Sprucing Up for Lohri!

Winter has arrived. The chill in the atmosphere makes us all seek heat and warmth. Imagine being around a bonfire on a cold, freezing night… and there you have one of the lesser-known, but no less enthusiastically celebrated festivals of India. Originating from Punjab, Lohri was generally celebrated on winter solstice- the shortest day and longest night of the year. But these days, Punjabis celebrate it on the last day of the month during which winter solstice takes place. This is because Lohri is linked to the Bikrami calendar and the twinning of the festival with Makar Sankranti which is celebrated in the Punjab region as Maghi Sangrand.

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Lohri has many different associations. Some celebrate it to give respect to the seasons and the natural elements of earth, fire, wind and water. Some associate it with the harvest season- the harvest of rabi crops. Sugarcane products such as gurh and gachak are also central to the celebrations. Farmers believe the new financial year starts with Lohri and celebrate it as such.

The ceremony involves children goiung form door to door singing folk songs- they are given sweets and/or money, and this collection doen by the kids is called “Lohri” and it consists of til, gachchak, crystal sugar, gur (jaggery), moongphali (peanuts) and phuliya or popcorn. This is later distributed during the bonfire ceremony. The bonfire is generally lit at sunset in the main village square. People sit around, toss the lohri in it, sing and dance till the fire burns out. Some also go around the bonfire offering prayers.

Singing and dancing forms the main integral part of the festival. People wear their best and brightest clothes and come and do the bhangra dance. The festival was shown in the famous movie Veer Zaara too as shown below.

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Ethnic wear from Triveni from like the one shown below, can be worn to the best effect during the celebration. Dressing up in these will make your Lohri brighter!

 

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

Authored by Sabiha Gani

 

Manju and her story! Take#2

Before we begin the second part of the story, for the readers who do not know about Manju, kindly take a look at Manju and her story! Take #1

Triveni wanted to actively do something to help Manju; to honour someone of her caliber that truly represented what the values of Triveni – grace, dignity, identity – that we want to celebrate. And so Triveni’s Pragya and Pratibha set in action with photographer Rahul Jain. Here’s what happened next.

“So what have you thought about her future aunty ji?”, inquired Pratibha.

“I am getting married in the month of February”, said Manju and for the first time her smile grew wider.

“And before we could ask more, she asked us to wait. And in absolutely no time, stood in front of us a pretty bride.” tells us Pragya.

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“Manju you look beautiful, but why this saree now?”

“Didi, this is my sister’s saree. I want my pictures in this. Will you click for me?” And so we did…

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A new family to call her own, a new life in holy matrimony and a special occasion to mark the beginning of it all. Manju has a dream – that she will one day be able to fulfill that gap that had been gaping through her since she was a girl – since when she could remember.

Manju is hopeful. She continues smiling through her day as if she was going through bliss. She is happy that she has her aunt, and happy that she has a life to live. She wants to make the best of her opportunities and appreciate what is given to her. She is simple, yet graceful as she spends her days; she is her own individual as much as she has her own dreams. She is strong-will as much as she is caring and warm.

For her upcoming wedding and also to congratulate her for winning at life no matter the consequences she has faced, Triveni presented her with two Sarees that she can proudly wear as she ties the knot.
There is much more we would like to do for Manju. We would like to see her fulfill her dream of being happy and not worry about the cost of life. Our initiative is to provide for Manju as much as possible so that she is settled comfortably to start a married life.

You can help us achieve this. We have integrated a ‘Help Manju’ checkbox during checkout on all our online purchases.

Picture Credits: Rahul Jain (PicU)

Indian Curries: A Melange of Spices

Curry is one of the most definitive Indian exports to the western world. The UK has adopted the curry as a national dish and the British have made their own versions of curry after having been mesmerized by chicken tikka masala. The meaning of the word itself has changed through the years. It earlier used to mean only Indian food but it now denotes “various kinds of dishes from different parts of the world, which are savoury, spicy and have some gravy”.

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India has a plethora of curries to its credit. Each region has its own distinct ways of preparing curries and even within regions, different communities have different ways of creating dishes through the same ingredients. The precise selection of spices for each dish is a matter of tradition, religious practice and to some extent, family preferences. Traditionally, spices are used whole and ground, cooked or raw and added at different times. Usually, a mixture of spices are used such as Garam Masala, curry powder, sambhar powder, etc. Each mixture also has regional variations. More than the spices, though, equal importance is also given to the selection of vegetables and meats. Although a specific dish may have a specific way of preparation, households come up with their own twists and variations. Hence, while the dish itself may be same, taste will vary from house to house.

Curries in India are classified based on their way of preparation. Korma is mild and yellowish in color.Do Pyaza (literally, two onions) refers to the usage of both fried and boiled onion in the preparation.

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Pasanda, that royal mix (as we like to call it) is a mild curry featuring rich use of cream and almonds. Bhuna is a thick sauce based in tomatoes. Dhansak is a Parsi variety prepared medium or hot with a sweet and sour sauce. Madras curries are fairly hot, red in color and heavily uses red chili powder. Other types of curries are Achari, Dahi wala, Jaipuri, Karahi, Kashmiri, Kofta, Kolhapuri, Mussalam, Saag, Tikka, Tindaloo and Vindaloo.

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Authored by Jijo George

Desi Designs Go Global!

India is the quintessential desi country. Be it typical Indian things, or the clothes, desiness is the new way to go. And this is why the desi designs have become a rage all over the world. The vibrant colors catch the eye of everyone, and it brings about a sense of youthfulness and zest that is at the heart, Indian.

The Indian prints are infused with the colours of the country’s past. Its rich heritage lends it the beautiful and vivid feel that is admired by all. Some of the prints have the animals and birds depicted on them, which are eye-catching, and provide a new look to one who wears it for the first time.

Some are traditional, like the Bandhni print from Gujarat.

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The embroidery of Indian clothes is world-famous. It has inspired many new looks over the ages. In fact, no wedding is complete without a Zardosi print-and even that as now gone global.

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We have dresses that are made on the style of Mirror embroidery that is famous in Gujarat.

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And let’s not limit ourselves to only clothes. Even the wallpapers, furniture and interior designs have taken a distinct desi feel these days. Here take a look-

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All the things that were earlier purely western now have a distinct Indian feel- Clutches, purses, shoes, ottomans- everything has become desi.

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Thus, we can safely say that desi designs have indeed, gone global.

Authored by Sabiha Gani

Drape it like that! #1

Saree from the Indian Culture is probably one of the oldest pieces of clothing still worn today. It is a very long piece of cloth which measures about 1m by 5.5m. (One size fits all!)

What is wonderful about Saree is that it is not a costume reserved only for traditional festivals or ceremonies. Irrespective of caste, religion or customs, saree is still worn by Indian ladies going about their daily chores. For a country as varied as India, without a doubt there are distinct differences in the ways that a Saree is draped. The Pallu is the throw of a Saree, the outer end of the Saree with elaborate designs.


Traditional Nivi Style:
The most commonly worn style, this draping technique is a timeless classic. Worn with pleats, the sari extends over the left shoulder that leaves enough room for experimentation with all kinds of your favorite jewelry & nifty blouses.

Sheers over ghagras:
We saw this idea come to life at Manish Malhotra’s show last year at WIFW, and how! Pair a sheer sari with an ornate ghagra or lengha skirt and watch how quickly all eyes will be on you. Here are two fantastic sheer sari options we think are perfect if you want to try this look.

The Dhoti Sari:
A perfect combination of the silhouettes of the pallu & dhoti pants into an ensemble that completely reinvents the sari. We fell in love with an impeccable creation by the master of drapes, TarunTahiliani at BMW’s India Bridal Fashion Week 2014. Pair it with a waist coat .or a gilet and you’re all set!

The Tunic Sari:
Not one for blingy blouses? Want to use your favorite sari in a whole new avatar? This is what you need. Leave the blouse at home & go for your favorite tunic or shirt for a look that is completely unique!

 

Authored by: Gazal Trehan

Mother Mary in a Saree!

It was in a small village in the South of India that once a remarkable incident had occurred. A Hindu boy was carrying a pot of milk to be delivered to a customer and was rather tired on the way. He rested himself under a banyan tree for a while near a pond.

As he was catching his breath, along came a woman, dressed in bright white clothing, carrying a baby. She asked him if he could spare some milk for her baby to drink. He was sympathetic to the mother and lent them his pot of milk. She thanked the boy and went on her way.

The boy had to reach the customer’s home empty handed and spoke about what happened to the milk. But as soon as he looked at the pot, milk suddenly began filling up inside the pot, right up till the brim! They were both amazed at the sudden happening and rushed to the pond where the boy had met with the woman. She appeared to them there as a vision of light and then disappeared.

A little while after that, a group of Portuguese sailors were caught in a storm. They prayed for the storm to pass and in a sudden flash of light, she appeared to clear the winds. The storm had passed, and they reached the shores of the very same village where she had appeared before. The fishermen led them to the chapel for them to pay their respects. The Portuguese were so thankful to her, that to mark her existence and her miraculous effects of healing and enlightenment, a shrine was put up in her honour, named after her. This was the Shrine of Mother Mary – Now known as St. Mary’s Basilica – In Velankanni.


Her influence has spread far across India, where there has been another Shrine in Delhi to commemorate her image as the Holy Mother Mary. Those who visit the shrine ask her to fulfill their wishes. And for those devotees whose wishes have been granted, they offer a new Saree to the replica of her statue in Velankanni that is then draped over her image.

Her image has been one that has transcended all levels of faith, despite region or religion, and has become a symbol of everlasting hope, grace and healing.

Indian Puppetry!

It will be hard to find a child who has not heard of puppets. They may be known by different names in different areas, but puppets have, for centuries, enthralled children across the world. The first puppets are estimated to have originated nearly 3000 years ago. They are used for the primary purpose of story-telling and nowadays, it is also used to spread awareness about socially relevant topics. For instance, Ranjana Kanitkar’s organization first used puppets as a means to raise the voice against child marriage.

As far as the Indian subcontinent is concerned, there is slight evidence of puppetry in the Indus valley Civilization. One terracotta doll with a detachable head capable of movement was unearthed by archaeologists and it is believed to be nearly 2500 years old.

Various ancient literature such as the Mahabharata, Tamil epics, Ashokan edicts, Natya Sashtra, etc. have mentions of puppetry. Mahabharata, for instance, has a number of allusions to puppetry, the most famous one being from the Gita which talks of the three qualities, Sattah, Rajah and Tamah compared to three strings being pulled by the Divine to lead men in life. In the Kamasutra, it was revealed that the best way to entertain and seduce young girls was to organize a puppet show and present the puppets to the damsels after the performance!! The treatise contains elaborate descriptions on the making of puppets.

Puppets are used frequently in folklore. These puppets are made to imbibe all the expressions of humans thus making them as an extension of human expression. Ancient India considered them as a form of divine creation. Even today, a puppeteer opens his show with prayers. When the show is over, he puts the puppets reverentially aside.

When a puppet has to be discarded, it is not thrown away. Instead, they are floated away in rivers after performing a religious ceremony. And it happens only in India.

We shall come back with more. Till then stay tuned to TriveniTimes!

Authored by Jijo George

Evolution of Ethnic Wear for Indian Men!

The Indian fashion scene has been rapidly changing from the 1900s helped along by the freedom struggle and later by the proliferation of the film industry. Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of India, initiated the Swadeshi movement in protest against the policies of the British. The movement envisioned boycotting of various imported items. What started then as a movement against oppression, has today turned into a style statement.

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Khadi is today the de-facto fabric for politicians and has now become a part of numerous fusion experiments within the fashion industry.The versatile fabric has received another boost with visibility on account of half-sleeve starched khadikurtas worn by Shri NarendraModi, the Prime Minister of India.

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When the century dawned, fashion was a preserve of the rich. Today, with the power of the Internet, there are firms that allow customisation of fabrics and manufacture clothes “to measure” (Raymonds, for example). The lower tiers usually went in for garments made at home or at the local tailor. The consciousness of the Indian identity was being formed during the 1930s and the dresses and the styles reflect the broad confusion with some clothes veering towards use of silhouettes and the broad usage of black and grey as the overlying theme. Towards the end of the decade, women’s fashion became more and more feminine in the urban areas and the body hugging suits made their appearance.

Due to western influences, use of items such as angarkhas, cholas and jamas all but disappeared replaced by the convenient achkan and sherwani. Within this space, politicians brought in their own twists, the most famous being Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru’s trademark jacket

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and the Gandhi cap worn by the followers of the Congress Party. Yet, if there was any remarkable change in the offing, it was post-independence especially in the 1950s.

Triveni makes sure that Ethnic Wear for men turn out to be no less trendy.

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Click here to check out for yourselves!

Authored by Jijo George

Evolution of Indian Ethnic Wear! Take #1

Clothing, they say, is a function of the environment and the lifestyle of the people staying in a place. The same holds true for India. India has had a rich culture – a culture that tried to keep its essence intact and at the same time, inculcated the best of everything that came into the land. Whenever new cultures took root in the land, by way of various kingdoms and dynasties, the people of India adapted themselves to the new styles and created something new. We see that most evident in food – biriyanis, pulaos and naans are just some of the examples.

The same holds true for clothes.

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Take for example, the Aryans who came down from Central Asia to settle in the land of the Ganges. They migrated from woollen clothes and animal skin to cotton and linen fabrics keeping in line with the climate of the Gangetic plain.

Men developed clothes like pyjamas and kurtas that would help them in the agricultural work while women came up with the wonder called saree – that was gracious, whichever the colour may be, offering numerous mix and match possibilities with different colours, patterns and hues. Over time, the character of the clothes would change character as people would differentiate themselves based on their religions, regions and sometimes even tribal characteristics. Simple loin clothes would lead to royal clothes, different styles of wearing similar kinds of clothes, to adoption of international trends, to the present age where ace designers like Tarun Tahiliani, Rohit Bahl and others deconstructing the saree and fusing western elements to bring in a cosmopolitan feel to the Indian dress.

 

Authored by Jijo George

Rohit Bal: The grande finale WIFW

What do you get when you put together a Qutab Minar adorned with lamps, chandeliers and red carpet, live music by the powerhouse Shubha Mudgal and a line that is an ode to Nishat Bagh in Kashmir?
A whooping grande finale by Rohit Bal. 102 models cascaded down a runway lined with ornate lamps on either sides with the crowd watching in absolute state of awe. The line covered everything a dreamy bride or groom could ask for. Larger-than-life lehengas in full circle skirts, peplum cut blouses, achkans, sarees with ornate jackets, full length anarkalis, jodhpuris and jackets for men and an entire bouquet of Indian wear deemed fit for a prince and a princess. The colour palette went from white with red, red with gold, black with red and gold and deep wines. The highlights of the grandeur relied on kashmiri thread embroidery, hints of brocade, gold embroidery on velvet and the works. The accessories to accompany these mesmerising clothes were rose flower maang tikkas and rose adornments in the hair. Arjun Rampal walked the ramp for Rohit Bal in a black velvet number and Louboutin shoes. It was interesting to see Christian Louboutin sitting front row for Rohit Bal. This show was the epitome of grandeur and magnificence like never seen before. Kudos to a brilliant end to a wonderful season of fashion.
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Authored by Shreya Kalra of www.ftlofaot.com (For the Love of fashion and Other Things)