Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Jaggo – a Punjabi wedding tradition

Punjab has several rituals cum celebrations that take place pre and post wedding. These may be shared functions or they take place either at the bride’s or the groom’s home.

The start of the Jaggo ceremony

Some of these functions are the Rokka, Mangni, Sagai, Chura etc. Although Delhi has a sizeable Punjabi and Sikh population I have never seen so far a Jaggo (literally translated as Stay Awake!) function in Delhi.

The start of the Jaggo procession from the bride's home

It seems it is more specific to Punjab, particularly in the interiors of Punjab. So when I was invited to a wedding in Hoshiarpur I decided that I must attend the Jaggo function which happens a day or two before the wedding.

The decorated pot is carried through the streets to the homes of relatives & friends

Jaggo is celebrated at the bride’s home at night. This is a ceremony in which there is lot of dancing and singing on boliyaan. It is mainly attended by close family and friends and is decidedly more women-centric.

The Jaggo moves from house to house

Two decorated gharas or copper pots with lamps filled with mustard oil are carried by the bride on her head accompanied by the beats of a dhol and a professional boli-singer. Bolis are to put it in simple words four line verses with references to various family members.

The bride along with friends in the Jaggo ceremony

The procession moves through the streets of the village/town singing folk songs and boliyaan in the darkness of the night. The maternal aunts take turns in carrying the pots on their heads. In fact the pots keeps getting transferred to various friends and relatives.There is also a decorated stick with bells on it to announce the arrival of Jaggo.

The Jaggo moves to another house 

They halt in front of a relative or friend’s house where the woman of the house pours some mustard oil at the threshold, as a form of welcome and then the women enter the veranda singing and dancing gidda. The punch line is: Jatta jag, vee jaggo aia. Sweets are distributed and then they move to the next house.

All smiles at the Jaggo

The bride, her sister, parents and other relatives enjoy the ceremony by vigorously participating in the fun and frolic. It is a kind of announcement of marriage for all in the village. Jaggo retains the charm of old Punjab, when Phulkaris and Baghs were embroidered by young girls as their daaj.

The aerial view of Jaggo at a house 

What is probably new is that once the round of the village/town street is over they assemble at one place where there is further fun, dancing to the DJ and of course drinks and food. After all how can a Punjabi evening be complete without fish pakoras and alcohol (at least for the men!).

A lady beating the winnower at the Jaggo

Also read:
No, It is not a painting
The Clock Tower of Hoshiarpur
Water Tank Themes in Punjab

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Visit to a Tea Estate in Kangra

I have visited tea gardens in the Palampur area in Kangra earlier also but this time I was able to see the process of making tea as well. Kangra is the tea capital of North India.

A Tea Garden in Palampur, Kangra, Himachal

I was staying at the Himachal Heritage Village which is on one side of the town whereas the tea garden that I visited was on another side of the town and we passed through pristine pine forests to reach the gardens and factory of the Himalayan Brew.

Green tea leaves being processed

This is a 150 year old tea estate that has its own tea plantations, processing and blending unit where the tea is produced under strict quality controls. They mainly produce the green tea with various flavours.

A woman sorting tea leaves at the tea factory

After reaching the tea estate we were welcomed by Mr Rajiv Sud, the owner of the estate and Himalayan Brew. In fact Mr Sud is a Singaporean national but came back to take care of his family’s tea business. He showed us around the processing factory and explained how the blending and processing is done right from green leaves to the steaming, pressing, retention of the flavour etc to the final product. Most of the staff at the factory was female and he explained that the work done by them was better than the males.

Various stages of process of tea making at the Himalayan Brew factory

Later on he took us around his estate including the meadows where he sometimes camp. From the meadows the view of the surrounding area was majestic. After this we went to one part of the tea garden where some women were plucking the leaves.

Women plucking tea leaves at a tea estate in Palampur, Kangra

The background of snow capped Dhauladhar Mountains did produce a magical effect and I wished that I could own a small house in that surrounding. Some of the plucking is done by hand though he has some Japanese machines also which does the plucking and pruning.

Mr Rajiv Sud, Ownder Himalayan Brew at his tea estate

Mr Sud prefers the hand plucking systems as it generates employment in the region. One thing I did notice was the fact that the persons employed at the factory were the locals whereas the ones doing the plucking work were mainly migrants. The migrants though were provided housing facility on the estate itself. There is of course division of labour with plucking at the lower end, in terms of wages, and the factory workers at the upper end.

The Himalayan Brew products

After this we went and saw the packing process and also bought some of the tea flavours like the Kangra Masala tea, Malouthi tea, Pinewood smoked Tea. I am even now enjoying a cup of the Kangra tea that I had bought from my visit.

Also read:

In the Lap of Nature – Himachal Heritage Village Palampur
When I flew Like a Bird
McLeodganj, Dharamshala, Himachal
Why I love to go to McLeodganj
Skywatch Friday - Sunset at McLeodganj, Himachal
Places to visit in McLeodganj: Bhagsunag Waterfall
Places to visit in McLeodganj: The Church of St John-in-the-Wilderness