The little earthenware lamp will never go out of style. For Deepavali, AYESHA MATTHAN checks out the options — from the striking to the simple
Far from all the glitzy, multi-coloured electric lights hanging in every shop, are gentle, earthy diyas lit up at homes and offices. They beckon you with their soft, subdued lighting flickering in the breeze. You take care not to step on it, placed with the rangoli at the entrance or in the puja room. Diyas have over the years, shed their earthy burnt clay colours to acquire a more dressy look. Adorned with sequins, beads and colourful paints, diyas come in different forms, much like the festive season itself, which has become an occasion to discard the old for the new and dressing up.
While diyas have taken a noisier and brighter, fluorescent form in crackers post industrialisation; they still remain the essential spirit of the season. For those to also like to celebrate the festival in a quiet, memorable way, diyas signify the soul of Deepavali.
From shining and solid to ethnic and multi-hued, the different diyas displayed in shops around the city cater to individual tastes. Contemporary Arts and Crafts at 2nd Cross, Victoria Layout, stocks diyas that are spell tasteful in a variety of wonderful ways.
You can choose to go beyond the traditional earthen diyas or add to the effect by buying candles and candle-stands. Ball-shaped candles in different colours — gold, black, red, silver and green could have you choose colour themes and arrangement.
Or present a gift pack of perfume sachets, miniature rose-shaped candles and incense sticks of different scents for Rs. 520. The ceramic candles painted in blues and yellows with flower motifs, make for pretty, long-lasting gifts as they could still be displayed on your coffee table or mantelpiece long after the wax has burnt out. In packs of two or single, and shaped like stars, this collection is limited — so grab your pair for Rs. 190 now. There are floating lotus candles to place in a bowl of water or pond for Rs. 120, and tiny beaded candle packs with mirror work in blue, green and purple for Rs. 120. The half-cut lemon candle for Rs. 120 is for those with a taste for the quirky, and there are tea lights placed in bigger conical boxes for Rs. 320.
Home Stop, Magrath Road has a small separate display of diyas as soon as you enter. Ekam with their muted shades of purple, blue, yellow green candles in different scents are priced at Rs. 49 each, the bigger brown clay lamps with little mirrors stuck on them are Rs. 375, there are Chinese porcelain look alike candles at Rs. 300 and Rs. 500 for a cross-border look. Tiny thali diyas painted in different shades and designs remind one of painting flower pots as a child!
There are terracotta diyas with intricate designs priced at Rs. 90 a pack.
The Candle Shop, K. Kamaraj Road is bursting at its seams with an array of diyas. Piles and piles of different shapes and sizes, colours and designs decorate the shop — from chakras to star-shaped diyas — the range is wide.
Westside on Commercial Street has a limited collection of pot-shaped diyas and lights, but the best way to light up this Diwali would be to buy a tiny diya for Rs. 10 to light up a child’s life. Proceeds will go to an NGO. Central Cottage Industries Emporium on M.G. Road is having a sale on their hand-made diyas, made by rural artisans from North India, available in sets of two, three or six and single diyas.
For solid, gleaming diyas and lamps, meant for temples and homes, are the eclectic brass range at Banday Brothers at the end of Commercial Street. Solid and ornamental, these are pieces that you will treasure for life and polish with pleasure. Starting from a tiny diya at Rs. 60, the prices go up to Rs. 1,000, with conventional designs and pure shapes.
So this Deepavali, help an NGO to bring light to a child’s eye by purchasing a diya made by them or simply, buy these earthy, bio-degradable terracotta or clay diyas and bring both light and colour to your home.
Light a lamp
Contemporary Arts and Crafts for delicate diyas
Banday Brothers for gleaming brass diyas and lamps
The Candle Shop for decorative multi-coloured thali diyas
Central Cottage Industries Emporium for hand-made terracotta diyas
Westside to light up a child’s life
Home Stop for scented candles