Lac Bangles, pronounced as Laakh (लाख) Bangles, have a rich history that dates back to centuries. The origins of Lac Bangles can be traced to ancient India. Lac Bangles are primarily handmade by skilled artisans, who have inherited the craft through generations. While searching for a Lac Bangle maker, I came across a decades old shop by the name of "Chudi Chamke" in the walled city area of Udaipur. Chudi Chamke has a distinguished reputation for its commitment to the craft of making Lakh Bangles and has diligently preserved the artistry and tradition of Lakh Bangles, keeping the cultural heritage alive. For generations, the shop has upheld the legacy of creating and showcasing these exquisite bangles.
Lac bangles are typically crafted by skilled artisans known as "Lakhara" or "Lacquer Bangle Makers." These artisans possess specialized knowledge and techniques passed down through generations. They often belong to specific communities or families that have been involved in the craft for centuries. “Chudi Chamke” has been in this business since 1980. This family-run business is managed by Suresh Chandra Lakhara and his wife Amba Devi along with their sons Manoj and Shyam and daughter in laws Uma and Sangeeta.
The Lakhara Family Of Udaipur, Rajasthan
At "Chudi Chamke," visitors can explore a vast assortment of Bangles beyond Lac Bangles. The shop offers a diverse selection that includes Plastic Bangles, Mirror Bangles, Brass Bangles, and Chemical Bangles. This wide variety ensures that customers have an array of choices to suit their preferences and style. Customers have the option to choose from a stunning variety of approximately 11 vibrant colours for their Lac Bangles.
Colours Of Lakh Bangles
Wide Variety of Bangles at "Chudi Chamke" Shop, Udaipur
The Lac Bangles stall of the Lakhara family has gained widespread recognition and popularity among luxury hotels in Udaipur, including Udaivillas, Oberoi, Trident, Leela Palace, Ananta, Taj Aravalli, City Palace, and many more. Their reputation has led to frequent requests from renowned hotels in the city to set up their stall.
In addition, Amba Devi, the mother of the Lakhara family, has had the privilege of visiting the home of Lakshyaraj Singh Ji Mewar, a member of the esteemed erstwhile royal family of Udaipur in Rajasthan, on multiple occasions. She presented Lac Bangles to the princesses of his family during various royal processions.
During the annual Gangaur festival held in Udaipur, the Lakhara community organizes a grand Ceremonious Fair. This vibrant event features the decoration of idols representing Lord Shiva and Gauri, adorned with magnificent jewellery. Among the array of accessories, the Lac Bangles hold a significant place in the adornment of these idols.
Story of Lac Bangles
As fables go, once upon a time, in the celestial realm of the Gods, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati resided together. They were the epitome of divine love and complemented each other in every way. One day, Parvati expressed her desire to play a game of dice with Shiva, hoping to engage in a competition and spend quality time with her beloved.
Intrigued by her request, Shiva agreed, and they began their game. However, Shiva, being an exceptional player, won each round effortlessly. Parvati, determined to win, playfully proposed a wager. She bet that if she won the next round, Shiva would have to adorn himself with countless bangles made of lac, a resinous material commonly used for making jewellery. Shiva, amused by Parvati's request, accepted the challenge with a smile. Surprisingly, she emerged victorious, much to Shiva's delight. True to his word, Shiva agreed to wear the lac bangles as a mark of his defeat. From that day forward, it is believed that Shiva continues to wear the Lac bangles, not only as a reminder of his playful defeat but also as a tribute to the sacred bond he shares with Parvati. Their story serves as an inspiration to devotees and lovers alike, reminding them of the beauty and power of love, trust, and mutual respect in a divine relationship.
According to numerous scholars and believers, a tale unfolds in ancient mythology, recounting the divine nuptials between Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. One notable element of this celestial union revolves around the extraordinary wedding gift bestowed upon the radiant Goddess. It is widely believed that Lord Shiva presented Goddess Parvati with a magnificent set of Lac bangles. Hence, there are many stories behind these Bangles.
Lac bangles hold deep cultural and symbolic significance in Indian society. They are considered auspicious and are an integral part of Indian weddings and festivals, especially for married women. Lac bangles are believed to bring good fortune, prosperity, and marital bliss to the wearer. They are often worn as a symbol of marital status and are passed down through generations as family heirlooms.
The craftsmanship involved in creating Lac bangles is intricate and requires expertise and attention to detail. Artisans utilise various techniques, including moulding, carving, and embellishment, to create these beautiful accessories.
The process of making Lac bangles involves several intricate steps. The artisans first melt the raw lac resin and pour it into moulds to create the Bangle's shape. Once cooled and solidified, the bangles are carefully removed from the moulds and polished using sandpaper to achieve a smooth surface. Artisans then decorate the bangles using various techniques such as painting, carving, embellishing with stones, and applying gold or silver foil.
What is Lac
Plant sucking insects known as Laccifer Lacca, Carteria Lacca, and Tachardia gather on a selected tree. These crimson red creatures produce natural scarlet resin known as Lac. To fashion the Lakh Bangles, this vibrant resin undergoes purification process and is mixed with colours.
Making of Lac Bangles
The Lakhara Family's stall made appearances in several high-profile weddings. They were present at Bollywood actress Raveena Tandon's grand wedding, held at the majestic City Palace. Their exquisite bangles stall also graced the wedding of renowned south actor Chiranjeevi back in the year 2000. Another notable event where they set up their stall was at the wedding of Hansika Motwani's brother, which took place at the Royal Retreat in Udaipur. They also had the honour of crafting bangles for Jaya Prada, a renowned film actress, in an event at Chunda Palace in Udaipur.
Jaya Prada, Film Actress
Significance of Lac in Mahabharat
In the epic battle of Mahabharata, the significance of lac (lacquer) is intertwined with a treacherous event known as the "Lakshagriha" or the "House of Lac". This incident played a crucial role in shaping the destiny of the Kuru dynasty and its eventual outcome.The Lakshagriha was a palace made entirely of Lac, constructed by the Kauravas, the eldest branch of the Kuru dynasty, led by Duryodhana. The intention behind building this palace was to lure and eliminate the Pandavas, their cousins and rivals for the throne.
Over the centuries, Lac bangles have evolved in terms of designs, styles, and techniques across different regions of India. Each region has its own distinct aesthetic and craftsmanship. For example, the lac bangles of Rajasthan are known for their vibrant colours and intricate enamel work. Famous design of Rajasthan is "Lehariya". Today, Lac bangles continue to be popular in Rajasthan and are sought after by locals as well as tourists for their exquisite craftsmanship and cultural significance. Artisans work tirelessly to preserve this traditional craft and keep the legacy of Lac bangles alive.