There are those who prefer to have the most decoration in their living spaces, but there are those who like to start right at the front door – they will keep potted plants, interesting looking shoe racks, welcome mats and more at the front door. And then there are those who prefer something a little more traditional like a toran or bandarwal.
The word toran comes from the Sanskrit word torana – it is also known as toranam in Tamil and bandarwal in Hindi. Toran also finds reference in Buddhist writings, where it is considered the sacred entrance or gateway. As a matter of fact, the Sanchi Stupa is considered to be one of the first Buddhist architectural torans in India.
In the olden days, this decorative door hanging would be decoration of choice for all front doors and would be made using fresh flowers such as marigold and mango leaves. In case mango leaves were not available, banyan leaves or Ashoka leaves would also be used, but the general colours used for traditional torans are red, yellow, orange and green. The main idea behind these beautiful bandarwals is to not only welcome guests home, but also to attract the attention of Goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. It is also said that by hanging torans on the front door can keep evil spirits as well as negative energies at bay. There are those who believe that when you tie a toran at your front door, the desires of the home owner will come true.
It is interesting to note that there are mentions of hanging leaves at the front door of the house even in ancient texts such as Puranas and Bhagvad Gita. It talks about having ignited lamps, large decorated water pots and strings with flowers and mango leaves at the entrance of a house. Ancient scriptures refer to the mango tree and its leaves being the residence of gods like Lakshmi, Govardhan and Gandharva. When a garland is tied using mango leaves and other flowers, it is considered to be an offering to Lords Ganesha and Murugan, the sons of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. It is also believed that it was Murugan who insisted on garlands being tied using mango leaves as they would symbolise a healthy crop and fertility. This is why you will find mango leaves and marigold flowers for decoration at temples and for auspicious occasions. This is perhaps one of the first versions of Indian handicraft items and are much loved till date. As a matter of fact, as soon as a festive or auspicious occasions arrives, there is a need for torans.
There is also a scientific reasoning behind using mango leaves – the leaves can absorb the carbon dioxide present in the atmosphere and give out oxygen. Fresh leaves continue with the process of photosynthesis and darker the leaves, the longer it takes for the leaves to dry out. Similarly, by using fresh marigold flowers, one could keep mosquitoes and bad odour away. Ayurveda also talks about the medicinal properties of dry mango leaves – dried mango leaves, when crushed and mixed with coconut oil was considered a quick fix for small cuts and wounds. These days, you will be able to find more modern versions of door hanging toran at eCraftIndia, which you can use to decorate not just your home, but also your workplace or store front.
The modern Indian toran:Over time, the traditional toran has taken on several forms and there are more modern versions, however, before coming to the more contemporary versions, it would be interesting to comprehend a little more about the traditional aspects.
There are some colours that are most commonly seen in traditional torans and there are reasons why they are used:
- Green – A colour that reflects fertility, prosperity, happiness and peace, it is said that this colour helps stabilise emotional imbalances. It also represents Mother Nature and invites good fortune into your home.
- Red – Red is a colour of power and is also a symbol of marital bliss, which is why you will see red in the homes of newly married people. You will be able to find red colour based door toran online at eCraftIndia.
- Saffron – This is a colour that is considered extremely auspicious for Hindus and is said to symbolise generosity and purity.
- Yellow – Yellow is a colour that signifies growth, wisdom, harmony and also showcases the onset of spring. This is also one of the most commonly used colours for traditional torans.
In India, there is always some reason for celebration and festivity – if its not a festival, it could be an auspicious occasion at home, such as a pooja, an engagement or even a birthday. And no matter what the occasion, there will be a need to decorate the home, which is where the need for torans arises. By tying a toran on the front door of your home, you are not only creating a charming look, which will be extremely welcoming to anyone arriving at your home, it is also a symbol of everything auspicious.
At eCraftIndia, you can choose from several types of torans and bandarwals – there are those with diyas and kalashes, which are perfect for festive occasions like Diwali and Dhanteras. Then there are bandarwals with floral patterns and festive buntings, which can be used for any special event or even when you just want the house to look great. From beads and pearls to ribbons and hangings, there are so many options to choose from and when you see the range, you will want to buy more than just one!
What is interesting is that you need not tie torans only on front doors – you can hang them anywhere in the house. To add some extra style to your home, hang torans on windows and doors of the rooms too and when you come to eCraftIndia, you will be able to find an extravagant range of options.
If you are looking to buy wall decor items online beyond torans, you should come to eCraftIndia, which is the display case for hundreds of talented local craftspeople and artisans. Whether you are looking to pick something that is completely traditional and will add an extra element of charm to your festive occasions or you want something that is totally unique and modern, there will be something that will capture your attention here.