Uttarakhand has a long history of using wood products, be it in the construction of houses, furniture, in agricultural and domestic tools or for ornamental and ritualistic purposes. Over the years, these utility products have been developed by the traditional craftsmen into stylized and ornamental versions, with carvings inspired by nature and folk tales. With changing times, wooden products now have very few consumers, their utility seen as trinkets. This led the craftsmen to adapt their skills according to the times.
Murli Dhar, a woodcarving artisan (2018/2018) by Project FUELProject FUEL
Murli Dhar resides in Srinagar, Uttarakhand. A skilled craftsmen, he uses wood to make small sized replica of temples and models of houses. He learned the skills from his father, who was also a wood carver.
Here, he demonstrates how to make a replica of the Badrinath Temple. He begins the process by choosing a wooden block and cuts it to the required size. All the parts of the temple are made on different wooden blocks, which will later be assembled together to form one structure.
Preparing wooden blocks to create a replica (2018/2018) by Project FUELProject FUEL
Next, he measures and marks the block according to the temple structure. After marking them, he removes the extra wood with a chisel and hammer, or a saw, as per the requirement, to give the block a shape similar to that of the temple part.
Inticately carving the wood (2018/2018) by Project FUELProject FUEL
The process of adding details and intricate carvings to the structure requires high concentration. It is a delicate process as even a small mistake can ruin the structure, and might lead to restarting the work again on a fresh block of wood. Details like the ratio of the features added have to be kept in mind during the entire process.
Assembling the replica (2018/2018) by Project FUELProject FUEL
After the individual pieces have been carved with details, they are given finishing touches and assembled together. The pieces here come together to form a replica of the Badrinath temple.
Murli Dhar's Life Lesson (2018/2018) by Project FUELProject FUEL
Murli Dhar has created over 500 replica and models that now adorn the homes, corporate and government offices. His skilled craftsmanship is the result of undivided attention while working, pious dedication and worshipping his work. He wants to challenge himself by creating pieces that no one has attempted before.
In this video, Woodcarving artisan Murli Dhar creates a small sized replica of the Badrinath Temple, and talks about his focused devotion to his craft, and why concentration is important for the end product.
'Homespun in Uttarakhand' is an episodic series that features life lessons of seven master artisans of Uttarakhand, their personal stories and their passion celebrating the unrecognised & dying craft practices, which need preservation.
Presented by Project FUEL, in collaboration with Uttarakhand Handloom and Handicraft Development Council (UHHDC)
Director: Ajitesh Sharma
Director of Photography: Udit Khurana
Music: Sameer Rahat
Editor: Tushar Madhav
Producer: Apoorva Bakshi
Creative Producer: Deepak Ramola
Sound Design and Mix: Teja Asgk
Colorist: Shara Sethna
Project Manager: Neha Gupta
Research: Project FUEL