Thursday, June 2, 2011

Inspiring Vaisnavis: the Chowpatty garland makers (with tutorial)

Anyone who visits ISKCON Chowpatty feels very inspired by contemplating every detail of Sri Sri Radha Gopinatha, Sri Sri Gaura Nitai and Sri Nathaji’s sumptuous decoration. Plus seeing the dedication with which the devotees perform devotional service is so inspiring. Generally the care of the deities is done behind the scenes and most people end up having access only to the results (and what results!) during the darshan. However, if you arrive at the temple during the Srimad Bhagavatam lecture, you can witness (and even participate in) the development of beautiful flower ornaments used to further beautify the deities. It’s the amazing seva of Chowpatty garland makers.

What draws attention is the refined work in a spiral with rose petals and jasmine buttons that serve as the basis for garlands, belts, earrings, crowns, etc. The love with which they perform this service is certainly an ingredient that causes people to feel the incredible spiritual atmosphere that emanates from that altar. And all this happens not just for the Sunday feast. Even during the week they work with the same care and if there's any event they do not stop the production, as you can see in the photo below, during the ISKCON Juhu’s Ratha Yatra.

As several devotees have been asking me to create a tutorial about this garlands lately, here it goes:

  Place a piece of rose stalk in the needle to give support to the spiral

Remove the petals from the stem gently.

Fold the petal ends out joining them in the middle. The whitish part that was stuck in the stem is what appears on the garland, giving the color degrade effect .

If the petal is too big to the size of garland you want, cut off the surplus tip.

Accommodate the folded petal on the base.

Place the second petal beside the first petal and so on until ...

...you have a base with six petals. From then on, the seventh petal is fit over the first, the eighth over the second, and so on ...

... forming the rose spiral.

To get this effect, simply intercalate three red petals with  three yellow petals.

This kind of three colors spiral you get with the sequence of 2 red, 2 yellow and 2 pink petals.

This one you get with the sequence of 1 red: 2 pink

In this type (that Radharani is holding) you have intercalated 1 red : 1 yellow

Petals spiral (2 yellow: 1 red) on the garland that Radha offers  to Krishna. Over Her head an arrangement of red rose petals intercalated with jasmine buttons.

This another type is made ​​by inserting two jasmine buttons with the rest of rose petals.

This one is made of 1 pink : 2 yellow : 1 red : 2 yellow

The same reasoning applies to the spiral of jasmine buttons. The thickness of the garland you get putting the button away from the needle. Then just cut the stems left over.

The same reasoning can be apllied to this small flower called Aboli.

Although delicated it's very resistant

Tulasi mataji, a very dear senior devotee making this garland with Aboli flower.

    Nothing is wasted. Here the  rose leaves are also used. The technique is the same as the petals, but in this case is not necessary to cut the surplus tip

Then just set up the garlands, using your imagination. What is interesting here is that every devotee contributes with a piece of each deity  garland and all work in a beautiful spirit of cooperation.

Here is a blend of jasmine buttons with lotus  flower petals and kernels. In this case de jasmines are little open creating this loose look, as bellow:

Jasmine buttons with rose petals and rose flowers. 

This type mixes flowers and fruits (cherries)

Srimati Radharani's headdress

Preparing pendants...

Radharani's headdress made by flowers and fruits (cherries)

Gopinatha's turban with pendants (right side)

     Spiral garland (1 pink petal : 5 red petals) for Gopinath with orchids. Notice the belt made of jasmines and rose petals and...allow me to comment... His protruding and beautiful belly!

Your servant
Vaisnava Krpa devi dasi

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