Bhavnagar

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bhavnagar

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weaving drapes

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The Bhavnagar installation was conceptualised to bring alive the diversity of the region. This was done by bringing together the women weavers and beadmakers of Bhavnagar city and the brass and copper karigars of Sihor to be aided by inputs from the royal family members. The result is a unique exhibit composed of two installations and assorted handicrafts.
the installation
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The first installation is surrounded by a combination of brass and copper utensils and pataras created by the karigars of Sihor. This particular craft has been native to the region for over over 300 years and continues to be a source of income for several families.

The installation is placed upon a silk textile piece as a tribute to a craft that has vanished from the region.

The bright wraparound skirt is known as chaniyo, worn by the women of the communities here. Colourful, fine embroidery with native motifs embellishes this chaniyo.

The blouse, also known as ‘choli’, is shown here to highlight the evolution of design and fashion. The embroidered piece is made from khadi, the hallmark of Gujarat.

Finally, a traditional bandhani cotton saree has been draped in the local Kathiyawadi style on our mannequin. This drape is still popular in the region, however, the time and devotion required for fine bandhani work is more rare.

In the second installation, merging a contemporary element,the sari blouse has an edgy twist, featuring a one shoulder sleeve. Bharat kaam embroidery work can be seen as sleeve border detailing. Leaf detailing embroidery on sheer organza has been pieced and draped on the kathiyawadi sari. Chains of red beaded metal form an overlay structure extending over the shoulder. The sari has been draped around the waist.

a tradition of sustainability
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This installation was put together by utilising resources that required minimal energy. Brass and copper work, which serves as the backdrop is done by hand, while wood used in pataras is usually the leftover/scraps from the furniture wood utilised by karigars. The embroidery of bharat kaam, seen in the chaniyo above, is all done by hand by our local women weavers while the blouse is made of khadi, a versatile material with rich historic legacy in Gujarat.

The (highlighted) colours red and green are symbolic to the region and are the sign of a married woman.

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Brijeshwari Kumari Gohil
know the craft
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Pataras (treasure chests) 1
Pataras

These are traditional treasure chests, made out of wood, covered in a range of metals depending on the social strata. Embossed with beautiful motifs, these boxes were originally built to store textiles, utensils and, of course, jewellery. They were usually considered an essential part of a bride’s trousseau.

Bharat Kaam


This rich embroidery (seen in the channiyo above) is still done by several women from the convenience of their homes. However, as mass production and commercialisation take over, hand woven embroidered skirts are being replaced by machine made ones.

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Bandhani

Made using a highly skilled process, this is a type of tie-dye textile that is decorated by plucking the cloth with one’s fingernails to make many tiny bindings that form a design.

Beadwork

The type of jewellery work is a famous craft of Bhavnagar. Mothers and mothers-in-law spent tedious hours to create timeless heirloom pieces. Today, it is also used to create new age accessories such as mobile phone covers and handbags.

know the craft
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Pataras


These are traditional treasure chests, made out of wood, covered in a range of metals depending on the social strata. Embossed with beautiful motifs, these boxes were originally built to store textiles, utensils and, of course, jewellery. They were usually considered an essential part of a bride’s trousseau.

Bharat Kaam


This rich embroidery (seen in the channiyo above) is still done by several women from the convenience of their homes. However, as mass production and commercialisation take over, hand woven embroidered skirts are being replaced by machine made ones.

Bandhani


Made using a highly skilled process, this is a type of tie-dye textile that is decorated by plucking the cloth with one’s fingernails to make many tiny bindings that form a design.

Beadwork

The type of jewellery work is a famous craft of Bhavnagar. Mothers and mothers-in-law spent tedious hours to create timeless heirloom pieces. Today, it is also used to create new age accessories such as mobile phone covers and handbags.

Brought to Life at

Nilambag Palace
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The Palace was commissioned by Maharaja Saheb Takhatsinhji of Bhavnagar in 1879. It was designed by a German architect, Simms and has served as the home of the erstwhile royal family of Bhavnagar for generations. An imposing Rajula stone structure, the Palace was constructed with influences of Colonial architecture. Nilambag is a unique amalgamation of regal grandeur and functional magnificence. The palace was converted into a heritage hotel in 1984

Brought to Life with

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  • Designer Adaa Mallikk brought the second installation to life.
  • Local artisans were engaged in the craftwork.
royal patronage today
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The Bhavnagar Heritage Preservation Society founded by Brijeshwari Kumari Gohil, who belongs to the royal family, works towards the preservation, protection and promotion of Bhavnagar’s heritage. The older family trust where she gained her experience, maintains heritage hotels, historical temples and schools.

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The house of Kathiwada

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The Kathiwada family believes in propagating the use of handcrafted textiles and historical techniques by making it relevant to the current generation. Their installation does this perfectly by using celebrated traditional methods and crafts in contemporary fashion designs.
the installation
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A kasota weave piece, casually tied around the waist, is a contemporary reimagining of what is traditionally used as loin cloth by the men of tribal communities in Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.

The exquisitely crafted bead jewellery pieces here are outstanding examples of the talent of the tribal women who work on the Kathiwada farms. The detailed work and finish of their products lends it sophistication.

The bamboo jacket is the unique outcome of a challenge to local artisans by Sangita Kathiwada of the royal family, asking them to push the boundaries of their creativity while working with bamboo.

A hand-block print garment piece, also known as bagh print, adorns the waist at the right side of the installation

a tradition of sustainability
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  • Only natural dyes were used to make the yarn for the kasota garment.
  • The bead work pieces were made indigenously using materials from the tribal women’s surroundings.
  • Bamboo was sourced from local forests.
  • Hand-block fabrics use natural vegetable dyes.
know the craft
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Kasota

A languishing craft once practiced widely by the Vankar weavers and tribals, this tribal cloth is made on a pit loom, which lends unique breathability to the fabric and controls the moisture in the yarn.

Bead Craft

These are traditionally made by the members of the Bhil and Bhilalas tribal communities who also practice pottery, bamboo crafts, and Pithora paintings in and around the villages of Kathiwada, Madhya Pradesh.

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Bamboo

Found in the local forests of Kathiwada, bamboo has been used for a wide variety of traditional uses.

Hand-block fabrics

Also popularly called Bagh prints, this traditional technique is practiced at Bagh, an hours drive from Kathiwada. The craft is sustained by the Khatri community that moved there more than five decades ago. The design involves the use of repeated geometric and floral compositions.

know the craft
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Kasota

A languishing craft once practiced widely by the Vankar weavers and tribals, this tribal cloth is made on a pit loom, which lends unique breathability to the fabric and controls the moisture in the yarn.

Bead Craft

These are traditionally made by the members of the Bhil and Bhilalas tribal communities who also practice pottery, bamboo crafts, and Pithora paintings in and around the villages of Kathiwada, Madhya Pradesh.

Bamboo

Found in the local forests of Kathiwada, bamboo has been used for a wide variety of traditional uses.

Hand-block fabrics

Also popularly called Bagh prints, this traditional technique is practiced at Bagh, an hours drive from Kathiwada. The craft is sustained by the Khatri community that moved there more than five decades ago. The design involves the use of repeated geometric and floral compositions.

Kasota

Bead craft and a bamboo

Brought to Life at

Kathiwada Raaj Mahal
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The Kathiwada Royal Family dates back nearly 700 years to 1434. The Kathiwada Raaj Mahal is the centrepiece of the Kathiwada Estates and was formerly a royal hunting lodge commissioned by Rana Onkar Sinhji in 1895.

The 19th century fully renovated plush mansion sits on 110 acres of privately owned farm land. It was carefully restored by Sangita Devi Kathiwada using authentic and organic design elements and materials. Today, the family home has been transformed into a boutique homestay experience

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Sangita Kathiwada put together this installation by working with local artisan communities including the enterprising tribal women from the region.

royal patronage today
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Sangita Kathiwada has helped propagate the cause of local textiles, crafts and techniques. As an advocate for sustainability in design, she has used and promoted these traditions for close to three decades. She has worked with various craft communities and award-winning artists across India. By use of these textiles in a contemporary context, she enables them to sustain their craft.

To help artisans incorporate latest design trends in ancient Indian handicrafts, she set up the The Morarka Cultural Centre at the National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA). She is the visionary behind brand Mélange where she dedicated herself to the cause of redefining the role and reach of khadi and other Indian textiles.

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bridging worlds

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This installation showcases the flexibility and universality of the Maheshwari handloom textile by bridging its traditional and contemporary applications. The installation finds its inspiration in the iconic Boutet de Monvel portraits of HH Maharaja Yeshwantrao II and HH Maharani Sanyogitaraje Holkar. The portraits presented the couple in both traditional Indian and European looks. However, the attempt here is to bridge the historic binary of East and West.
the installation
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Notice the resplendent yellow Maheshwari saree on Maharani Sanyogitaraje. It is set against a simple, clean backdrop of ornamental and flowering plants. This saree was recreated two years ago by REHWA Society, a not-for-profit foundation working with weavers in Madhya Pradesh. It was named in honor of the Maharani as the ‘Sanyogita’ saree. The fine fabric used in this installation is made with the age old Maheshwari composition, Garbh Reshmi. With an intricate 2x2 check, the fabric in this design contains a twist, using silk and wool instead of silk and cotton which is the tradition. The sari is paired with a 'Nazneen' Varanasi silk brocade blouse by Sanjay Garg that features all-over 'jaal' of floral motifs.

Meanwhile, Maharaja Yeshwantrao’s portrait in European attire has him wearing a sharply cut white tie tuxedo with an elegantly structured cape.

The second part of the installation is a recreation of Maharaja Yeshwantrao’s cape, designed in collaboration with designer Sanjay Garg, using a lining of 4 pedal textile woven by WomenWeave in Maheshwar. The installation demonstrates the versatility of Maheshwari weaving in more contemporary applications.

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The exhibits here used natural, undyed yarns with the textile woven on a traditional handloom giving it a beautiful drape and softness.

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know the craft
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The Maheshwari Textile

The Maheshwari handloom textile was established and patronized by one of India’s most iconic women leaders, Devi Ahilyabai Holkar, in the mid 18th Century.

In order to create livelihoods and skills in her new capital of Maheshwar, Devi Ahilyabai Holkar invited weaver communities to come teach her people the craft of weaving. The community of weavers that settled there due to her efforts were originally known to be from Mandu - weaving for the Mughals, what was then known to be the finest fabric of Madhya Pradesh. It is said that under her artistic guidance, the craftspeople made light fabrics, detailed with motifs derived from carvings on the Maheshwar Fort - a design directory in stone that they regularly used for inspiration.

Maheshwari sarees were traditionally made in colours like peacock blue, bright yellow, forest green and an Indian red dye called Aal. The pallus were designed with stripes of red, white and gold zari. Borders like Leheriya (wave), Narmada (the sacred river), Rui Phul (cotton flower), Eent (brick), Chatai (matting), Heera (diamond) - were all drawn from the Ahilya Fort and the adjoining river and woven seamlessly into the fabric.

Originally, the classic Maheshwari saris were only woven in pure cotton, 9 yards long, and with pallus at both ends - so when they frayed, the saree could be reversed and worn some more. That was the uniqueness of a Maheshwari sari - its elegant versatility and durability.

Brought to Life at

Maheshwar fort
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Located beside the sacred Narmada river, this imposing structure was turned into a Heritage hotel in 2000 by Prince Richard Holkar, a descendant of the iconic Maharani Ahilyabai Holkar and son of the last Maharaja of Indore. The Maharani ruled here from 1765 to 1796 and built Ahilya Wada, her personal residences, offices, and darbaar audience hall within the fort. Today, the hotel has 19 rooms set in six buildings of the 18th century, with various modern amenities.

Brought to Life with

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  • Cape and blouse designed by Sanjay Garg of Raw Mango and woven by WomenWeave
  • REHWA Society
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The Holkar family has patronized Maheshwar’s weavers for over 250 years. In the modern era, they have done this through the not-for-profit organizations REHWA Society (www.REHWASociety.org) and WomenWeave (www.WomenWeave.org). A key intervention in keeping the Maheshwari weaving tradition alive has been to push the boundaries of design and application, while still keeping the textile rooted in its history and heritage.

about the designer
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Sanjay, of Raw Mango, grew up in Mubarikpur, Rajasthan. His appreciation for aesthetics began with an understanding of rural Indian sensibilities. His unique textile language was realized through his work in Chanderi, enabled by the Textile Ministry and weavers of Madhya Pradesh.

Committed to experimentation, he constantly engages with established rubric to imagine new possibilities. His innovations are grounded in tradition and suffused with opinions rooted in India's dynamic cultural and political landscape. An alumnus of the Indian Institute of Craft & Design, and the National Institute of Fashion Technology, Garg is a vocal textile advocate whose designs have been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art (New York) and at the Victoria & Albert Museum (London).

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a decentralized narrative

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This installation seeks to promote the idea of decentralisation and self-reliance through Mysore silk and khadi and thereby pay tribute to the Mysore State - a state of innovators and creativity.
the installation
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Here the gorgeous Mysore Silk Saree is paired with a utilitarian yet classy khadi jacket. The idea is to portray a powerful image - the simplest and purest of fabrics used as tools to revive the glory of the Indian textile industry.

By styling the traditional saree with a more modern jacket/blazer, the installation highlights empowerment, modernity and the liberal minds of the erstwhile kingdom of Mysore - sartorially. It uniquely promotes the idea of power dressing in an Indian context.

Finally, the installation is placed on a Navalgund Durrie. Native to Dharwad, Karnataka, we choose this to highlight a craft that is currently practiced by a community of just 50 women weavers.

a tradition of sustainability
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  • The saree is made from the local Mysore silk yarn - mulberry silk - which is a natural fibre.
  • The silk production method is a low waste process.
  • Lesser chemical processes are involved than in synthetics and local cotton production.
  • Khadi is handspun, hand-woven and has a low carbon footprint.
  • The fabric was purchased directly from the local Khadi weaving community.

The entire process of silk manufacturing, the entire supply chain is incorporated indigenously...it is entirely done in India and highlighting this fact is an honour for us given that it is our family heirloom.

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Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar
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Mysore Silk Saris

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Mysore Silk Saris

Mysore Silk Sarees are manufactured in Karnataka (Mysore region), which is the leading producer of mulberry silk in the country. The Mysore silk yarn and sarees stand out from others for its exceptional quality (being produced from the highest quality of silk and pure zari), lightweight fabric and minimal yet bold design. The sarees come in vibrant colours with subtle work.

Khadi

A handspun, hand-woven natural fabric made with cotton, silk or wool. The fabric has a coarse, rugged texture that is suitable to both warm and cold climates.

Navalgund Durries

Also known as ‘jumkhaana’ in Kannada, are woven dhurries with geometric, birds or animal designs from the Dharwad district of Karnataka and have been registered with a GI tag. These rugs, which date back to the Vijaynagar empire, are woven exclusively by women.

Brought to Life at

mysore palace
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Built in 1912 in the Indo-Saracenic style and designed by English architect Henry Irwin, the palace has been the central guiding force and symbol of the erstwhile Kingdom of Mysore, now Karnataka, for over 600 years. Over the course of history, the administration, overarching policies, and running of the State was undertaken by the Wadiyars of Mysore, alongside representing our tradition, culture, and heritage.

Brought to Life with

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HH Yaduveer Wadiyar and his sister, Jayathmika Lakshmi, conceptualised this installation and worked with

  • A local khadi weaving unit for the jacket.
  • A local community of 50 women weavers for the durrie (only known practitioners of this craft).
royal patronage today
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The royal family has had a big role to play in the promotion of traditional Mysore Silk. More recently, the titular head of the family, Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar, founded the Bherunda Innovation and Entrepreneurship Foundation (BIEF). They work with the Janapada Seva Trust (http://www.janapada.org/), a khadi weaving unit and community in the town of Melkote, to rejuvenate and promote indigenous cotton.

His sister, Jayathmika Lakshmi, has a keen interest in textiles and sustainability and is presently working to launch an online portal to promote the Mysore style of sarees including silks.

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