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Showing posts from October 8, 2007

Dusshera Festival at Calton Hill in Edinburgh Scotland

The Dusshera Festival in Scotland is noted for the colorful Ramlila parade and the burning of the huge effigies of ten-headed Ravana, his brother Kumbhakarna and Meghanad, son of Ravan. Another interesting aspect is that the huge effigies of the demons are made by the inmates at Saughton Prison in Scotland. Dusshera or Dasara, which celebrates the victory of Lord Ram over Ravana, symbolizes the victory of good over evil.

It is a Herculean task to move the 40 feet high and 6 feet wide effigies from the prison to Calton Hill, where it will be burned. Transporting the effigies and the wind at Calton Hill are the main concern areas. Below is the image of the effigies in 2006. The effigies were normally made by Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop but in 2006 it was made by the inmates at Saughton Prison due to funding problems. The amazing work done by the prisoners prompted the organizers to approach the prison authorities this year too. The festival is organized by the Scottish Indian Arts Forum.…

Alpana – the white patterns or designs in Bengal

The unique white designs in the houses in Bengal and those drawn during festivals, pujas, marriages and vrats attract even a casual onlooker. The white designs known as Alpana are found on the patio, floors and walls and on large pots and vessels. Rice, the staple food of Bengal, is the medium used in Alpana and the motifs are created mainly by women. The technique of painting using the white flour is referred as gunrichitra or dhulichitra. The designs are quite similar to the kolams or rangoli in South India.

The white paste created from rice symbolically represents wealth, prosperity and grace or Goddess Lakshmi. The motifs primarily consists of flowers, fruits, leaves, branches, vegetables and other ideas handed down through generations and those inspired by Mother Nature.
How to make the powder for Alpana? ‘Atap’ rice, non-parboiled form of rice, is used to make the powder. The short-grained variety of ‘Atap’ is the widely used one. The rice is soaked in water to soften for 5…