Bamboo Lath Making Of Ujjain - A Timeless Craft


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A bamboo stick or lathi possessed a more distinguished status in the bygone times when there were no modern tools. Today, lathis can be seen used as a defence tool and key prop in various tribal dance forms across the country. 

Produced in Ujjain

The making of bamboo lathis grew in neighbourhood of Nanakheda in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh. Here people have been making lathis for centuries, though decoration on the sticks has been introduced in recent times. The tribal communities were the first to introduce innovative designs in lathis, using various symbols that represent their tribe. Apart from selling in Ujjain, the craftsmen sale products in fairs like Pushkar camel fair which takes place in the town of Pushkar (Rajasthan) in November. 

Making of lathis

The main raw materials required for this craft are bamboo sticks, metal wires and other accessories for ornamentation. The sticks are initially heated and bent to lose moisture and straighten over their length. Later, groundnut oil is brushed along the entire surface in heat to make these sticks moisture-proof and increase strength. The artists usually polish the sticks with a mixture of burnt ash and groundnut oil as to achieve natural brown colour or a mixture of edible yellow colour and groundnut oil to get the yellow tint in sticks. 

Once the sticks are dry, they are ready for the decoration. In this process, children and women take active participation and turn a simple stick into an embellished masterpiece. Metal wires, beads, radium strips, metal bands are used for the decoration. The artists held the stick between the feet and elegantly adorn each piece. It is further enhanced using musical bells and trinkets. 

A visit to the hub of art & artisans 

A visit to the local bamboo stalls in Ujjain would leave you fascinated with brilliant craftsmanship and rural warmth with which the craftsmen treat their customers. If you happen to travel to Ujjain for Jyotirlinga darshan any time soon, take out some time to explore the vivid local crafts like Batik printing, Papier-Mache toys, Mandana artwork and bamboo lath making.