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Monthly Archives: December 2014

  • Reasons Why You Should Buy Indian Handicrafts as Gifts

    Indian handicrafts are popular in India and all over the world because they are unique and creative pieces of craftsmanship that beautifully capture the rich culture of India. Because of these qualities, people love to adorn them in their houses, which make them ideal as gift items. Let’s explore a couple of more reasons as why they are unique gifts to give:

    They are creative and individualistic                  

    Every handicraft is a creation and is created by an individual idea which makes it creative and individualistic. These products are not only bought in India .They are exported to other countries and much loved by people all over the world. People from all over the world know about the diversity of the Indian culture, so these remain popular gift items. They are in fact the best home decoration products as they just stand out in the crowd and add an ethnic touch to the place they are adorned.

    Thanjavur Temple shop online at poompuhar

    Shop this "Thanjavur Temple" at http://tnpoompuhar.org/tamil-nadu/pithwork/thanjavur-temple.html

    They are handmade products

    Each handicraft product is a handmade piece of art- the skill of the artisan who puts the magic of craftsmanship into it comes alive and adds a personal touch to it.  One handicraft is different from the other in the same store in the country because the kind of the diverse culture that India has which gives great variety to buyers or consumers.

    Each product has a story to tell

    Are you buying a peacock home décor item or a Tanjore painting? Each product reminds you about the various facets of the beautiful Indian culture. Peacock is in fact the national bird of India while the Thanjavur painting has the paintings of some of the Hindu religious  gods .When you gift someone a handicraft , you are actually gifting them a piece of India’s history, diversity and tradition.

    You are helping the artisan community

    By buying, using and spreading the word about Indian handicrafts, you are really helping the artisan community of India expand. You know the skill and hard work put in by the talented artisan community, so why not support it?

    They are attractive products

    Whether it’s wood work or paintings, idols, pith work or clothes, the sheer beauty of Indian handicrafts is undeniable and they have been valued for many years. What makes them evergreen and attractive is the fact that many handicrafts are now designed keeping in mind the contemporary tastes of the present generation, which makes them ethnic and stylish at the same time.

     They are a click away

    Like any other product, they are also available online. You can choose from going to a store and buying or buying online. These are times of e commerce and social media and you have access to the best products at just one click. The material of the product, the size, color, images, use, reviews and all info about product is available online, so these products come easy on your time as well.

  • Social Indicators of Indian Handicraft Industry

    Do you know the most beautiful handicrafts are from India and do you know Indian handicrafts have great demand in the world? So, who makes these handicrafts? These handicrafts are made by artisans from rural India who make them in great style and originality. Besides the fact that Indian handicrafts are contributing to the country’s growth, there is also one area of growth that is benefitting India at a deeper level. The development of Indian handicrafts helps companies achieve their goals and profits but at the same time follow a model where the artisans who make these products are also satisfied.This is because of the following reasons;

    Social Indicators of Indian Handicraft IndustrySource of income- Since handicrafts are doing so well in the market, it is in turn working in favour of the artisans of rural India too. In fact, the most popular handicraft industries include artisans in reasonable profits and since the artisans get a consistent income, they continue their association with them.

    More employment opportunities- Since the handicraft industry is a large scale industry in India, there is no dearth of opportunities for the artisans. Products made from stone, wood, clay, brass, different types of paintings and bronze are made, and the resulting business gives many opportunities to rural India.

    Focus on women- More women are getting employed with this model of making handicrafts. Women are usually good in handmade businesses and this industry too works well for them. More and more women are coming forward to work with handicraft companies.

    Skill development- Companies invest a lot of time in training and imparting skills to the artisans. The people who acquire the skill can also teach this to other members of their family and the spreading of knowledge will again work in favour of the handicraft industry.

    Better lifestyle and standard of living for rural Indians- Because the artisans are employed in big companies, they end up signing contracts and don’t quit because they like their association with big companies. Because of this, their standard of living and overall health also continues to improve.

    Indian culture gets huge publicity- Indian products are exported to UK, USA, Germany, France and many other countries. While products are bought or exported, they get massive publicity. When people buy handicrafts, they come to know about the richness of Indian culture.

    The Indian handicraft industry is a 100 million dollar industry. We can only expect more growth from this sector both financially and socially. With around 19 lakh job opportunities, this is a huge and diversified market with an annual growth of 15%. If we constantly witness financial growth, then social growth is automatically taken care of. Now, we live in an age of internet and social media, where we can send or receive information very fast. There will only be more and more growth for the handicraft sector which will make artisans have a sense of purpose as they will have people to invest in them and they will have a constant source of income will which increase their positivity towards their contribution to the handicraft sector.

  • Three Reasons Why You need To buy From Poompuhar

    Poompuhar is an undertaking by the Tamil Nadu Handicrafts Development Corporation set up by the Government of Tamil Nadu in the year 1973. The association aims at the upliftment of the Artisan community in the state and also to sustain the life in our ancient art forms. What is culture if you don’t appreciate it? Our country has an assortment of venerable art forms which has become a part of our evolution since the ancient times. Why go outside when you can find beauty aplenty here within? The three A’s will give you reasons why Poompuhar is your best choice.

    1Authenticity

    All the products from Poompuhar are carefully hand crafted by our well-trained artisans and it is hard to come by such superior craftsmanship anywhere else. Every artifact is of unparalleled beauty and value. The value of authenticity is often underestimated but we take it very seriously at Poompuhar. Though there are several other places to buy handicrafts from, Poompuhar has genuine products, a long established history and the satisfaction you feel when you buy these products is unbeatable because you get great products and you indirectly help out the artisan community. These valuables are ornately made to embellish your royal interiors or humble abodes.

    Affordability

    Variety and affordability are always a good combination and at Poompuhar we have both. All our handicrafts are very reasonably priced valued only for the craftsmanship. One needs to appreciate the artwork to appreciate its true value.

    Attractiveness

    All the handicrafts are skillfully made and possess an innate brilliance that enhances with time. All these products have to be appreciated for what they truly are. We guarantee that you could get lost in the beauty of our sculptures. The value of the elegant Nataraja or the blissful mermaid tanjore painting cannot be explained in words and you will to buy it to experience it.

  • Ganesha Gift ideas from Poompuhar

    There is always a gift for every occasion but choosing the right one is the thing that matters the most.  Most of our traditional festivals are auspicious events and we believe idols of Gods to bring good luck and prosperity to the receiver. Lord Ganesha, being our most common choice comes in a variety of options. Read further to choose better!

    Royal Bronze

    lord ganesha idol for home

    Carefully casted and artistically sculpted, Lord Ganesha in different poses is one of the most sought after idol in Bronze at Poompuhar after Lord Shiva. A strong sense of divinity comes from these bronze statues and this royal metal was used mostly to make temple deities for processions (utsava murthis).These artifacts are heavier and come in both polished and antique finish at Poompuhar.

    Shop this "Ganesh With Prabi Polish" at http://tnpoompuhar.org/ganesh-with-prabi-polish.html

    Wood carved Ganesh

    Wood carvings are always a great option when it comes to gift options. Carving wood requires precision and patience and wood sculptures are meant to bring prosperity to the place. These wood-carved idols are aesthetically very refined and also come in variety of sizes. A choice of wood like sandalwood, teak, etc. can be chosen and these would make really good gifts.

    Ganesh With Base - Wood Carved Ganesha

     

    Shop this "Ganesh With Base" at http://tnpoompuhar.org/ganesh-with-base.html

    Stonecarved Ganesha

    Stone sculpted Ganesh idols are exquisite artifacts at Poompuhar and all the idols are carefully sculpted to bringing out a Godly essence. Different poses, different styles, different stones like marble, granite etc and in different sizes are available and the choice is yours.

    Granite Stone Ganesh shop online at poompuhar

     

    Shop this "Granite Stone Ganesh" at http://tnpoompuhar.org/granite-stone-ganesh.html

    Ganesha in Ceramic

    Ceramic figurines border between fine art and decorative and are perfect gift options. The idols in ceramic can be placed anywhere and will go with any kind of decor. Ceramic wares practically require little or no care and their elegant appearance exude fine craftsmanship.

    Contact our showroom to buy this product http://tnpoompuhar.org/contact

    In Terracotta

    If you want your Ganesha idol to have a more earthy appeal to it, then terracotta is the perfect choice. Terracotta is comparatively easy to make and comes in different sizes and poses and is also a very good decorative item.

    Contact our showroom to buy this product http://tnpoompuhar.org/contact

    Gifts are always a blessing whether you are giving it or getting it. Choose from the different varieties of Ganesh Idols that are available in the market and wish them luck.

  • 7 New Initiatives By Poompuhar

    With the launch of our e-Commerce portal www.poompuhar.org by the Hon’ble Minister for Rural Industries & Labour Welfare on 16.12.2014 at the GRT Convention Center, T.Nagar, Chennai, we are proud to announce several more of our initiatives to cater to a larger audience in a more efficient and effective manner:

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    1. An enhanced e-Commerce portal www.poompuhar.org, wherein users can register, view and purchase our products online using credit card/ debit card/ net banking, and give us a quick feedback on the online experience as well as the logistics and products.

    2. A hybrid app to make it easy for users of smart phones and tablets to purchase products (iOS, Android and the like)

    The link for installation of App in Android devices;

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/fzyquzy860bnn1n/poompuhar.apk?dl=0

    The link for installation of App in iOS devices;

    http://install.diawi.com/jqB5uq

    The links will be available in the respective stores shortly.

    3. Signing of an MOU with the GRT group of Hotels in order to ensure that foreign and domestic tourists visit our showrooms. The same method will be followed with other Star Hotels.

    4. Signing of an MOU with India Post to ensure smooth and speedy logistics.

    5. Refurbishment of our marketing vehicle and flagging off the same.

    6. Distribution of iPads to our 14 showroom managers to maximize the use of technology in marketing and sales on the floor.

    7. Barcoding of all our products to facilitate better inventory management.

    All these initiatives are bound to achieve our objective of reaching out to our customers nationally and internationally and thereby increase our customer base, thus improving the status of artisans and giving them and their work global recognition.

  • Envisioning Revival of Indian Crafts

    The effort that goes in making objects of craft is no way as meagre as the amount of recognition and appreciation it receives. The humans living in today’s digital era believe less in the amount of manpower spent in accomplishing task and more on the money that goes in as capital. We have time and again heard people saying “Why should he/she get a high return, all he used was his skill and it was little of capital that was invested”. Have we turned so blind that we extend a deaf ear to the hard work and toil and most of all the skill? We have started weighing talent with money? When did money turn so powerful that it started auctioning a person’s forte?

    The Indian arts and crafts are suffering because of the above mindset, we have completely forgotten as to how they have shaped our heritage and helped us maintain it. Even in today’s world people remember India as the country of the Taj Mahal, the country of the Natraja Bronze Idols and the country which the home to innumerable art and craft forms that have inspired the world for ages at a stretch.

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    A Poompuhar brass lamp artisan at work.

    The artisans fear the fact that with the advancement in modern technologies and the lack of recognition as well as the dipping financial growth in this sector their future generations may stop contributing to art; this is evident in the statistics that show a steep decline in the number of artisans each year. In order to raise their standard of living they shall have to forget their love for their ancestral way of earning a livelihood.
    The crafts of our country have preserved the cultures of the ancient kings that lived hundreds and thousands of years prior to this very day. The Cholas, the Pandyas, The Rajputs and even those who lived before them are conserved in the art form they left behind them. India is known for its diversity; be that in the facial appearance of the citizens or their native languages, their culture or their eating habits, their way of worshipping or their standard of living, their native art forms or their level of basic education.

    India is still an agrarian economy, and the sector that accounts for maximum employment after agriculture is handicrafts. This fact is accepted by the 2011 report by Crafts council of India. In spite of this large employment ratio, both these sectors suffer from losses and are witnessing a shift in occupation. Many farmers commit suicide each year and many art forms are nearing the verge of extinction.

    One of the major factors behind this phenomenon is the fact that this sector is still untouched by modernity and innovative techniques. The present world lives far away from symmetry and monotony, it wants to everything to change with time. Many critics defy this notion, they believe that art has its own essence and in order to keep that essence living we need to keep it away untouched from modernity. Our country has a number of associations and organisations that take patronage of different art forms, they must shoulder the responsibility of educating the artisans and making them get their due.

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    A Poompuhar stone sculptor at Mammallapuram. [Image Credit: Indianature9 - Flickr]

    The artisans’ skill should not be lost with the sale of the object he carved but should live it, as it does for other artists that gain popularity. Mona Lisa shall always reminiscence Leonardo da Vinci and the pictures of Bhopal Gas Tragedy shall remind us of Raghu Rai, similarly a Thanjavur Painting, a Banarasi Sari, a Moradabad handicraft, A  Kallakurichi sandalwood statue etc should also make us remember not only the kings who started it but the name of the human being who generally lives a life behind the scene. Many of them have never played on the front foot, yet many are getting recognition for their work as a few dedicated organisations, Poompuhar being one among the few, are making the world know their name. They are raising their standards of living, they are imparting vocational training to many more artisans and generating employment in this sector, backed by good monetary returns. Moreover, these organisations are educating these individuals so that they come out of their old cocoons and witness the changes the world has seen in these many years. This shall lessen the gap that exists between the non-artisan and artisan population, which shall make it easier for the latter to incorporate changes based on the buyers’ choice.

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    A Poompuhar organised competition for Next-Gen artisans.

    Artisans who have vocational training in more than one art form may try permutation and combination which may result in the evolution of still newer art forms. But then again comes the argument of losing the original. This is a never ending debate, it’s us who has to choose between keeping a heritage alive or a family. If we are so keen on preserving culture, why don’t we adopt it along with our own families, rather than questioning the choices of others? It is after all them because of whom we know that such things even existed in time. Moreover, culture and heritage are parallel being formed along the line, and as layers come over layers, some get completely masked while some still continue to shine.

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    Tanjore Painting workshop organised by Poompuhar which produced a 100 new registered artists.

    India is unique, India is diverse and with a little more efforts we can preserve both the heritage and the heritage bearers. United as we are for many other causes, why not stand up for this one and join hands with organisations that are doing their every bit to make Indian crafts immortal.

  • History & Tradition of Karthigai Deepam

    The Festival of Diyas has already hit Tamil Nadu, and the people are drenched in fervour and ecstasy to celebrate it. It is among the most celebrated and awaited festival in the state and find its roots to the ancient Tamil Literature. Ancient Tamil literature dates back to as early as 2500 or 2000 B.C. and the mention of this festival and its attributes signifies the importance it held during such old days. It is home coming for Tamils settled all over the world, as this is the time of rejoice and festivity. Every bit of their body and soul is submerged in the preparation of the big day.

    Cīvaka Cintāmaṇi (fabulous gem), an epic composed in 10th century A.D. by the well known Jain monk cum poet Thiruthakka Thevar has passages that describe the festivity during the days of Karthagai Deepam which is celebrated for a period of 10 days in the Karthagai month of the Tamil Solar Calendar. These 10 days fall in the month of November and December. Kalavazhi Narpadu, another piece of Tamilian Literature that finds its origin somewhere in 1st Century A.D. also has a reference to the festival in the text where it describes a battle that caused a lot of bloodshed. Similarly, Tolkappiyam, another Tamil composition that is considered to be written in 3rd Century B.C. also mentions the “lamp’s flame” which is according to analysts refers to the flame that glowed atop the Annamalai Hill.

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    View of the Arunachaleshwara Temple premises from the Annamalai hill. [Image Credits: LovinDhana - Panoramio]

    Thiruvannamalai Arunachaleshwara Swamy Temple is among the most potent signifiers of this festival. The festivities in the temple continue 10 day long. On the final i.e. the 10th day, the rituals start with the lighting of the Bharani Deepam early at 4 AM. The masses worship and encircle the deepam. This isn’t an ordinary lamp, but one that has all such features that even if accounted separately shall qualify as phenomenal. The lamp  is a large metallic vessel that brims with ghee (clarified butter). This huge 5.5 feet tall deepam has the capacity to hold approximately 2000 liters of ghee in its circumference that is nearly 15.7 feet. The work of lighting, arranging all the raw materials and decorating the premises of the temple is a cumbersome task but the devotees take immense pleasure in preparing for it right from Karthigai Pournami. They find happiness in their hard work and toil harder each year to make arrangements better than the previous year’s.The flame of the Bharani Deepam is used to light the Karthigai Mahadeepam at the hill top after sunset. The temple is decorated with over a lakh lamps and the sight is mesmerizing. The devotees are so excited about this affair that they do not miss any opportunity to witness it. This Mahadeepam is so bright that it can be easily seen from a distance of 35 km.

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    Devotees during the festival procession at Thiruvannamalai. [Image Source:  D. Gopalakrishnan - The Hindu]

    The homes are decorated with kolam and diyas, freshly painted and smell of kitchen delicacies. The gourmet includes Aadhirasam, Karthigai Adai,Vella Sedai, etc to name a few  It is in many a ways similar to the North Indian Deepawali as the children burst crackers and relatives and friends flock each others’ house.

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    Children lighting lamps in front of their homes. [Image Source: A. Muralitharan - The Hindu]

    Tourists also visit Tamil Nadu and especially Thiruvannamalai Temple to take part in this auspicious occasion where spirituality and beauty are entwined intricately.

  • Terracotta: Art from Earth

    What is Terracotta?
    Do you know Terracotta means ‘baked earth’ and do you know it’s an Italian word? What makes Terracotta even more special is it is considered as man's first ways of getting creative. Creating structures out of these clay forms is what Terracotta is all about. Terracotta has been used to make construction and decorative arts in many countries. Everything from Terracotta pots to containers and plants were used by people from many years. Almost every Indian household has at least one Terracotta product and that’s also because they are not as expensive as other material and because they simply have an unmatchable appeal.

    A little history
    Historical evidences from Harappa and Mohenjo daro of the Indus Valley Civilisation suggest that this art basically flourished in India. It was also used to cater to the needs of the people. So, this was both a decorative art and was a utility product. People used these products because they were cheaper and more convenient than metal products. These products were used in the architecture of old monuments as tiles , bricks and blocks were ideal for buildings.

    What are the different Terracotta products?
    The different Terracotta products made from this art form are toys, pots, lamps, cases and other decorative items. The pots were the one which were the most popular as they looked good and were also used to store food and other essentials.The Bankura house remains the most popular Terracotta product in India because of its association with many village rituals and it really adds a finish to the living or drawing rooms . Terracotta products also look great when the plants are put in these Terracotta pots or the bigger version of these pots are again used as decorative items in the garden itself which again add to the royal feel.

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    Bankura Horses of West Bengal. [Image Source: rainbow-thecoloursofindia.blogspot.in]

    How are the Terracotta products made?
    The clay is first dried and then is molded into different shapes using a pottery wheel. It is then allowed to dry for some time and it is fired . Many products like kitchen utensils, vases, statues and other decorative pieces are made.

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    An artisan making a Terracotta Pot. [Image Source: craftclustersofindia.in]

    The beauty of these products
    One cannot deny the beauty of these products because of its natural charm and ethnic beauty. One can find many products made of Terracotta and these products are candle stands, wall hangings, jewellery, idols, home decoration items, jewellery boxes and other different types of handicrafts.

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    Terracotta Horses at an Ayyannar temple in Tamilnadu. [Image Source: molossus.co]

    Terracotta in India
    In India, different states are famous for making different terracotta products.In Gujarat, clay pots are made and are pretty famous. Whereas, Tamil Nadu is really good in making pots of animals like horses and elephants. Terracotta in West Bengal is associated with the making of Bankura house . Terracotta besides being beautiful products actually adds to the traditional beauty and is a business that comes from rural India. With urbanization , we sometimes forget to appreciate the beauty of these age-old products. But Poompuhar really specializes in giving you the best Indian handicrafts that will really attract you.

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    An artisan applying finishing touches to terracotta idols at Mazhaiyur village in Pudukottai district. [Image Credits: M. Srinath - The Hindu]

    Did you know ?
    These products that are used especially at the time of the Karthigai deepam are not that popular nowadays compared to fifteen years back. Even during times of Deepavali , the sales for the lamps are not as much as expected and mostly the sales are good only during Karthikai. You would have noticed that there has been a slight decrease in demand for Terracotta lamps yourself, so what we at Poompuhar have done is we have worked with our artisans and come out with new attractive designs to match the tastes of Gen X . You can find just the right mix of modernity and traditional ethnicity in our lamps. Visit your nearest Poompuhar outlet to see some exquisite collections.

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    Exquisite collection of Terracotta Lamps at the Poompuhar Chennai Showroom.

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