various art forms and instantly fell in love with the beautiful work they do.

Fortunately happened to meet an artist who makes Veena, a plucked stringed instrument mainly used in Hindu Classical and Carnatic music. Saw the process of getting the right wood, to shaping it, putting various parts together, waxing and panting it. I am told that only the wood from jackfruit tree is suitable to make these traditional instruments.

My love for music has taken me to various classical music concerts (I don’t understand the technicalities but I love listening to various traditional instruments including Sitar, Table, Veena, Sarangi) so watching an instrument being made was truly an experience to cherish! The artist was kind enough to even play the Veena ~ could not have asked for more! 

Like always this journey also ended with beautiful memories, lots of new ideas, new acquaintances (who become friends with time:) ) and a list of “To do”!! :)

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