It’s time for Christmas and I am planning to get out the tree in a day or two. But this time around, I am going to decorate the tree with a few Indian decorations. As the festival is incomplete without the jingling bells, here is what I found in Kutch last weekend.
The villages of Zura and Nirona are well known for their bell making. The craftsmen belong to the community of Luhars, who brought the craft with them from Sindh. Primarily used to identify herds, these bells are now used widely in decorative accessories. Luhar Siddik Husen’s family has been practising this craft through generations. His very enterprising son has introduced some interesting designs using this craft.
While writing this post, I did some research on the acoustics of bells and here is what I found on www.msu.edu. “The bell is more complex acoustically than any other vibrating body intended for musical purposes, and its manufacture presents a formidable challenge. It’s cup shaped design produces an array of frequencies which, if not controlled, would prevent any harmonious blending of tone when two or more bells are heard simultaneously. Consequently, proportions must be determined that will result in frequencies and their amplitudes considered desirable in a musical bell.”
There are 13 sizes in all, starting from the small one that a goat wears to bigger ones for cattle. The precision is evident while they are played in succession, the first eight bells resonate the sa-re-ga-ma-pa-da-ne-sa.
Made using scarp sheet, this craft is as eco-friendly as it can get. The entire bell is hand cut and joined using very basic tools. There is no welding in the piece. Each bell has 3 distinct parts, the dome, the lower cylinder and the hook on the top.
Once the parts are joined, they are covered with earth, sprinkled with some copper dust and the pieces are fused together in the furnace.
Once outside the furnace, they get their copper tinge with a beautiful patina that can only be achieved with something handcrafted. They are bent a little at the edges, the bend giving them that resonating sound. A wooden piece is attached to the bell.
This beautiful piece of craft resonates with such clarity. The echo is music to the ears.
So this Christmas, let your tree and your spirit echo the sound of these bells from Nirona. To buy these bells, click here