Dasara Doll Festival – IV

A brilliant display of dolls depicting Putrakameshti Yaga, a scene from the Indian epic Ramayana, is grabbing eyeballs at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. The heirloom dolls all of them more than a hundred years old belong to the family of Anu Vishweshwar, a relative of Sir M. Vishweshwariah, the Diwan of Mysore from 1912 to 1918.


Many, many, years ago during the Treta Yuga, the kingdom of Ayodhya was ruled by King Dashratha. He had three wives, Kausalya, the senior-most, Kaikeyi and Sumitra. The king was sad that none of the queens bore him any progeny and because of that the kingdom was without any heir.

On the advice of the royal priest Sage Vashishta and another sage Rishya Shringa, the king performed the Putrakameshti Yagna, a ceremony performed by childless couples to beget children.

After the ceremony was completed around a holy fire, there appeared Agni, the God of Fire with a golden bowl filled with Payasam, a sweet. King Dasharatha was asked to distribute the sweet to his three queens. In due course, the queens bore him children. Kausalya gave birth to the King’s eldest son who was named Rama, Kaikeyi’s son was named Bharata and Sumitra bore him twins Lakshmana and Shatrughana.


In the picture, seated on the throne are King Dashratha and Queen Kaushalya, on the left is Queen Kaikeyi with her maid and on the right is Queen Sumitra with her maid and a member of the royal family. Agni, the God of Fire, is in between the sages. In his hands is the golden bowl containing Payasam. The sage with grey hair is Rishya Shringa and the other sage is Vashishta.


Anu Vishweshwar and a relative took almost 2 hours to dress up each of the dolls. The toughest part was wrapping the sarees all of them being Kanjeevarams. The full-length heavily brocaded sarees had to be folded to a suitable size to fit the dolls. Transporting them from her home to the venue was another task. She had to take care to cover them and avoid them getting shaken as that could disturb the dress and the jewellery. The pandal or ramp was created at the venue from scratch. The glittering jewellery was purchased years ago from Raja Market and the vicinity.

The dazzling display is on till 10th/11th of October and worth giving a visit.

Happy Dasara!

On Diwali rock the ethnic look

It’s the time of the year when festivities touch a high. Diwali, which is easily the most popular festival in the Hindu calendar, is here. A favourite with the young and the old, the day is celebrated in myriad ways. For some it is by lighting of the diyas (tiny earthern lamps) all around their homes, for some others it is by lighting crackers, and then there are many households that perform the traditional Laxmi Puja.  Like on most festival days, Diwali too has people dressed at their festive and fashionable best visiting homes of friends and relatives to distribute sweets. When it comes to fashion, no look rocks Diwali like the ethnic look.

Here are five mesmerising ethnic looks that not only took Bollywood by storm but have gone on to stay in people’s minds and linger in fashion circles:

1.Madhubala in ‘Mughal-e-Azam’

Undoubtedly, the ultimate ethnic look flaunted by the Venus of Indian cinema. The stunning ethnic jewellery believed to have been made by Hyderabadi jewellers found a perfect model in the most beautiful actress the Indian silver screen has seen. The large nose ring with pearls stands out and also the elaborate hand ornament.

2.Madhuri Dixit in ‘Hum Aapke Hain Kaun’


Pic courtesy: Rajashri Entertainment

Easily the most outstanding looks Madhuri has portrayed, the choli (blouse) with a cutout back stole the thunder. The stone-studded heavy meenakari jewellery only went on to add to the look not to forget Madhuri’s great smile.

3.Aishwarya Rai at a Filmfare Awards function

Ash looked the perfect screen goddess in the red ethnic ensemble and completed the look with her dazzling smile. The Maang Tika and earrings with saharas are mind blowing not to forget the exquisite stone-studded armlet. Loads of bangles and the glittering chains perfectly go with the rest of the attire. Even the little bindi is hard to miss!

4.Vidya Balan in ‘Parineeta’

The movie which made Vidya Balan a household name also had her look ethereal. The Bengali attire and simple jewellery looked very elegant on the pretty actress and stood out in its own way. The Monalisa smile added to the look.

5.Bina Rai

This picture of Bina Rai in what looks like a half-saree has an aura of ethnic dazzle and innocence. She looked the perfect girl next door in this avatar with the jewellery and streaks of zari on her clothes vying for attention with her charming smile.

Top 10 Indian fashionistas


Picture courtesy: Deepika Padukone’s official Facebook page


They are hot and they are chic and they rock the look in whatever outfits they choose to wear. Meet the dazzling 10 divas who I think have the most impressive style quotient in the Indian fashion scene.

1.Deepika Padukone

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Her very name spells magic not only in the world of haute couture but anywhere in the film crazy nation be it at a bus-stop or paan-waala’s shop. Tall and athletic, she has a figure to die for and carries off just about any outfit with élan. She is equally at ease in a saree as she is in a fitting bodycon dress. If she oozes femininity in a sparkling desi number she exudes oodles of charm in a pantsuit. In a beautiful anarkali she looks very much the girl next door and in a mini-skirt an absolute stunner. And she accessorizes all her outfits with her dazzling smile.

2. Priyanka Chopra

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The former Miss World has carried her success to Bollywood. Even as she is wooing audiences with her acting talent she is making heads turn in the fashion circles with her impeccable sartorial sense. Short skirts and knee-length outfits accentuate her shapely legs while sarees and other ethnic outfits bring out her desi charms. And she never seems to go wrong with her hairdos. Be it the messy top knot with denims and tees or a vintage updo with gowns it is difficult to take your eyes off her. Wow!

3. Kareena Kapoor

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The girl with an impish charm wears clothes that perfectly complement her personality. The fitness-conscious diva is a designer’s delight and can slip into any outfit with utmost ease. In flowing gowns she is a dream, in dresses she looks picture perfect and in desi outfits she is the typical Indian girl. And like Deepika, she enlivens all her outfits with a fascinating smile.

4. Sonam Kapoor

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Tall and elegant Sonam has fashion in her genes. Her mom was a fashion designer. Sonam’s wardrobe has creations by the world’s top designers. She made the world take notice of her with a stunning fairy-like appearance at Cannes in the summer of 2011. The actress swept the red carpet in a Jean Paul Gaultier couture gown. She also made appearances in the 2012, 2013 and 2014 editions of the fest. The popular fashionista has made appearances on the covers of many glossies. In her debut film Aisha, a major talking point was her enviable wardrobe.

5. Freida Pinto

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The model and ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ actress has walked many a red carpet ever since she made a mark in Hollywood. The dusky star’s style quotient has garnered tremendous interest in the western as well as Indian media. Like Sonam, her appearances at Cannes were impressive. She especially rocked in Atelier Versace and Michael Angler high-slit gowns at Cannes 2012, a halter-neck bright pink Gucci gown in Cannes 2013, a strapless Oscar de la Renta gown in Cannes 2014 and got a lot of good press.

6. Sania Mirza

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The poster girl of Indian tennis bowls crowds not just with her game but with her colourful dresses too. She is easily one of the most colourful personalities on the Indian sports scene. Sania has also walked the ramp at many fashion shows in westerns and ethnic wear and mostly for a cause.

7. Dipika Pallikal


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Like Sania Mirza, Dipika wows in her colourful outfits on the squash court and off it too. When on the courts she is a combination of great looks, talent and style and on the rare occasions she is at a public function or Page 3 event she is a stunner all the way again with her looks and sense of dressing.

8. Shobhaa De

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Though 66, the multifaceted Ms De looks gorgeous enough to give women half her age a run for their money. Though she is mostly seen in sarees teamed with just the right jewellery, Shobhaa De also looks swell in other ethnic designs and western wear too.

9. Vidya Balan

Vidya Balan looks resplendent in a green zari-border silk saree with a red palu. (Pic courtesy: Vidya Balan's Facebook page)

Vidya Balan looks resplendent in a green zari-border silk saree with a red palu. (Pic courtesy: Vidya Balan’s Facebook page)

An ambassador of the saree is what I would call her. In the pretty Bollywood actress, the beautiful Indian attire has found the perfect model. Though after her marriage, a whole lot of ethnic creations have made their way to her wardrobe, many would agree that Vidya Balan loves sarees, sarees love Vidya Balan and there would be hardly anyone who doesn’t want to see Vidya Balan in a saree.

10. Kangana Ranaut

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Kangana Ranaut with her elfin charms and slender figure can carry herself with ease in any outfit. While she looks oh-so-adorable and Barbie-doll-like in little dresses, she makes heads turn in ethnic outfits even with minimal jewellery. In gowns, Kangana simply looks divasque. Atta girl!