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It's lamps all the way

A blend of tradition and modernity. That's what the "Festival of Lamps" expo on at Poompuhar is all about


THE MONTH Karthigai has a special place in the Tamil calendar. Though Deepavali is called the "Festival of lights", it is during Karthigai that most people light up their homes in the State.

And Karthigai Deepam is the culmination of these festivities.

The ongoing "Festival of Lamps" exhibition at Poompuhar, the sales showroom of the Tamil Nadu Handicrafts Development Corporation (TNHDC), has come at the right time for those looking to add to their collection of lamps.

"Only during this occasion can one get to choose from a new array of lamps," says D Nirmala, who is scouting for lamps for her new home.


The expo has a lot of variety and offers a fine mix of the old and the new.

From the branch lamps to the thoondamani vilakku to the vaasamalai lamp, one can choose from an exhaustive range.

But, it is the branch lamps that hog all the `limelight'. One model of this lamp placed near the entrance is seven-and-a-half feet tall and costs a whopping Rs. 58, 000. There are smaller branch lamps as well.

Some of the lamps on display are meant for temples - the thoondaamani vilakku, vaasamaalai, and sanguchakra lakshmi lamps to name a few.

In the thoondamani vilakku, one doesn't get to see any oil, for it is stored in a separate ball-sized piece. This lamp is found in ancient temples, the organisers say.

"For Karthigai Deepam, new models are introduced as the demand is good," they say.

The vaasamalai, which resembles a garland, is usually placed near the garba griha (sanctum sanctorum) in temples.


Most of the lamps are made of brass and have been brought from the production units of TNHDC at Naachiyar Koil (near Kumbakonam), Madurai and Vaagai Kulam (near Tirunelveli).

The terracotta lamps are another attraction. Though only a small collection has been exhibited, it has managed to lure crowds.

Agal lamps, veena lamps, lotus lamps and terracotta horse lamps find a place in this section. The upper part of the veena lamp is shaped like the peacock.

These lamps come with wax and a small wick. After the wax is exhausted, one can use oil in these lamps.

The Ashtothra lakshmi lamp can hold up to 108 wicks. The figures of parrots, peacocks and swans have been beautifully engraved on it.

Some of the models are in good demand and have already been sold out.

In one end of the showroom, traditional lamps glow brightly; not with wicks but with small electric bulbs.

Hanging lamps, plain lamps, Malabar branch lamps and Moradabad brass lamps are also available.

The expo is open between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. till December 6.

M. ALLIRAJAN

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