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Kharvis of Coastal KarnatakaDurable Link to this BLOG
Amma's Column

Fishermen throughout the world are known for adventures. Since they have to face rough weather on mid sea at times, all of a sudden, their presence of mind and boundless courage saves them from grave situations. Konkani fisher folk known as Kharvis who reside in Coastal districts of Karnataka are no exception. Since ancient times, they are exposed to unpredictable rough fury of nature. The adjoining land is also not as fertile as the plains. This rocky strip of land is inhabited by people of various fisher folk castes, who try to eke out a living are sandwiched between Sahyadri mountain range and the Arabian Sea. However the sea provided varied and plentiful fish, most part of the year. The Kharvi fisher-folk are a brave and god-fearing community who speak konkani language. They used to be expert boat-builders as well. They built strong warships and mercantile ships which competed with Arab dhows.


Boats sailing on sharavathi river

Karnataka state has three hundred and twenty three kilometers of sea-coast. Fisher-folk are divided between Kannada and Konkani speaking communities and they do not interact. In a caste-ridden country like India, each caste-people develop their own culture and leave behind a tradition of typical rituals and practices. Kharvi fishermen work on sea and in saline water. "Kshara" or salt in Sanskrit has a derivative word Khara in Indian languages. Hence the term Kharvi perhaps applied to fishermen who went fishing in salty water. Nowadays the nomenclature is wider. Since Khavis speak only Konkani language, there is every possibility that they escaped from Konkani state of Portuguese Goa, to avoid forcible conversion to Christianity in the sixteenth century. Kharvis are devout Hindus and worshipers of several deities. But interestingly they, mainly worship Durgamata or Sakti (Primeval power) who, as Goddess Almighty has precedence over all other gods! They also worship Siva husband of Shakti, their Son Ganapati and God Vishnu in his different incarnations.

Boats of different dimensions, tubs, varied types of nets, oars and bamboos form main tools of Kharvis.

Earlier nets to catch fish were woven from strong fibers obtained from barks of certain forest trees. These days nylon nets have come handy for them, who put in endless hours in weaving and mending. Similarly small boats sail to catch by hook, or hand-nets.

Nowadays technology has made room for mechanized boats launches and percins.

Fixing the Net

Rampani or Maribale the huge net required the service of a hundred people which hauled tons and tons of sardines and mackerels during the season. Trawlers, nowadays net in fish with the help of five or six people. Percin boats go far and deep in the sea and managed by twenty-twenty five members. Big boats haul in mixed fish which requires big team to sort out edible fish like Surma, mackerel, sardine, small shark, hook fish, Saundale, prawns and others. Other non-tasty fish goes as chicken-feed. Unedible varieties form good manure. "Kawan" are sheds to store dry-fish and beaches are used to sun-dry the huge quantities of fish.

Fishermen Family

Some fishermen are not lucky to have lions share of Rampani netting or trawler-catch. But they are happy to catch enough fish for evening dinner, oaring their way on quite-flowing Sharavati and sell in baskets on the shore.

First Created: Friday, February 11, 2011
Last Updated: 2/22/2011 9:40:44 AM


Gynandromorphism in Indian ArtDurable Link to this BLOG
There is news in the scientific community today that the scientists have solved the mystery of gynandromorphous (half-male and half-female) chickens.

To mark the occasion, we pulled out images of "Ardhanarishwar", an icon in Indian Culture representing the half-male, half-female form of Lord Shiva.

© K.L.Kamat
Ardha-Narishwara  Half Man, Half Woman
Ardha-Narishwara Half Man, Half Woman
Detail from Madhubani folk painting

© K.L.Kamat
Ardha-Narishwara
Ardha-Narishwara
An excellent sculpture of "Uma-Maheswara" located at Banashankari (Bijapur district) wherein the masculine and feminine characters are beautifully carved in a single icon.

© K.L.Kamat
"Ardhanarishwara" from a Maithili Painting
"Ardhanarishwara" from a Maithili Painting

© www.kamat.com
A Spectacular Mixed Metal Sculpture of Ardhanarishwara
A Spectacular Mixed Metal Sculpture of Ardhanarishwara
Androgynous form of Lord Shiva depicted in Indian art

First Created: Thursday, March 11, 2010
Last Updated: 3/11/2010 3:27:07 PM


Krishna as Thief of Women's ClothesDurable Link to this BLOG
Gopika Vastraharan in Indian Art

The Bhagavata Purana has an episode of how mischievous Krishna hides away all the clothes of girls bathing in the river. The episode provides a lot of fodder for poets, artists and devotees and is an integral part of the Hindu experience.

Here is a collection of pictures culled from our collection that depict the episode of the girls begging Krishna to return their clothes.

© K.L.Kamat
Krishna stealing the clothes of his female companions
Krishna stealing the clothes of his female companions
The Gopika-Vastraharana episode

© K.L.Kamat
Gopika Vastrapaharana (The Stealing of Clothes)
Gopika Vastrapaharana (The Stealing of Clothes)
Painting shows Krishna climbing a tree with the clothes of bathing girls

© K.L.Kamat
Naked Women asking Krishna for their Clothes
Naked Women asking Krishna for their Clothes
Krishna from Gunavante chariot

© K.L.Kamat
Ladies Pleading for Clothes
Ladies Pleading for Clothes
Detail from a South Indian painting, Mysore

© K.L.Kamat
Gopika Vastrapaharan
Gopika Vastrapaharan
Detail from a Mysore Traditional Painting, Mysore

© K.L.Kamat
Gopika Vastraharana
Gopika Vastraharana
Detail from a painting by Shubharaya

© K.L.Kamat
Gopika-Vastraharan
Gopika-Vastraharan
Detail from a miniature painting, Partakali Math, Goa

© K.L.Kamat
Krishna Climbs a Tree after Stealing Women`s Clothes
Krishna Climbs a Tree after Stealing Women's Clothes
Gopika Vastraharan as depicted in a Gokarn temple sculpture

© K.L.Kamat
The Clothes Thief
The Clothes Thief
Girls bathing in the river begging Krishna to return their clothes.

First Created: Friday, June 05, 2009
Last Updated: 6/28/2009 8:49:23 PM


Garuda in Indian ArtDurable Link to this BLOG
Garuda is the name of a mighty bird depicted in Indian folklore as the vehicle of Lord Vishnu.

Garuda is a species of Indian Eagle.

The flying abilities of Garuda have prompted an airline to be named after the bird (Garuda Indonesia Airlines).

Indian artists over the centuries have imagined great many forms of Garuda and they are available today in paintings, sculptures, and temple artifacts. The following is a collection of pictures depicting Garuda in Indian Art.

© K.L.Kamat
The Garuda, King of Birds
The Garuda, King of Birds

© K.L.Kamat
Vishnu flies with his two wives on "Garuda."
Vishnu flies with his two wives on "Garuda."

© K.L.Kamat
The Garuda, King of Birds
The Garuda, King of Birds
Village of Gunavante, 1983

© K.L.Kamat
Garuda Carrying Gayatri
Garuda Carrying Gayatri
Ganjifa playing card painting

© K.L.Kamat
Garuda Carrying Lord Vishnu and Laxmi
Garuda Carrying Lord Vishnu and Laxmi
Wooden sculpture from Tamilnadu

© K.L.Kamat
Lord Krishna Rides the Bird Garuda
Lord Krishna Rides the Bird Garuda
Garuda is usually shown as Vishnu's carrier; here the artist seems to indicate that Vishnu and Krishna are one the same.

© K.L.Kamat
Garuda Carrying Lord Vishnu
Garuda Carrying Lord Vishnu
Kavi art (red graffitto art) from a temple in the village of Hosad

© K.L.Kamat
Heroes who die heroic death are sometimes immortalized as Garuda
Heroes who die heroic death are sometimes immortalized as Garuda
Town of Siddapur, 1983

© K.L.Kamat
Painted Icon of Garuda
Painted Icon of Garuda
The village of Maluru, Channapattana

© K.L.Kamat
Garuda Fights a Snake
Garuda Fights a Snake
Detail from a Kavi art mural

© Vikas Kamat
Vishnu Riding Garuda
Vishnu Riding Garuda
Detail from a pillar in Melukote, Karnataka

© K.L.Kamat
Garuda the Mythical Bird
Garuda the Mythical Bird
Detail from a South Indian Painting

© K.L.Kamat
Garuda Carrying Lord Vishnu
Garuda Carrying Lord Vishnu
Detail from Mysore Traditional Painting

© K.L.Kamat
Snakes and Garuda
Snakes and Garuda
Detail from a temple mural

© Vikas Kamat
Garuda, the King of Birds
Garuda, the King of Birds
Detail from a Garuda Pillar, Goa

© Vikas Kamat
Mythological Painting
Mythological Painting
From Left to Right: Garuda, Rama or Vishnu, Sita or Lakshmi and Hanuman

© K.L.Kamat
Garuda, Vishnu and Anjaneya
Garuda, Vishnu and Anjaneya
Fabric Art, Mysore

© Vikas Kamat
Icon of Garuda
Icon of Garuda
Srirangapattana Temple Artifact, Karnataka

First Created: Friday, May 30, 2008
Last Updated: 6/1/2008 8:51:19 AM


Pictures of Old Mysore DasaraDurable Link to this BLOG
The walls of Mysore Royal Palace, contain beautiful paintings of the festivities as celebrated during the rule of Mysore Maharajas. One can fathom the old glory of Mysore Dasara, due to the life-like depcitions.

© K. L. Kamat
Chariot Procession of Chamundi Goddess
Chariot Procession

© K. L. Kamat
Citizens Gathered for Dasara Procession
Citizens of Mysore Gathered to Witness Dasara Procession

© K. L. Kamat
Palanquin Procession
The Palanquin procession

© K. L. Kamat
Elephant Pulled Car
Elephant Pulled Car
Important Office-bearers of the Court following the Procession

© K. L. Kamat
Attire of Noblemen of Mysore
Eminent Citizens Witnessing Dasara
Many leaders can indeed be identified from these paintings

© K. L. Kamat
Horse-mounted Officials
Horse Mounted Officials
The Mysore Dasara was culmination of a months of work by the beaurocrats to put a a fantastic celebration.

At the Mysore Dasara
A View of Dasara Procession
Notice the parading soldiers and the candy vendor chasing flies with a stick.

© K. L. Kamat
Parade of Soldiers
The Parade of Jawans

© K. L. Kamat
The Elephant Mounted King
Maharaja on the Royal Elephant
For the wards of the kingdom, an view of the ruler was the climax of their festivities.

See Also:
• The Elephants of Mysore Dasara

First Created: Thursday, September 28, 2006
Last Updated: 9/28/2006 4:13:01 PM
Tags: mysore_dasara


India's Lost Professions -IDurable Link to this BLOG
Kalaigars or vessel-shiners were once a common sight on the streets of India. They made a living by establishing kilns by roadsides and applying a fresh shiny coat of metal over old and stained vessels.

After the arrival of stainless steel, and aluminum, the cooking vessels made out of lead and tin fell out of favor, due to their weight, and high maintenance.

The Kalaigar community, who used to inherit their profession, lost their means of livelihood and had to take to other menial jobs.

Here are two photographs to remember a lost profession of India.

© K. L. Kamat
Roadside Kalaigar (Dish Polisher)

Corel Professional Photo
Blacksmiths working, Jaipur

See Also:
• Real Jobs - Photographic Exhibition of Hard Labor

First Created: Friday, September 15, 2006
Last Updated: 6/6/2009 7:37:27 PM


The Color YellowDurable Link to this BLOG
Following is a collection of pictures depicting the role and use of color yellow in Indian culture.

Golden Oil Lamps (<i>diyas</i>)
Yellow Metal
Golden Oil Lamps from India

Deep Fried Vegetarian Snacks
Crispy and Tasty Yellow
Deep fried food with chickpea base is very popular in India.

Picturesue Sand Dunes, Rajasthan
Yellow Dessert
Picture of Sand Dunes in Rajasthan

The Yellow Fruit
The Yellow Fruit

A Ripe Mango
The Other Yellow Fruit

Illustrated Palm Leaf Text
Yellowed Treasures of India
Illustrated Palm Leaf Text, Saraswati Museum, Tanjore

Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar (1919-1974)
Yellow for Richness
Painting of a Indian prince in shiny golden clothing

See Also:
• The Color Red
• The Color Green

First Created: Sunday, February 19, 2006
Last Updated: 2/19/2006 5:56:53 PM


Stories the Torn Shirts TellDurable Link to this BLOG
Stories the Torn Shirts Tell

Today let us look at pictures featuring torn shirts and the stories they tell.

© K. L. Kamat
How many torn shirts does it take to make one torn shirt?
How many torn shirts does it take to make one torn shirt?

This amazing photograph of a mystic shows a shirt that is in fact stitched from numerous torn shirts. Known as Gudadasais, the mystics live a life of chosen poverty.

K.L.Kamat
Gond boy with Torn Shirt
Photograph of a boy belonging to the Gond tribe. The shirt is torn in either directions. But don't you miss the sparkle on his face.

© K. L. Kamat
A Weaver at Sriniketan Campus
Cloth maker affords no shirt!
Torn shirt of a weaver at Sriniketan. A very ironical photograph. Don't you think?

© K. L. Kamat
African Indian Boy in Torn Shirt
African Indian Boy in Torn Shirt

© K. L. Kamat
Torn Shirt of a Siddi Boy
Torn Shirt of a Siddi Boy

And the photographer Kamat himself in a torn under-shirt.

Kamat at his Residence
Lived in Underwear, Died in Underwear
Throughout his life, Kamat lived a life of extreme simplicity.

Kamat loved his old underwear; the older the better. He wore the long, custom stitched Indian boxers made from Binny's blue casement cotton, and thick cotton banians. They were modest, and that's what he wore at home all the time, and refused to wear presentable clothing even when he had visitors; that's perhaps his most enduring image. One of his sisters thought it was befitting that Kamat even died in them. The photograph shows Kamat in a torn undershirt.

See Also:
• Indian Attire

First Created: Tuesday, October 19, 2004
Last Updated: 8/20/2008 9:23:54 AM


Mother's DayDurable Link to this BLOG
© K. L. Kamat
Halakki Tribal Woman and Her Child
Happy Mother's Day!

Photograph taken in 1987 of a mother belonging to Halakki tribal community.

See Also:

• Mother and Child: Pictorial Exhibition
• Halakki Farmers of Indian West Coast

First Created: Wednesday, May 05, 2004
Last Updated: 5/5/2004 4:28:48 PM


The Mirror ProjectDurable Link to this BLOG
Mirrors inspire us in ways few others do.

Here's an exhibition of pictures from our archive depicting use of mirrors.

© K. L. Kamat
Ancient Mirrors from India
Ancient Mirrors from India

© K. L. Kamat
Man using a broken mirror to shave
Man using a broken mirror to shave

© K. L. Kamat
A damsel admires herself in a mirror
A damsel admires herself in a mirror

© K. L. Kamat
A Groom Getting Ready for his Wedding
A Groom Getting Ready for his Wedding

© K. L. Kamat
Sharing  of the Mirror
Sharing of the Mirror
Three sisters getting ready simultaneouly by sharing a mirror

Internet Link:
• The Mirror Project - adventures in reflective surfaces.

First Created: Tuesday, August 26, 2003
Last Updated: 8/26/2003

 

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Artist Dressing up as a Woman In the Yakshagana Greenroom…Man putting on a sareeFour Panels of the Dodda-maluru Hero-stoneMasked Man Belonging to Muria Tribe
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