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Âbha

Âbha
India - 2014

Rajasthani girl covered with a traditional veil. Her name means beauty.

The Rajasthani people are the native inhabitants of Rajasthan ("the land of kings"). The origin of Rajasthanis has largely fallen into oblivion for there are no surviving written records from ancient times. Rajasthani society is a blend of predominantly Hindus with sizable minorities of Muslims and Jains, traditionally known as Jain Dharma. Jain Dharma is an ancient Indian religion, the central tenet being non-violence and love towards all living beings. Rajasthanis form an ethno-linguistic group that is distinct in its language, history, cultural and religious practices, social structure, literature, and art. However, there are many different castes and communities, with diversified traditions of their own.

 

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Traditionally men wear dhotis, kurta, angarkha and paggar or safa (a kind of turban). Traditional Chudidar payjama (puckered trousers) frequently replaces dhoti in different regions. Women wear ghagra (long skirt) and kanchli (top). Dress style changes with lengths and breaths of vast Rajasthan.

Rajasthan is also famous for its amazing ornaments. From ancient times, Rajasthani people have been wearing jewelry of various metals and materials. Traditionally, women wore Gems-studded gold and silver ornaments. Historically, silver or gold ornaments were used for interior decoration stitched on curtains, seat cushions, handy-crafts, etc. Wealthy Rajasthanis used Gems-studded gold and silver on swords, shields, knives, pistols, cannon, doors, thrones, etc., reflecting the importance of ornaments in lives of Rajasthanis.

I had the opportunity to visit rural Rajasthan while documenting the rural solar electrification project developed and implemented by Barefoot College, an international NGO whose mission it is to train women to become solar engineers and teach them how to electrify their remote villages in some of the most under-developed areas of the world. I couldn't resist taking these photos of their everyday life.

 

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