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  • Famous Forts of India

    India is a land of rich cultural history and architecture. To experience it one must see the majestic palaces and forts built by royal kingdoms of India. Forts were built to guard off enemies in the past. Whole of India is dotted with breathtaking forts of different sizes and types. Everything in a fort, from window to porch to bastion to courtyard and even the outer wall recounts some historic tale. Constructed with an extreme sense of finesse and ability, one cannot stop falling in love with these outstanding pieces of architecture that India feel so proud of. Here is a list of few popular and marvelous forts of India:

    1. Mehragarh Fort, Jodhpur

    An elevated platform and thick boundaries make the Mehragarh Fort of Jodhpur as one of the largest forts in India. The magnificent fort has 7 huge gates, one of which still has a distinct cannonball imprint that signifies the wars of the past. Inside, lies a big museum which documents the rich history of the rulers of that time which is exhibited mainly in the form of paintings, dresses, ammunition etc.

    Image Credit - wikipedia Image Credit - wikipedia

    1. Red Fort ,Delhi

    Red Fort (or Lal Quila) is an apex of Mughal art and the most popular monument in the capital city of India. It is situated on the banks of river Yamuna and was built by Shahjahan.  Carved with only red sandstones, red fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is one of the most well preserved and massive forts of India. The fort reflects Islamic sense of architecture with splendid Persian motifs and carvings.

    Image Credit - wikimedia Image Credit - wikimedia

    1. Gwalior Fort, Madhya Pradesh

    Gwalior fort is known to be ruled by 110 rulers of different dynasties. Gwalior fort is believed to have witnessed some great historical events where Tantya Tope fought with the British army and Rani Lakshmi Bai took her last breath. The dramatic Jain sculptures, ceramic tiles, attractive motifs and intricate lattice work make the Gwalior fort a very unique monument of India.

    Image Credit - wikimedia Image Credit - wikimedia

    1. Amer Fort

    Amer Fort is located in Amer which falls between Delhi and Rajasthan and is therefore known as Gateway to Rajasthan. This huge fort is built on top of Cheel ka Teela (Eagle’s hill) amongst Aravali hill range and is never known to be conquered by any ruler. The major attractions of Amer Fort are Sheesh Mahal, Diwan-e-Aam, the Summer Residence and Sila Mata Temple. The intricately carved and beautifully painted palaces inside the fort, gardens, rooms and terraces reflect the rich culture of India and artisan’s hard work. Built by Raja Man Singh, Amer fort represents a distinct blend of Hindu and Muslim architecture.

    Image Credit - wikimedia Image Credit - wikimedia

    1. Golconda Fort, Hyderabad

    Golconda was basically a mine from which precious gemstones of the world were believed to be mined. The fort reflects the richest histories and traditions of India. The unique domes, entrances, pillars of fort are surrounded by 10 kilometer long boundary wall. The fort renders an acoustic affect where a clap at the entrance of The Fateh Darwaza can be heard a kilometer away at Bala Hisar pavilion.

    Image Credit - wikimedia Image Credit - wikimedia

    1. Red fort, Agra

    The huge Agra fort was built by Mughal emperor Akbar in 15th century. Agra Fort is spread over an area of about 94 acres and has believed to witness a number of Indian wars and battles. Diwan e khas, diwan e aam, khas mahal, shish mahal, and an octagonal burj are some of the most aesthetically designed complexes inside Red fort. It is believed that Shahjahan died in the marvelous balcony of the octagonal burj only, when he was held captive by his son Aurangzeb.

    Image Credit - wikimedia Image Credit - wikimedia

    1. Chittoragarh fort, Rajasthan

    Chittoragarh fort of Rajasthan is a World Heritage Site and is located 175 kilometers east of Udaipur. The fort has two uniquely designed pillars, the Kirti Stambh and the Vijay Stambh, reflecting the ultimate art and finesse of the artisan. With about twenty pools, nineteen temples and four palaces, Chittoragarh fort leaves you spell bound by its unique architectural beauty.

    Image Credit - wikimedia Image Credit - wikimedia
  • Huge Bronze statues on display exclusively at Poompuhar outlet

    Bronze statues are known for their strength and ductility (lack of brittleness). Made up of copper and tin they are used in making statues, reliefs and figurines. Bronze items are always appealing and captivating to the eyes of the beholder. Tamil Nadu Handicrafts Development Corporation limited is displaying three huge new bronze statues welcoming guests and customers, at its Poompuhar outlet in Chennai. Speaking of the history and tradition of India, the exquisitely tall bronze statues from Poompuhar will make you ponder over the history of India and render you speechless. The tallest one representing Lord Ganesha, is from Swamimalai and measures seven feet in length and weigh more than a ton. The incredibly tall bronze statues are usually uncommon to be seen for sale in the city. The other two statues at the outlet represent Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Saraswathi and are 5.5 feet tall. Earlier the statues never used to be so tall. This is the first time Poompuhar artisans have shown their exemplary sense of art and perseverance in constructing these new and magnificent bronze statues.

    Brass Nataraja Antique finish Shop for this Brass Nataraj Polish - Click Here

    Swamimalai is a small town near Kumbakonam in Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu and lies on the banks of river Cauvery approximately 250 km from Chennai. The region specializes in constructing bronze statues and idols of various Gods and Goddesses. Because of the extraordinary sense of artisanship and finesse not only in Indi a, bronze statues from here are in great demand overseas also.

    Our craftsmen at Poompuhar excel in manufacturing all types of bronze statues according to Shilpa Shastra for temples. The only aim of our artisan is to put the essence of Indian Art and culture in their handicrafts and bring them forward to the forefront of the world. In a zest to achieve the goal, they have worked hard for around 3 months to make these huge bronze statues today. Each of the statue cost around Rs 70 lakh.

    The exceptionally beautiful and tall bronze statues are usually available at Poompuhar outlet in Chennai and sometimes brought from Swamimalai to Chennai, as per the demand of customers. The main customers for these statues are from temple and corporate world. Apart from the huge bronze statues Poompuhar also takes pride in its elegant collection of a number of other bronze items online. If you are looking to gift something memorable to your loved one, pay a visit to our Poompuhar outlet or log on to the website for more beautiful and cost effective bronze products.

  • Poompuhar enters its 44th year since Inception

    Poompuhar has entered its 44th year since inception under the leadership Dr Santosh Babu IAS, a man whose firm belief in the marriage of technology and tradition has taken the organization to new heights. To mark the occasion, Dr Santosh Babu has envisioned a target of Rs 45 crore - a step ahead of the Rs 30.87 crore it netted in 2013-14.

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    Poompuhar began as a traditional brick and mortar shop that sold handcrafted products such as idols, wall hangings, Thanjavur paintings, pots, lamps, etc produced by Indian artisans through its retail stores and exhibitions conducted in various parts of the country. However, this changed in the last few years when it launched its online shopping portal in addition to the conventional mediums of selling, which gave consumers the comfort of shopping authentic Indian handicrafts from their homes. Naturally, the portal received a good response as people got to know about it through the organisation’s social media pages. Products were also made available through popular e-commerce websites such as Snapdeal, Flipkart, Shopclues, Crafts villa and India Mart. A couple of years ago, the company installed a 3D printing facility for miniature idols to bring in new design ideas and provide better access to its artisans.

    Shop for this Thiruvallur Sripam 3D Printed - Click Here Shop for this Thiruvallur Sripam 3D Printed - Click Here

    The CMD of Poompuhar, Dr Santosh Babu is a firm believer in the power of technology and the importance of good governance, which was evident when in January this year, Poompuhar was felicitated with National e-Governance Silver Award for the year 2016-17 for the way it transformed the department using Information Technology.

  • Wearing the Canvas-Rogan Art

    Self adornment, decoration and innovation have been an integral part of humanity since the beginning of civilization. Kutch district of Gujarat has always been known for its distinctive use of threads, beads, colors and variety of printing styles to adorn fabrics and ornaments, but a very unique art of decorating wearable fabrics like painted canvases has never gained popularity. This inarguable and poignant art form is known as Rogan art. Rogan is a 300 year’s old printing art, prevalent in Nirona village of Kutch. The rare and ancient Rogan art has come from Iran. In Persia “Rogan” means “oil based”. It is now practiced by only two families in Nirona who have persevered for centuries to keep Rogan art alive.

    Image Credit - wikimedia Image Credit - wikimedia

    Rogan is an intricate art of painting on the fabric or a canvas. It is a time consuming procedure where the castor oil is first boiled for over three days. It is then left for cooling, after which vibrant colors like red, green, yellow, orange, black and white are mixed to the castor oil in appropriate amount. These pastes are kept in water to prevent drying. Craftsmen then place a small amount of this paint paste onto their palm which is then carefully twisted and painted into beautiful motifs using a metal rod. A very unique feature of this art is that the metal rod used for painting never comes in contact with the fabric. The artisan then folds this design into a blank fabric to print a mirror image of the pattern. It is a very basic form of printing where geometric flowers and peacock are used as designs. Other designs that are common are tree of life and Moghul paisley. Rogan art is used to decorate cushion covers, bedsheets, kurtas, curtains, table cloths, wall hangings, purses, dress material and saris. Rogan art has recently been into news, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi gifted this timeless piece of art to former US President Barack Obama on his visit to India.

     If you are planning a trip to Gujarat, make sure to visit Nirona which is hardly 35 kilometers from Bhuj. The family sustaining this art form has also received many national awards and international acclaim. If you look closely over the intricacy of Rogan art, it will leave you speechless. The exquisite patterns of Rogan art reflect passion, determination and hard work of the artisan.

  • Making the Chandi ka Warq (silver leaf) by Beating Silver

    It is believed that the use of gold and silver in Indian delicacies dates back to ancient times. Indian confectionery stores nowadays, are full of sweets garnished generously with thin sheets of some shiny coating. This shiny coating is nothing but “chandi ka warq” or “silver foil or “silver leaf” to render them look more elegant and auspicious. They are also sometimes used to cover idols in temples in our country. The word warq is Arabic in origin and its meaning is leaf. In Sanskrit and Ayurvedic medical literature, varaka or warq word is used to address a cloth, cloak or a thing that covers something. Scientifically, silver acts as a potent anti-bacterial and anti fungal agent and coating food products with silver increases their freshness and shelf life.

    Image Credit - picsart Image Credit - picsart

    Luck now, the capital city of Uttar Pradesh is known for making chandi ka warq. Because of the demand in Mughlai cuisine, Luck now has emerged as a major warq producing center in the country. Apart from covering sweets and desserts, silver leaves are used to cover food items like kebabs, phirni, betels, chavanprash, sewain, cardamoms, spices and dry fruits.

    Image Credit - siasat Image Credit - siasat

    The process of making these intricate silver leaves or chandi ka warq is little difficult and require great skill. Warq is made by constant beating or hammering silver into sheets, which typically are 0.2-0.8 µm thick, laid inside a leather pouch placed over granite stone They are then backed with paper for support which is peeled away before use. Approximately 165 layers of silver strips are placed between layers of leather (usually ox gut) and hammered for more than six to eight hours to produce silver leaves. Silver leaf or chandi ka warq is very fragile and breaks into smaller pieces (due to close inter atomic distance of silver metal), if not handled properly. The craft of making chandi ka warq involves a lot of precision and perfect coordination between hand and eyes during hammering. The art seems to have been passed down the generations. The people involved in this art are known as karigars, who never seem to lose the zest and passion in making these delicate silver leaves, albeit the soaring price of silver. This determination renders the art of making silver leaf so treasured and very much in demand everywhere.

  • History of the fabric that shaped India's freedom struggle – Khadi

    “For every minute I spin, there is in me the consciousness that I am adding to the nation’s wealth.” – Mahatma Gandhi.

    What is khadi? How is it important to us as Indians? These are just a few questions which we will be answering in this blogpost. Let us first start with the basic question. What is Khadi? Well, Khaadi is one of the most ancient fabrics in the world. Khadi or khaddar, as it is also known, is a hand spun and hand woven cloth which is mainly made from cotton on a spinning wheel known as a charkha.

    However, if we were to delve deeper, we will realize that it’s not just a fabric, it is an entire movement which laid the foundation for the freedom struggle as we know it today. The Khadi movement was started by The Father Of The Nation himself as a means to an end. The movement itself aimed at boycotting all the foreign goods and encouraging the use of Indian products. Spinning of the charkha to produce khadi had a huge significance because it promoted self-employment and the reliability and dependency on one’s own self was improved. Indians boycotted the use of industry made clothes from Britain and instead chose to wear Indian made khadi clothes, which in turn made khadi an integral piece of the Swadesi movement.

    Image Credit - Pixabay Image Credit - Pixabay

    Whenever you wear khadi, you are helping other Indians and fulfilling your social responsibility of helping all the people who are directly or indirectly involved in the manufacture of the khadi fabric. Khadi is also an eco-friendly fabric which decomposes in the earth in around six months unlike the other synthetic fabrics. Another benefit of wearing khadi over synthetic clothing is that you are exposing your skin to just organic stuff and there are no health hazards involved. Khadi helps your skin to breathe. When you wear khadi, you are also respecting the spirit of patriotism attached to this fabric.

    We however usually feel that khadi, nowadays, is more expensive than the regular fabric. This is a flawed argument because it is not the right perspective to look through. Comparing an exclusive, hand crafted product to the mass produced machine made products should be a crime upon itself.

    A nation will not prosper if its handicrafts and industries are not developed. Importing everything from outside and not focusing on helping the local products and industries grow will only create a dependent and lazy nation.

    Go on, flaunt you style with Khadi! Make the statement.

  • Thanjavur Art Plate History

    Known for its culture, art, heritage and architecture, the scintillating town of Thanjavur in the state of Tamil Nadu, excel in world’s famous monuments and temples. The centre of attraction of these temples and monuments are Thanjavur Art Plates, jewel boxes and brass bowls. These beautifully carved art plates are further decorated with silver and semi precious stones. They are designed as per the Hindu mythology that is very well reflected in its minute carving .It is the most finest and difficult form of metal craft that involves embossing and engraving small figures on the plate representing Thanjavur royal splendor. The base plate is made up of brass, onto which copper designs are crafted which is then dyed with many lovely colors.

    Shop For This Thanjavur Art Plates - Click Here Shop For This Thanjavur Art Plates - Click Here

    The history of Thanjavur art plate can be traced to 18th century. It was first introduced by Rajah Serfoji-II when the Marathas were ruling in Thanjavur.  Rajah Serfoji suggested his artisans to show their talent and make an outstanding piece of metal craft that should be a masterpiece in itself. It was then when the craftsmen first made a Thanjavur art plate to gift it to their favorite king. It was designed using copper, brass and silver. A community called as Vishwakarmas crafted these plates. This community consists of few goldsmiths from Thanjavur. Making Thanjavur art plates became a source of living for the Vishwakarmas. The art of making Thanjavur art plate is inherited where only men are involved. It is now declared as a cottage industry as these fine plates are designed in the houses of craftsmen of Thanjavur. In 2011, at Government museum in Thanjavur, a 20th century Thanjavur art plate was exhibited. The plate consisted of brass, copper and silver in an exceptionally artistic manner. The plate depicted images of Nataraja, sage Pathanjali and Goddess Sivakami standing at the centre of a lotus flower.

     Shop for this Thanjavur Painting Jewel Box - Click Here Shop for this Thanjavur Painting Jewel Box - Click Here

    The blend of silver and copper on Thanjavur art plates impart them an unusual striking beauty that last for years. The final finishing depends on the artisan’s skill and ability. Experienced artists make extremely durable plate that retain its shine and glow for a very long time. A typical Thanjavur art plate has design of deities, flowers, birds and geometric patterns that are usually seen encrusted on brass round plate, cup, pot or tray. The expert team of artisan at the Art Plate Production Center of Poompuhar at Thanjavur works rigorously in manufacturing this intricate piece of handicraft. Browse our website to have a glimpse over an array of such splendid Thanjavur art plates of various designs and shapes.

  • Will Make in India be the Knight in Shining Armour for Artisans in India?

    India has always been known for its culture, art and craft. For such a culturally rich country, it is a shame that most of the beautiful crafts are being lost. This is mainly due to the fact that companies from other parts of the world are making many such products through machinery and it is cheaper than the Indian made crafts. However, to counter this, the Indian Government has launched the ‘Make in India’ programme, which is an ambitious nation building initiative to promote more multinational companies to invest their resources to supplement manufacturing in India itself. Many small and large scale art setups will also benefit from the support of this programme.

    Image Credit - wikimedia Image Credit - wikimedia

    In India, there are over 2500+ crafts and around a million able craftsmen who can use this movement. India being culturally rich has arts and crafts which have been honed for centuries through tradition and these improvisations can easily be used to create many ‘Make in India’ opportunities for not only the urban youth of the country, but even the rural poor people.

    Over the past few years, there has been a regenerated interest in the hand-made and natural things throughout the world. And now with the Make in India initiative and resources available to us, we need to work on re-energizing our efforts, our culture and heritage –something that has been passed on to us from generations and forms a part of us.

    Just like in the Indian IT sector, we need to use modern management techniques and global work culture for creating an environment of Swachh Bharat in the villages and other places like factories and offices of all these arts and crafts which will in turn lead to more turnout of the youths who will want to work in these offices and such work friendly environments instead of going to work as watchmen or other small posts in the big cities.

    We can also use HR experts of various big universities and request them to work with the lower level gram panchayats to develop a modern structure for the community at large. This, we believe, will lead the youth to get more appreciation for their hard work and they will come up with new ideas and start taking pride in their work.

    All these efforts however will fail and come to nothing if we are unable to sell the goods created and generate a steady revenue for these newly formed companies. Hence, investment is required to create world class retail strategies and structures. The government needs to help bridge the gap between the requirements of human resources, financial resources, infrastructure and marketing to really make it work. Make in India can work, we just need to go about it the proper way.

  • Crafts of India, all at one Place

    Indian handicraft and art has been part of daily life since times immemorial. From the times when royalty used to invite artisans to their palaces and shower them with riches to now – when you can instantly make these Indian crafts a part of your daily life at the click of a button. At Poompuhar, we bring to you the best of what Indian art and crafts have to offer. Come be part of this beautiful journey!

    Indian art forms are not merely paint on canvas or some beads stitched together, all of these are stories. The stories that artisans tell about their life, their culture, traditions and legacy. All the things available on Poompuhar from sandalwood to thanjavur paintings carry along them myth, legends, folk tales and traditions of the era gone by. Stories of victory, defeat, celebration which are passed down from generation to generation. These things are not available in text books, they are undocumented but still very prevalent. Passed down in families, these are India’s history, culture and heritage.

    Thanjavur Painting

    Hidden in every corner of our country is an art form, diverse from anything you may encounter globally. These are folklore of craftsmen crafting magic with their hand to adorn your lives with the tales of their land.

    Poompuhar is an endeavor to connect artists, craftsmen and their work with the global audience. Everything from silk forms, to prints, to sandalwood, to channapatna toys and brass items are available on www.tnpoompuhar.org and is contributing Indian crafts to the world.

    Poompuhar aims to invoke a sense of community when things from one part of India travel to a completely different part of India – representing Indian diversity in the truest form.

    Go ahead - check out all that’s available at Poompuhar, they make for great decorative items for your living room as well as superb gifts for everyone in your family and friends. Be it the upcoming festival season or a birthday present for your grandmother, the beautiful things from India’s most popular handicrafts emporium are set to sweep you off your feet.

    Happy Shopping!

    Like they say in Tamil, PoivittuVarugiren! Till the time we meet again.

  • Sandalwood

    Sandalwood is basically a class of wood which is indigenous to South India. It is characteristically defined by its woody and sweet smell, and has been used by the Pharma industry and other religious and spiritual institutions for various ceremonious purposes throughout history. Natural growth of sandalwood trees can mainly be found in the states of Karnataka , Andhra Pradesh , Kerala etc. with Mysore in Karnataka having one of the largest plant in the world for procuring oil and other byproducts of sandalwood.

    Shop for this Sandal Wood Pen - Click Here Shop for this Sandal Wood Pen - Click Here

    Even though sandalwood plantation and sale of its byproducts had earlier been banned to individuals, in the early 2000s with the new policy changes, sandalwood plantation and cultivation was legalized with the exception to the rule being that the produce could be sold solely to the Government.

    Shop for this Sandal Wood Elephant Log - Click Here Shop for this Sandal Wood Elephant Log - Click Here

    In fairly popular mythology, the king of the realm of Suparaka was saved because of the healing qualities of sandalwood. Now we understand the mistrust in mythological facts, but it has been scientifically evaluated and various healing qualities of sandalwood have been uncovered. While we’re not saying that it is a miracle product, but let us assure you that there are many health benefits of the essential oil and byproducts of sandalwood.

    The essential oil produced by sandalwood is composed of 2 molecules known as the alpha and beta santalol. These are the molecules responsible for producing the strong fragrance which has been associated with sandalwood. Alpha santalol helps improve mental clarity , and is thus one of the main components used during meditation , prayer and other spiritual rituals.

    Shop for this Sandal Wood Hanuman - Click here Shop for this Sandal Wood Hanuman - Click here

    With it being one of the main components of so many therapeutic procedures , we can help you be certain that sandalwood, when massaged on the body or just simply smelled, creates a feeling of relaxation and mental peace. Lavender also has similar qualities. However, unlike lavender , sandalwood does not come with the drowsiness involved.

    Sandalwood over the years has been used as a natural aphrodisiac which helps to improve the libido of men. India is the land which gave the world the Kamasutra and needless to say, sandalwood has played a part in the libido of our ancestors.

    Sandalwood is also known for its anti-viral properties and is known to prevent replication of various common viruses , an example being the herpes simplex. It is also used as an anti-inflammatory agent for skin irritation caused by superficial wounds, pimples, boils and warts etc.

    Whether you are in pursuit of mental peace , relaxation , health benefits or just decorative items made from sandalwood, head on over to tnpoompuhar.org and see what all we have available.

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