TEXT AND PICTURES BY RAKESH GIRI GOSWAMI
As per the research report of Shodhganga group, Pottery is said to be the oldest of industries that was born of man's early attempts to fulfill his basic necessities of life. Being one of the oldest crafts - more than 10,000 years old man kind has expressed his feelings and his aesthetic sense in clay i.e., in the form of primitive deities on various vessels made for the storage of water and grain and in toys. It is one of the most ancient arts that has grown with human civilization. The oldest literary documents of Vedic culture have several references to ceramic pots. References also
have been found in Upanishads about varied forms of terracotta such as bricks, water jars, cups and jars for storing ghee curd, etc., flower pots, vases and other decorative vases, oil lamps of various designs and patterns. The eminent historians archaeologists and Vedantists commonly agree that the Vedic age is older than the Nile, Rhine, Elbe and Indus Valley civilizations.
However, many historians believe that Egypt is the country in which clay and glass were first brought together and fused in the form of glazed earthen ware, making it impervious to liquid. India, Egypt, Greece, Persia and China are the main countries where pre-dynastic ceramics were found.
Rajasthan also has a very rich tradition of pottery and ceramic making. Many varieties can be found from normal day to day articles to decorative pieces. Though normally every village has potter families commonly known as KUMHAARS or KUMBHAARS which looks after the local needs. But certain areas have become famous because of their varieties or unique designs. Molela in south Rajasthan and Gogelav in central part are such localities. Even Jaipur has achieved popularity for its blue pottery. This piece is about a recent visit to Gogelav which is also attracting pottery and ceramic lovers.
Gogelav is located along Nagaur -Bikaner national highway NH 62 at a distance of 15 kilometers from Nagaur side. According to official govt site of this district following information is available for this area.
GOGELAV: This village was established in the name of Lok Devta Gogaji and it is believed that Gogaji's Barat-marriage party had stayed here. In the village near about 150 Gateways are there & some of them are very beautiful with stone carvings. Residents of the village are mainly Oswal Mahajans & there are beautiful & big havelies belonging to them. Most of the major Oswal Mahajan families have migrated from here to Kolkatta, Chennai & other big cities of India & quite a few of these families are settled in the U.S.A., Dubai, Germany & Iran for trading purposes.
No one knows the exact time or schedule since when the pottery-ceramics of this area gained popularity, but I spoke to local shopkeepers during my recent visit and they told me that work is traditional and as old as village.But has received attention during last 20 years only. Most of the shops are set up on roadside and display large number of pottery as well as ceramic items. Earlier all such items were simple in appearance but now decorated with colours and different design motiffs. Only surprising thing is the fact that Gogelav ceramics still waiting to find a mention in tourist brochures of state or central govts.
Area is well connected with road and train, nearest air strip is at Jodhpur 150 kms away, Bikaner is 90 kms. away. There are few tea stalls on roadside where one can have tea coffee and other snacks. There is no need to stay in this place as this is on way to Jodhpur or Bikaner. But a treat for pottery and ceramic lovers.
Some pictures of Gogelav ceramics.