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abahan stories

Bamboo Pankha

Bamboo Pankha

Tradition of eco-friendly living

abahan's photo
·Aug 25, 2022·

3 min read

State: Tripura

Location: Agartala


Some tribes in northeastern India have a belief that claims that ladders are used by all humans to descend to Earth. These ladders were made out of a variety of materials. Some people used the gold ladders, others the silver ones, and some were handed bamboo ladders to use as they dropped. Because their journeys were as unique as their worlds, those who arrived through bamboo ladders banded together to form a tribe and settled in Tripura.

The nation's hub for bamboo and cane handicrafts is this state. Furniture, kitchenware, hand-held fans, mats, baskets, idols, accessories, and objects for interior design are all made from bamboo, wood, and cane. Tripura's capital city, Agartala, is known for its exquisite and carefully designed crafts. They specialize in making numerous products out of gossamer-thin bamboo strips, including screens, baskets, false ceilings, wall panels, plaques, and planters. Solid, thinly split bamboo is pasted on plywood to create wall panels. Bamboo is turned on a hand lathe to create containers.

The weft of the bamboo mats is made of extremely finely split bamboo, and the warp is cotton yarn that has been dyed red. These mats are frequently used as table runners and window coverings. The finest bamboo splits, made by Tripurian artisans, are utilized as weft and weaved into cotton or polyester warps.

Unlike the shallow baskets made in the plains, a large number of the "Riang" and "Jamatia" hill tribes' culturally distinctive baskets and containers are tall and conical. They are used for transporting and storing grains and other products, such as, for example. They are made from bamboo splits in an open hexagonal or closed weave depending on their function. The "Riang tribe" uses a closed weave bamboo carrying basket to transport grain; a "Jamatia" open carrying basket is made entirely of outer splits of bamboo. The baskets' sides are reinforced by split bamboo. The basket's mouth is made broader by the change in weaving that occurs from the bottom to the top. Other items historically produced by the tribes include tukri, shallow storage baskets, and "Mudha" (stools).

Since 20 to 25 years ago, the tribes that formerly produced baskets, dalas (vegetable baskets), rice storage containers, and other items of daily use have begun employing traditional methods to create jewellery. Jewelry is made from 1.5-year-old, soft bamboo called bet bans. In the past, it was used to bind the parts together to create dwellings. As the only two tools used in jewellery production, "Takal," a knife used to break bamboo into thin bits, and "Dao," a knife with a curved front, are useful. Another notably interesting fact is that it’s the women folk of the tribe who make these jewelry pieces in their free time from the household duties.

We can therefore draw the conclusion that the traditional practice of producing expensive bamboo goods is very productive and serves a significant role in the collection of state revenue. Additionally, it offers enormous work opportunities to the populace, thereby reducing unemployment.

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