Kaarigar - Kaarigar Handicrafts Inc.
Handmade by artisans in India

Kaarigar

January 20, 2017

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Kashmir Shawls - The Story.

The origin of shawls in the world can be traced back more than 700 years. The first record comes from the Mughal period. By the 16th Century the Kashmir shawl industry was well-established. Mughal Emperor Akbar promoted the manufacture of shawls in Kashmir. He presented a gift of Kashmir "jamawar" shawl to the Queen of England.

The name Pashmina comes from pashm, the Persian word for wool. This wool comes from changthangi or ladakh or pashmina goat, a special breed of goat indigenous to high altitude of the Himalayas.

Due to the extreme weather conditions, the pashmina goats grow a special fur during winter. This fur is shed during spring and the fleece is caught on thorn bushes. Villagers scour the mountainside for the finest fleece to be used.


Picture courtesy: kashmir-rose.com                           The Pashmina Goat - image courtesy: kashmir-rose.com

The winter fur that the goat grows is 1/6 the thickness of human hair. It is so fine that it cannot be spun by machines, so the wool is hand-woven into shawls, scarves, wraps, throws and stoles for export worldwide. The workmanship is so intricate and time consuming that some embroidered shawls take 2 to 4 years time to create.

 At Kaarigar we source the finest collection of pashmina directly from the artisans in Kashmir. 

December 26, 2016

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The Dabbawallah -- Bombay's Unique Lunch Delivery

 

Photo Credit: Getty Images

In every shipment we put together we try to include a few items that aren't typically found in Vancouver - a 'Kaarigar Experiment' if you like. More than uniqueness - what we look for is an item with an engaging story that our clients can connect with. On this occasion it's the turn of the humble tiffin. A tiffin, or dabba (DUH-bah), is a simple lunchbox made up of stackable stainless steel compartments. While they're common throughout India, Bombay is where the tiffin has truly left it's mark. In Bombay, a hot meal for your office or school lunch is not seen as a luxury but a necessity. Moreover, Indians are notoriously picky when it comes to food (just ask). Home cooking is king here. This is where the tiffin comes into play. Every weekday morning in Bombay, a delivery system unlike any other on the planet swings into action. The system's goal: pick-up, deliver and then return each lunchbox on-time - a monumental task given the traffic, weather and number of tiffins. The people that take on this challenge are known as dabbawallahs - literally: box-carriers. They make their rounds of Bombay's neighbourhoods after the morning commute, collecting freshly prepared tiffins. Through a combination of bicycles, railway trains, a simple coding system and a handful of sorting checkpoints, the dabbawallahs are able to deliver a hot home-cooked lunch to schools and workplaces across the city. After lunch, the process is reversed and the empty lunchbox is returned home. The most remarkable aspect of the dabbawallah system is its unprecedented success rate - a recent study found that a tiffin is late or goes missing roughly once in every seven-million deliveries. This success rate is even more impressive considering that the dabbawallahs have a low level of literacy and that Bombay has a high level of road congestion. More recently, the system has gained recognition from the international business community and fame from Bollywood (see the movie 'Lunchbox'). Come by and pick out your own piece of this story.

October 01, 2016

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Himalayan Singing Bowl

 

The Singing Bowl, also called a Himalayan bowl, is known to be used by Buddhist monks since 600 B.C. It is most commonly known for sound therapy and space clearing, but there are other uses for it. The singing bowl can be used to balance our chakras, reduce stress and even sound massage. 

    The sound produced by the singing bowl is that of the AUM –  the absolute. There are two basic ways of playing a Singing Bowl, you can either strike it with the wooden wand for percussive, pulsating tones; or you can encircle the edges repeatedly with the wand for a sustained effect.  Resting the singing bowl upon the palm of your hand will usually enable you to appreciate the experience to a greater depth than placing the bowl on a pad.

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    New Arrivals

    Our Summer shipment is finally here - enjoy the pictures!  

     

    Urli Bowl

     

    Incense Sticks

     

    Lotus Bowls

     

    Water Reed Yoga Mat

     

    Hand Painted Tiffin

     

     

    The Tabla

     

     

    October 29, 2015

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    Our Journey Begins...

    Hello and welcome to the Kaarigar Handicrafts blog! In this section, we'll be chronicling our journey as we go about opening and running our store. By sharing our ups and downs with you, we hope to pass on some of the important lessons we've learned along the way. We love feedback. Your opinion is definitely appreciated so please don't hesitate to share it with us. Even a simple 'like' or 'retweet' lets us know that we've pointed this blog in the right direction so don't be shy! Thanks for visiting. Ray Khan
    October 29, 2015

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    Halloween 2013

    To be honest, I don't have anything groundbreaking to share with you this time. I'd be impressed if this post teaches you anything profound about business or entrepreneurship. With that in mind, what I do have to say is no less true: kids friggin' love Halloween. For two hours every Halloween, our little street is sacrificed to the gods of costumes, candy and fun. We found out about this tradition quite late (and we're still renovating) so you'll have to excuse our humble décor. What we lacked in colourful displays we tried to make up for in colourful lollies. The lesson we took from this was that you can never have too much candy on Halloween. Select what looks like the appropriate amount then double everything. Trust me. Enjoy the pictures. Ray. halloween2 Applying the finishing touches. halloween3 halloween4 Ready for the kids!   halloween5 Steady start...   halloween6   halloween7 Frenzied finish!   halloween8
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