Along the copper lanes of TAMBAT ALI- a shutterbugs dream come true!

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The coppersmiths of Tambat Ali are an intrinsic part of Pune’s rich heritage which is why on a sunny Saturday morning I ventured into these lanes and captured them on my lens for posterity. 

(Picture Credits: Pranjali Bhonde)

He sits on the bare floor outside his house hammering the ‘gangal’, a copper vessel used to store water. Another coppersmith sits  next to him hammering his vessel.

 

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However, he works oblivious to his surroundings in what looks like a composed scene. He is unfazed by the noise and by the fact that a bunch of photographers are trying to get a picture of him.  In no time the smooth copper vessel has circular impressions all over. The copper vessel looks resplendent against the morning sun.

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The utensils comprise cooking utensils, storage pieces, decorative pieces that go through a process of heating, cooling, annealing, and finally ending with the ‘mathar kaam’; the art technique which produces the signature rhythmic sound.

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This art has been passed down generations. The artisans that I met today happen to be the 4th generation coppersmiths that strive to keep this art alive.

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In the courtyard that is shared by many houses, children are seen playing.

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They watch their fathers and grandfathers create beautiful copper pots daily.

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Because somewhere in their hearts they know that a few years down the line, it is they who will have to take this otherwise dying art forward.

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These coppersmiths are specialists in the traditional art of matharkaam, which is the art of beating copper to make it strong.

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I cannot help but notice his withered hands that have over the years created much magic.

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However, as I leave, I see women buying these copper vessels- haggling with the shopkeepers, reiterating the fact that this dying art still has takers. I look up and pray that the art doesn’t wither in the sands of time

A special thanks to Aboli Thosar for teaching  great photography.

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