EXHIBITION ‘Karthigai' calls and you can make a new buy of lamps at the ‘Poompuhar deepam show'

T he Tamil festival of lights is fast approaching and with deepams radiating divinity, the whole city will be decked bright. The tradition of adding new lamps every year for ‘Karthigai' is still alive and people pick the most unconventional designs.

The Poompuhar showroom under the Tamil Nadu Handicrafts Development Corporation has organized ‘Karthigai Deepam exhibition-cum-sale at its outlet in Madurai. The varieties of vilakkus and decorative deepams are awesome, with many new arrivals in all sizes and prices. ‘Karthigai' can never be without a ‘kuthuvilakku'.

These lamps as tall as five feet from Madurai, Nachiyarkoil and Vahaikulam are kept on display. According to showroom manager, Mr. Ganesan, these are some of the country's best lamps, known for alloy-strength and design-intricacy. Of course, the exhibition also stocks the ubiquitous earthen lamps, for Rs.Six each. The coloured ‘chuttis' come in sets of four for Rs.25.

“Though serial lights and wax lamps have taken over the traditional brass and clay ones, only oil lit lamps reflect the true sense of the festival” feels, Parvatham, a homemaker.

A wide range of aradhana lamps are also on sale. ‘Ratha deepam' and ‘kodi deepam' with many branches and 108 lamps, ‘Meenakshi kilai vilakku' and ‘Annam kilai lamp' are the highlights. Other attractive deal is the ‘Adukku deepam' with numerous plates of five, seven and nine faces.

The inevitable ‘maada vilakku' and ‘agal vilakku' also come in new designs. ‘Pradosha deepam', ‘navagraha', ‘Ambika' and ‘ashtalakshmi' deepams are the latest arrivals. You can also check out the terracotta-made magic lamp and brass made ‘thundamani' lamp that has a capacity of half litre oil and can be on for hours together.

“Some believe lighting certain lamps with a particular deity in the design will bring good luck,” explains Ganesan, pointing to a lamp with the ‘holy cross', made for Christians.

Some out-of-the-box options are the ‘thongu vilakkus' or hanging lamps, in heavy brass. Similar varieties come in panchaloha also for a higher price. A pair of pure brass ‘paavai vilakkus' for Rs.88,000 can be a real splurge. The exhibition, on till November 20, stocks over 500 varieties, and is open from 10 a.m. to 1.p.m and 3 a.m. to 8 p.m.

A. SHRIKUMAR

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