[L] Leather that weathers in Pushkar |#atozchallenge 2017|

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Do you know what these are? I didn’t at first when I chanced upon them as I was meandering the streets of Pushkar. But these leather object caught my attention for sure. In fact the whole of Pushkar streets was filled with shops full of items made out of leather in all shades, shapes and hues.

I cautiously approached the elderly gentleman in this shop who seemed to welcome my curiosity and invited me to stick around and see him make one. His children were engaged in the entire process too – kind of like an assembly line where each had a specific task to perform. I was impressed that his next-gen was interested in this traditional family trade.
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Oh btw these are called छागर in Marwari which I think he said means goat but this object is actually a Leather water bag.

Boggled?!!!

I was too.

How can leather hold water?

All my leather shoes and bags hate water and develop stains and blotches if it dares come close!!!!
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He patiently heard my tirade against water inflicted damage on my precious (read expensive) stuff before explaining that leather is non porous so it’s perfect to hold water. In some areas the innards of a goats ( or a cow or a sheep)  stomach is used to make the bottle while here in Rajasthan they use camel leather which is of course available in abundance.
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The leather is softened and stretched for a period of time beforehand. Sheets are cut out of it which are then stitched together to form the rhomboid shaped bottle which easily lies flat on the back or side of a person carrying it, making it easy to cart it while traversing the hot desert. (They think of anthropology too while making this item – talk about product design )

The beauty of it, the water stays cool inside this bottle by default.

I loved the detailing being stitched onto the bottle. A central leather strip (leather can be stained into different colours) which is of a vibrant hue is used to beautify the look. Check out the tools for the same.
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The leather strip had some metal pins tacked onto it in a pattern to make it look pretty. The pattern and number of pins vary at the creativity and discretion of the maker!
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Aren’t these extremely dexterous and creative craftsmen? An object of daily use is being beautified to please the eye, aesthetics mattered and how! I am sure the extra detailing doesn’t fetch more money. The craft is being handed down to the next generation who is equally well versed in it.

Such insights of rural life is what really makes my travel a rich one. How about you? Ever been witness to a village craft being brought to Life.

“The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton


Fact File

  • Pushkar camel fare is a very popular annual event that takes place in Pushkar, Rajasthan.
  • Scarcity of water in the desert region calls for hardy water storage pouches to carry over long distance.
  • Camel leather is used to make a variety of crafts objects like diaries, bags, belts, jackets, etc.

Mother mad M will be up tomorrow

For the uninitiated, AtoZ challenge is a blogging challenge wherein one has to write on every alphabet from A to Z and post on all days of April, except Sundays. Usually its better to devise a theme as it makes it easy to write the posts. Readers have a reason to stay hooked too.

The A to Z Challenge is created by Arlee Bird of Tossing it Out
and co-hosted by

Alex J. Cavanaugh of Alex J. Cavanaugh

Jeremy Hawkins of Hollywood Nuts

Heather M. Gardner of The Waiting is the Hardest Part
Zalka Csenge Virág of The Multicolored Diary

John Holton of The Sound of One Hand Typing

J Lenni Dorner of Blog of J. Lenni Dorner

A2Z-BADGE-2017-blogging-challenge-theme-reveal-travel-stories-picture-speaks-louder-than-words-april-shalzmojosays

You can catch some other posts on Pushkar here:

A foodie Heaven

Japanese Kalbelia dancers

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26 thoughts on “[L] Leather that weathers in Pushkar |#atozchallenge 2017|

  1. I have heard of the bag, but didn’t remember its name. Very interesting. I didn’t know leather bags could hold water either, honestly. I wonder if it is expensive too…

  2. I went to Pushkar this year and was there on the first day of fair. Was fascinated by the lovely leather and other art work.Also remember the amazing swords and knifes on display with similar aesthetically done artistry.
    Lucky

  3. Good to know that the next generation is interested in continuing the trade. Pictures complimented narration making the post all the more interesting.
    I remember having seen and having used one during our long travels, specially in summers. We called it “chagal”. We used to hang it outside the window of our railway compartment. But with the advent of thermos water bottles / flasks, it has taken the back seat. Thats little sad part of it.
    ————————————————
    Anagha From Team MocktailMommies
    Collage Of Life

    1. Yes Chagal or chaggar which are the local words for them. Remember the movie Paheli where AB sr puts the ghost SRK into a chaggar? That’s wgat this reminded me of!!! I am now wishing I had bought one for myself…maybe next time 🙂

    1. I think the temperatures touch 60 deg Celsius and more in the Thar Desert in India… So yeah these leather pouches are a boon. 🙂

  4. I would never identify it as leather if you wouldn’t have written here. Do you know, Kanpur is also famous for leather? It goes to all parts of the country and exported overseas as well… !

    Cheers
    Geets recently posted…M- unabashed MotherMy Profile

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