Last of my Hyderabad walk was in the streets of the Old city in Hyderabad – Laad Bazaar and the small lanes around it. Anyone who has ever visited these lanes knows how every corner shines and shimmers. Bangles in all colors along with garments in complimenting combinations vie for your attention. I had specifically gone to learn how Khada Dupatta – a garment that typically belongs to the city, is draped. Of course, once you are in Laad Bazaar there is no way you can miss the Lacquer or Lac Bangles.
Laad Bazaar, Hyderabad
First look as I walked into the street with my camera clicking away to glory and the first thought that crossed my mind was ‘Is this the Bling of Hyderabad’. Everywhere the lehengas, dupattas, saris and khada dupattas in bright colors with even more shining work on them sparkled competing to catch your eye. I stepped into a few shops and asked them to show me Khada dupatta. Based on what I was wearing and my demeanor they had serious doubts if I wanted to buy one. So I chose honesty and told them that I am trying to get to know things that are unique to Hyderabad. And Khada Dupatta being one of them. One of them obliged and helped me drape one around me. And let me have the feel of holding 6+ meters of clothes balanced on both of my shoulders.
I was told that for the bride there are another 2 meters that have to be balanced on the head. Along with this 6 meters and the 4 meters that go into the making of Kurti and Pajama. The material used is light enough though so weight-wise it is not too bad. If you roam in the by-lanes you can see many people doing embroidery. And pasting stones on these dupattas, mostly by hand.
For the bangles, I went into the lanes looking for those who make them. And in various chunks got to see the whole process. To begin with, the raw metal bangles are given proper circular shapes. Lac is then heated over burning embers and the desired color added to it. Small stripes of Lac are rolled into the desired shape and size. Lac is then rolled around the metal bangles. These raw bangles are then hand rolled one by one to give a perfect shape. Then they go to workmen who add the zing to the bangle by pasting stones and sparkles in various designs.
One artisan explained me the difference between the lac bangles from Rajasthan and Hyderabad. He proudly said the craft that we have here in Hyderabad couldn’t be found elsewhere. Well, the more the bangles shine, the more they are likely to come from the lanes of Hyderabad. Shining sets of lac bangles are no wonder a brand for the city.
Effort & economy
As I saw small and big shops with men and women sitting around a small metal stove making bangles, and many more displaying them in the neat rows to entice the customers. I suddenly realized that these bangles are feeding many households. To me, jewelry and accessories always came across as frivolous things. Things that we can very much live without and things that belonged to someone else. It was roaming around in these streets and realizing the amount of effort that goes into making every single bangle and the number of families involved in this business, I suddenly wanted to pick up some. I did pick up a few. I am definitely more respectful towards them after this walk. For they are not just vanities but bread for many people working in that industry.
A highly recommended walk in Hyderabad.
Being a vegetarian the only food that I enjoy in Old City is Kesar Chai. But in this walk, I did come across sweet shops and Pani Puri vendors.