Th Se Thathera

There is a saying that goes, “Legacy is not leaving something for people; it is leaving something in people”. With this in mind, take a look at the legacy of Thatheras in Punjab that dates back over 200 years.

Punjabi Thathera Art Legacy (P-TAL)

People gazing at the artisan workingPunjabi Thathera Art Legacy (P-TAL)

Thatheras: A community dating back to 200 years ago

The 200 year old craft of the Thatheras of Jandiala Guru constitutes the traditional technique of manufacturing brass and copper utensils like karhai, katori, parat etc in Punjab through moulding and hammering. 

Cleaning the productPunjabi Thathera Art Legacy (P-TAL)

History and establishment of Jandiala Guru

The crafts colony of Jandiala Guru was established during the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1883), the great 19th century Sikh Monarch, who encouraged skilled craftsmen from Kashmir to settle in the heart of his kingdom in Punjab. 

Patili in making by an artisanPunjabi Thathera Art Legacy (P-TAL)

Lanes of Jandiala Guru

Jandiala Guru is a small town near Amritsar. As one walks the streets of Jandiala Guru in Punjab, one is welcomed by the 'thak thak' sound of hammering of utensils and as one walks further in, one can see the faces of men trying desperately to hold on to their art long forgotten.

Silver(aluminium) replacing traditionPunjabi Thathera Art Legacy (P-TAL)

The Fading Legacy

The demand for the goods made by the Thatheras has dwindled and so has the supply because of the availability of other cheaper metals like steel and aluminium. The children of Thatheras don’t want to be a Thathera, hence setting uncertainty on the future of this craft.  

Position in which artisan hammers the big patiliPunjabi Thathera Art Legacy (P-TAL)

Lack of design innovation

The traditional designs of the artisans could not thrive in the modern market. The thatheras made big products without knowledge of contemporary tastes, and thus faced dwindled demand.

Brass PatiliPunjabi Thathera Art Legacy (P-TAL)

Transformation of traditions into trend

Making very small changes to the products to make it consumer friendly and bringing them back to the market by spreading the awareness about the health benefits of the metals and story of the artisans led the way for revival of this craft, making it trendy amongst the masses.

Brass, copper and kansa lunch layout on banana leafPunjabi Thathera Art Legacy (P-TAL)

Brass, Copper and Bell metal

The metals used by the Thatheras-copper, brass and certain alloys- are believed to be beneficial for health. Ayurveda swears by the benefits of these metals. Brass is used for cooking and in home decor, copper is used for drinking vessels and bell metal is used for eating. 

P-TAL: Th se Thathera (A story of craft revival)Punjabi Thathera Art Legacy (P-TAL)

A story of craft revival of Thatheras

The craft of Thatheras of Punjab is the only craft from India to be listed on UNESCO's List of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Institutionalization of the Thatheras, design development and access to markets have lead the revival of the craft and legacy of these artisans.

Legacy of the Artisan [Manohar Lal ji]Punjabi Thathera Art Legacy (P-TAL)

Legacy and pride of the artisans

Thatheras are warriors of art who have held onto their craft despite all odds and have been trailblazers in keeping their legacy alive. The product featured has a potential of creating an impact on numerous artisans since it is found to be easily crafted by all the Thatheras!

Patili karchi and curved platePunjabi Thathera Art Legacy (P-TAL)

Auspicious and joyful addition to the festivals

Festivals are occasions of happiness and enjoyment. Similarly, the purchase of a handcrafted product brings immense joy and prosperity in the life of an artisan. Addition of a handcrafted product in a festival leads to addition of value to the auspicious traditional crafts!

Patila & patiliPunjabi Thathera Art Legacy (P-TAL)

Shop Local: Celebrations for all!

There is a festival in India called Dhanteras right before Diwali which is an auspicious day to buy utensils. The handcrafted utensils of the Thatheras  not only make a great investment for people during Diwali but also add to the joy and happiness to the homes of Thatheras.

Credits: Story

Credits to Anjali Gupta for stylized shoot, and Karan Chawla for all videos.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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