Vrindavan, 2014.08.05 (DJ): Vrindavan, 2014.08.05 (DJ): Krishna Janmashtami is drawing near and around the world, deity forms of Krishna will be dressed in clothes made here in Vrindavan.
According to those businesses dealing in deity clothing, they receive orders for their products from every corner of India as well as from many other countries around the world. Many of these orders are meant to supply temples so that their deities can have new clothes for Janmashtami. This year, it seems that there is a great demand for deity clothes that incorporate peacock feathers.
Besides clothes, crowns and other decorations are made here in Vrindavan.
Krishna’s playground Sri Dham Vrindavan is a city of temples, and along with that has grown a supporting infrastructure making those products that are required for temple worship. And because this is such a center for deity worship, it follows naturally that the expertise and products found here are in demand wherever there are temples of Krishna, whether in India and now, more and more, in other countries. After all, for any temple anywhere to have clothes for their deity that are made in the Holy Dham is considered to be a source of pride and faith.
Every year around the time of Janmashtami artisans working in the deity garment industry are increasingly busy filling orders. They have to work night and day sewing and embroidering in order to complete their work before Krishna’s birthday. It is a labor intensive industry.
At one such workshop, owners Pawan and Vamshi Babu said that demand always increases around Janmashtami time. They said that this year they are getting a lot of orders for flashy colors and for clothes modeled on peacock feathers. Workers are being paid overtime wages to compensate them for the hard work required in filling the orders.
In Vrindavan there are approximately 50 such workshops employing more than a thousand artisans doing this kind of work, many of them Muslims from the Mathura Gate area of town.
The total value of the industry to the local economy was estimated at two crore rupees ten years ago, and has likely much increased since then. It appears that when everyone can participate in a growing economy without discrimination, then communal anxiety is much reduced.
Competition between the various businesses is strong, as each workshop looks for ways to distinguish itself from its competitors. This makes the best artisans much sought after as they try to find ways to satisfy a wide range of customers.
Though the clothing can be of any color, it seems that green is preferred this year. Every year styles change somewhat and the artisans have to keep up with the wishes of their clients.
One businessman selling deity clothes, Purushottam Sharma, says that a new design that is popular uses real peacock feathers with brocaded silk, and when Laddu Gopal wears it, it seems that he is disguising himself as a peacock, fanning his tail. This look has caught on and is much in demand this year. But beside this, brocade designs, sequins, stars, and mirrors are all popular with devotees.
Another workshop is Shri Radha Madhav Shringar Kendra in Dusayat, near the Radha Sineha Bihari temple. One of the newer workshops in the business, it was founded only a little more than eight years ago, but already has many international customers from Hungary, America, Poland, Great Britain, Australia, Russia, Africa, and other countries. And although some of these customes are Iskcon temples or disciples, they also have customers from other temples in India and outside, like Swami Narayan, Birla temples and the Gaudiya Maths.
The founder of Radha Madhava Shringar Kendra, Sonu Ramani, attributes some of the success to his use of the internet, with a successful e-commerce website Mukut Poshak. “This has taken us from being a single shop in Vrindavan into a business that caters to global buyers,” he said.
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