Kawad- mobile shrines


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At Bassi, Artisans of the Kumawat caste make a range of carved and painted objects, among which is the kavad, the portable shrine with multiple folding doors, each of which is painted with representations of epics and myths. These are used by the Kavadia Bhatt, the itinerant priests who narrate epics whilst simultaneously pointed to the appropriate illustrations on the kavad with a pointed to the appropriate illustrations on the kavad with a peacock feather.

The reading proceeds from the frontal panels to the inner until the tale is completed and the last panel is opened to grant the gathered viewers a darshan, glimpse, of the deity represented. The basic structure of the kavad is made of medium soft, low density wood-usually adusal, meetha neem or solar-the surface defects of which are filled with a mixture of sawdust and adhesive. The object is then dried and sanded and coated with khaddi, a type of soil found in Bhilwara district, which acts as a primer and gives the object a shell white hue. Previously, naturally derived colors were utilized but they have now been replaced with powder or poster colors that are mixed with gum and water and finished with a coat of transparent varnish.

Idols of the goddess Gangaur and Isar, the local names for Parvati and Lord Shiva, who are said to symbolize married couples and are used during the festivals of Teej and Gangaur. 

A kavad is a portable shrine with multiple folding doors that depicts stories from Hindu mythology.