A craft which originated with cattle rearing is the craft of metal bells, or “Ghantadi”, as known locally in Kutch, Gujarat.
The Bell Making craft is believed to be over a thousand years old, originated in Sindh, (currently in Pakistan). These bells were used to identify cattle. They were tied around the cattle’s neck so the owner would know of their whereabouts. Hence, they are also known as Cow Bell.
Villages like Kunaria, Zura and Nirona are hub of this art and artisans.
The makers of these bells are from the Lohar caste in Zura village of Kutch and their families have been making bells since old age. Bell making in Zura village is a wonderful sustainable craft as the raw material is metal scrap which is purchased from junk yards and the only use of energy is in the furnace for preparing them.
Nowadays, this craft is gaining popularity as decorative items not just because they have a beautiful sound, but also because those sounds remind us of being close to the earth, the villages, and our roots.
Tools and Raw Materials:
Iron sheet, a basic material, Wood to make clapper for bell, Metal powder (copper & zinc), Metal compass. Cutter, Holder & Hammer, Kiln (furnace), Raw cotton and clay.
- Metal sheet is marked and cut into required size and shape and then it is beautifully shaped by hammering to get a desired shape.
- Handle for the bell is made by shaping the metal sheet and then it is attached to the cap of the bell. This cylindrical body of the bell and the cap is skill fully attached and interlocked.
- Then the bell is dipped in mud water and metal powder is applied on it.
- Afterwards a mixture of raw cotton and clay is wrapped around the bell.
- The bell is then placed in a furnace and baked with high temperature.
- The bell is cooled, and outer layer is removed by hammering carefully.
- The bell is tuned by beating cleverly to get a fine tune.
- And the last step is a clapper (a wooden stick) is attached in the centre of the bell for melodious sound.
- Then a wood is cut and shaped in to required size to make a clapper for the bell. Then the clapper for the bell is attached with the help of metal wire. Then finally a melodious bell is completely done.
- Thirteen sizes of bells can be customized in each size, up-to five or six different notes can be made.
- Products: Wind chimes for home décor, traditional metal bell doorway hangings, bell key chains and finely tuned musical instrument etc.
The sound of Handcrafted bell can be easily differentiated from machine made bells.
Thank You for Patronizing Arts and Crafts of Kutch and the craftsmen of the Kutch.
May the Traditions of our country live indefinitely, enriching our lives.