Right from the first meeting with Dhruvi Kanabar, the bride, it was very evident that she was someone with complete clarity of thought and a decisive mind. She was very clear that her card had to be very traditional, centring around Srinathji and Nathdwara without using any direct image of Srinathji Himself. The journey of exploring the story behind Nathdwara and scouring through Pichwais for the significance behind every element with Dhruvi and Reshmi, the wedding planner, was nothing short of enriching!
Every element in the card has a strong symbolic reference to the Wedding event as well as Srinathji’s story.
The door of the Nathdwara opens to the inserts with various function details and is held together by a flap made of Srinathji’s cows. Each element was researched thoroughly on how they appear in Pichwais, such as the red collars on the ring rose parrots or the look of the ‘gais’ , the peacocks and the Gopis. Pichwai (pichvai) is a style of painting that originated over 400 years ago, in the town of Nathdwara . Intricate and visually stunning, pichwai paintings, made on cloth, depict tales from Lord Krishna’s life. Most commonly found elements are pink lotuses, ring rose parrots, peacocks, banana leaves, silver and gold cows and Gopis.
Shrinathji Temple is one of the most revered shrines of Lord Krishna. The word ‘Nathdwara’ is made up of two terms, one being ‘Nath’ that means ‘the Lord’ and the other is ‘Dwara’, which suggests ‘gate’. Thus, Nathdwara implies the ‘gate of the lord’.
The door of the invite resembles the temple door, foiled and embossed to give it grandeur. It is believed that an even number of ring rose parrots bring good luck and fortune to couples. Banana leaves were used to offer food to Srinathji and are a symbol of fertility and prosperity.
Cows have a mythological significance in the history of Srinathji. The story goes – a cow from Shri Krishna’s herd, climbs the Govardhan Hill and drops her milk on top of a mysterious black arm. Her owner, unaware of her devotion begins to wonder why the cow’s milk giving capacity has reduced. One day he follows her and discovers her secret rite with Srinathji. The year marked is 1409 and Srinath’s appearance upon the hill seizes the attention of the Brajvasis (locals from Braj). They are amazed that whatever they desire is given to them.
The Sangeet card for a musical evening , has illustrations of the the ashta sakhas – the 8 devotional poets who composed songs/Kirtans on Srinathji in his Darbar.
The card has illustrations of Kumbhnandas, Surdas, Krishnadas, Paramanandadas, Govinda Swamy, Cheeth Swamy, Chattrabhujadas, Nanddas, four great scholars and 4 disciples of the Mandal. They were also the best musicians, singers and poets in their time as they were the ultimate devotees of Shrinathji.
The Mehendi card has illustrated Patola Prints for a Gujarati Themed event. Patola is a double Ikat woven sari, usually made from silk, made in Patan, Gujarat, India. They are very expensive, once worn only by those belonging to royal and aristocratic families.
Inspired by the Pichhwai of Srinathji with his Gopis, the wedding card has all of them in attendance with Peacock fans, garlands and Aartis welcoming the wedding with pomp and glory.
The idol of Srinathji is carved in Bas-relief out of a monolithic black marble stone, with images of two cows, one lion, one snake, two peacocks and one parrot engraved on it and three sages placed near it. This pichhwai has peacocks are seen preening. The dance of the peacock symbolises rain (abundance), and the bird’s courting ritual was mimicked by Krishna, who danced for Radha, his beloved.