Bassi, Chittaurgarh, RJ

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Kavad, a temple. One bright little thing that caught my eye was the Kavad, a portable temple made of wood. It was very light to hold and it measured less than "one foot by one foot" in dimension. There were doors waiting to be opened, small little doors with what looked like angelic forms painted on them. I open them only to see folded doors again. I keep on unfolding them one after the other and the painted panels open up on either side. The first door that I had opened is now behind one of the open panels. "If you observe carefully, there are different stories in the panels in either side" said the sales guy as I stared at it in amazement! "It is like a book", he stressed. I folded the doors and unfolded them again. Yes, stories of Lord Krishna on one side and stories of Lord Ram on the other. The last door conceals the supreme deities: Ram, Lakshman and Sita or Jagannatha, Balabhadra and Shubhadra. Facts: These Kavads are made of Mango or Seasame wood, by the wood carvers of Bassi a small town 25 kilometers north-east of Chittorgarh. Men make these, small box like, temples with hinged doors; women paint them with stories from epics. They were the tools of professional bards, known as Kavadia Bhatts, who traditionally traveled from village to village chanting the tales of epics; the tradition is 400 years old

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