As part of our travels back to Jaipur, we spent some time wandering through the markets with Naveli Choyal our photographer and spoke to some of the local artisans about their craft. Here we speak with Vishal about the process of creating these beautiful flower garlands, to understand their history, and how they are adorned in Jaipur.
There are so many vibrant colours in this flower market. Can you tell us a little about the history of flower garlands?
Historically garlands have been sought after for their fragrance and beauty; they are used to decorate houses, roads, streets and more. They were eventually related to Hindu deities and are an important and traditional role in every festival. Some of the flowers that are used include jasmine, champak, lotus, lily, Ashoka, Nerium/oleander, chrysanthemum, rose, hibiscus, and the pinwheel flower. With leaves including, maachi, paneer leaves, and lavancha also used in the garlands. One of the flower garlands women in India and Bangladesh wear in their hair during traditional festivals is called a gajra, and commonly made with jasmine.
They are also a big part of wedding ceremonies in India and on certain occasions given as a sign of respect.
Where did you learn how to make them?
Making garlands has been in my family for generations and I was taught by my father.
We source the flowers from the main market and then garland makers like myself usually make them in their shops which tend to be found in bustling markets or near temples, normally situated roadside which makes it easy for the public to shop.
Can you talk about some of the flowers used within the garlands?
Marigold and local rose variants are the most popular for us. Both are grown in nearby areas like Jamwa Ramgarh, Chomu, Kanota, Naila, etc.
Imported flowers like English rose, daisies, carnations, and orchids are also sold in this market but we don’t use them as much. They’re grown in places like Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh & routed via Delhi. However, we tend to only use seasonal flowers.
It’s not just flowers that are traded here, even leaves find their way in this bazaar and are used as decoration.
Do the different flowers have different meanings?
Garlands of marigold are hung for promising reasons and flowers are offered in rituals. Marigolds are a big part of festivals like Holi, Diwali, and wedding celebrations.
Rose garlands were sought after for their splendour as well as fragrance.
Lotus symbolises purity, enlightenment, self-regeneration, and rebirth.
Carnation is also known as flower of God. They are the flowers that live the longest when cut so we use them more often.
Where are garlands traditionally used and what do they symbolise?
Marigolds are the most common flower used for garlands, while the local rose is used for offerings to the deities in Hindu temples. Ashok leaves are used a lot along with marigold flowers.
Garlands hold special significance when it comes to day-to-day life, as they’re offered to deities and gods in the temples and used a lot in occasions such as wedding celebrations and Indian festivals like Holi and Diwali.