Video: Weaving Jaaii Flowers


During recent travels, I was visiting relatives in Honavar, Karnataka – a sleepy coastal town south of Kumta (see google map below). I had stopped by a family store to add money to my pre-paid cell phone. There, this older gentleman was weaving these delicate pink buds called jaaii-che kaLo. These buds only sprout after the monsoon rains (June – August), have a delicate fragrance and are highly sought after during the festival season in July-September. It was a simple, yet mesmerizingly beautiful weave and he agreed to let me record it on my flip video. Continue reading “Video: Weaving Jaaii Flowers”

Flower Sellers at Dadar

pictures of Young girls selling roses at the Dadar Flower Market, Mumbai by Arun Shanbhag

Few years ago I wrote about the Dadar Flower Market, in Mumbai. Tucked under the bridge next to the Dadar train Station, like alien slime it oozes into adjoining alleys and walkways, filling every doorway and cranny. So jam-packed, my cousin cautioned, “don’t even try to put your hand in your pocket, it will go in someone else’s.” Aaargh! Only in Mumbai. Continue reading “Flower Sellers at Dadar”

Kumta: Jewel of the Konkan

pics of fresh vegetables and fruits market in Kumta by Arun Shanbhag
On every visit to India, I follow a similar schedule. We head to Goa to pay our respects at the Ramnathi Devasthan in Ponda. From there we head south along the coast to Kumta.

Kumta is a sleepy township. The busiest part of town is Main Street, called paent, which is only a few blocks long. The place for any and all your shopping. Its where all the locals 'hang-out' too. There is not much else to do in Kumta. Rest and relax.

And best of all – I get to speak konkani all over town! My konkani is good enough, I easily pass off as “from Mumbai” (which is not incorrect)! Yes, every shop-owner, rickshaw driver, stall-wallah, lady selling vegetables, and their brother speaks Konkani. 🙂 So even among strangers, I feel at home.

In the mornings, the local market is buzzing. It's only a few rows of vegetables and fruits. And not surprisingly, friendly folks and juicy vegetable and fruits everywhere.

Join me for a short tour of the Kumta Vegetable Market!
Continue reading “Kumta: Jewel of the Konkan”

Mangeshi Devasthan, Goa

This follows a longer write-up on the Ramnathi Devasthān.

The Mangeshi Devasthān in Goa is a crown jewel of Konkani Temples. The an-iconic form of Shiva, the linga representing Mangesh, was originally in the ancient temple of Kushastali (Cortalim, Salcete Taluka). When the Portuguese destroyed the original temple in 1561, the linga was relocated across the Zuari River near other konkani temples. The current temple was constructed on land donated by a devotee in the mid- 1800’s and has been renovated several times.

Continue reading “Mangeshi Devasthan, Goa”

Flower Sellers at the Ramnathi Temple, Goa

photos of women selling flowers at the Ramnathi Devasthan Temple Goa by Arun Shanbhag

In March, I posted a photo essay on the Flower Sellers at the Dadar Flower Market. These beautiful people, with little material belongings, seemed so content with their lives. That left a lasting impression. Continue reading “Flower Sellers at the Ramnathi Temple, Goa”

Dadar Flower Market – A Photo Essay

Flowers sellers in Dadar Mumbai during Ganapati by Arun Shanbhag
In our home in Colaba, the five day Ganapati utsav (festival) is the biggest family event of the year. Our entire joint family comes together making it very festive. For our daily flower decorations, one of us goes to the Dadar Flower Market every morning to buy flowers. After bringing them home, the women gather together and weave them into spectacular garlands and various other decorations. September 2002 was the last time I was home for Ganapati and one morning, I volunteered to go with my sister-in-law to the flower market. We took the train from Churchgate to Dadar and the flowers sellers are camped right outside the station under the bridge and packed into the nearby alleys. I mean, jam- packed – you move sideways leading with your shoulder, smile and squeeze your way forward.

Please read this newer post on the Flower Sellers at Dadar, from a recent visit

There are flowers everywhere. Marigolds heaped on tarpaulins on the ground and sold by weight, champae in tiny baskets and sold by the number and delicately wrapped in broad leaves, the dazzling array of long streamers, as well as the colour co-ordinated gajras of mesmerizing blooms, the cacophony of the sellers and buyers screaming and jostling all contributed to a spectacular audio visual symphony. It was an exquisitely delightful experience, one that I am sure to revisit in the near future.

More than the colorful flowers, the smiles on the flower sellers stayed in my mind. From the woman sitting cross-legged on the ground weaving busily, to the young men weighing the flowers, the older gentleman convincing you to buy the garlands, to the young lady with matted hair selling fragrant lotuses – they all had beaming smiles on their faces.
Continue reading “Dadar Flower Market – A Photo Essay”

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