Homes, even the humblest mud hut, are decorated; patchwork torans adorn door¬ways; food is cooked in vessels of burnished copper. Mirrors, broken glass bangles, fragments of fabric and pottery are all used to beautify the home and even mud becomes a decorative material from which reliefs can be molded.
Cloths and Jewellery
In Marwar region dresses were the identity of particular cast. Though the items of dresses are same but they are different in style, colour and cost. Woman and man of every cast used to were a particular style dress. This practice is still in existance. A figure of Parwati (in the dress of Kirat woman hunter) at the outer panel of Varah-Shyam temple of Bhinmal, depicts a Bhilni's dress of 8th to 10th century. Its hair style, dress and jewellery is perfect example of traditional Kirat women of that period. Memorial stone of Rao Bika of the bright-half of Ashad, V.S. 1561, has helped us to form an idea of the garments of high dignitaries of Marwar in the 16th century. Memorial stone of Rao Seeha of V.S. 1330 (1273 A.D.), has helped us to form an idea of the garments of warriors of Marwar in the 13th century. The dancing party's sculptures at Delwara (Mount Abu), Topkhana (Jalore) and Osian (Jodhpur district) cited for not only the scanty dresses of dancing girls but musical instruments also.
Illustrations are also very useful to know about the dresses of particular time in the region.
Kalkacharya Katha, V.S.1438, size 5x7.3 cm. helps us to study through illustrations the life of the aristocrats, dresses of common men, ornaments and furniture used in the period. Kalpasutra, V.S. 1517, size 2x11.3 cm. may be used for the comparative references through illustrations regarding dress, mode of living and various other aspects.
The illustrated manuescript of Kalpasutra, V.S, 1536 has 104 folios, each measuring approximately 4"x8', almost all of which are illustrated (size of illustration 3" x3"). It depicts bedsteads, mirrors, dhoti, dress of Jaina monks, sari, bath-rooms and their equipments, wrestler's dress, chariots, ornaments, etc. It also informs us that teaching was done orally, though the teachers used to have scrolls in their hands for references.
Kavipriya, Illustrated, by Keshav, was prepared at Vitakheda for Maharajadhiraj Jaskarana in V. S. 1780. It consists of 16 prabhavas or chapters, having 180 folios in total. Its illustrations bear beautiful designs of Marwari sarees (odhni).
Hemkavi was the contemporary of Maharaja Gaj Singh of Jodhpur (17th Century). His work Gunbhasha is of great value for an account of dresses worn during the period. Keshavdas another contemporary poet of Maharaja Gaj Singh of Jodhpur furnishes the names of dresses and ornaments like jamah, vaga, jhhaga, kanthasari, halro, etc. in his work.
Raj Rupak was written by Virabhan, the court poet of Maharaja Abhaya Singh of Jodhpur. It begins with an account of Set Ram and comes down to the time of Maharaja Abhay Singh. Its accounts of men's dress, ornaments of ladies and presents offered at the time of a betrothal ceremony are valuable.
Abhayavilas was composed by Prithviraj during the reign of Maharaja Abhaya Singh. It also gives the names of men's dresses, such as dhoti, phenta and potiya. It gives names of ladies' ornaments like vesar, nath, sheeshphool and kandoro. It gives reference to kajal and mehndi the objects of bathroom.
Abhayasinghji-ra-Duha by Khadiya Bakhta deals with the wars and achievements of Abhaya Singh. Its references to warrior's dress and hunt¬ing expeditions of the Maharaja are interesting.
Suraj Prakash by Karnidan, Rajasthani text in verse, dated V. S, 1787 is a contemporary work of Maharaja Abhaya Singh. It preserves the names of various ornaments and types of female dresses. It mentions that colouring of teeth by ladies added to their beauty.
Nakhsikh by Rupji of Medta, dated V.S. 1737, deals with several kind of ornaments of a lady worn from head to foot. The work preserves the names of ornaments like Nimbori, pote, choki, nath, hatpan, jalro, photra etc. It gives a reference to the part of the body where each ornament was worn. This makes it possible for us to understand the use of those ornaments which have gone out of use.
Bankidas (V. S. 1838-1890) was a poet and historian of Maharaja Man Singh's Court (Jodhpur). His "Bankidas RiKhyat" preserves the names of dresses like pamri, rumal and gulband which were used by men of that age. Similarly, he gives the names of ornaments like chuni, timaniyo and jugawali.
Kapad Kutuhal by Gangadas was copied in V.S. 1822. The work is useful for the names of several kinds of cloths. It says that jamah, raga and bodice should be of different colours in different seasons. The writer prefers a sari of tansukh and a turban of sulhan cloth for spring season. He also refers to chundri and chorsa as attractive saris for young ladies. The work was copied for Ras Kunwari of Delwada.
Achaldas Khichi-ri-Varta copied in V. S. 1822 for Ras Kunwari in the same series from folio 43 to 53. It gives the names of dresses like jamah, vaga and jhaga, etc., which were in use in those days. It refers to 'goodari' which was poor men's bed.
Chandrakunwar-ri-Varta copied in V.S. 1822 is one of the stories of the Varta series gives the names of various ornaments worn by village women in Rajputana.
Manohar Vallari by Bhagwandas dated 1789, mainly deals with the life of Krishna and Radha, gives the names of various ornaments, dresses and dishes known in that age.
Sanyogbattisi by Man Kavi gives the references to the ornaments of ladies and the objects of toilet used during the age.
Bhawanichhand copied in V.S. 1736. It is a part of the manuscript and covers folios from 38 to 58. The poet draws a picture of ladies going to Balsamaud at Jodhpur, for fetching water, and gives the names of dress and ornaments worn by them.
Nagdaman by Govinddas, dated V.S. 1724. is dedicated to the Vaishnavite theme, it throws welcome light on the dress of men and ornaments of children. It consists of 10 folios.
Gitagovind is a part of a bound book with folios 181 to 360. It preserves illustrations which are very useful for the study of dresses and ornaments of gents and ladies of the 18th century.
Bhagwat Dashama skandha of the 18th century also provides the designs of ornaments and household articles.
Now days, Marwari women, who dress traditionally, wear a lehenga an ankle length skirt, with a kurti-kanchli, two garments that become a blouse, com¬pleted with odhni or mantle. An essential part of the dress of every woman is heavy jewellery, a rakhri on the forehead, wrists covered with chuda or ivory bangles, and paijeb or substantial anklets. The nobility and educated upper classes now usually wear saris. This is almost always a chiffon, and worn in a particularly elegant style. On the occasion of the marriage, women come to Jodhpur to pick the bride her trousseau; this is the centre for the marvelously beautiful gold zardozi embroidery. Bridal footwear for the bride and her groom invariably come from Jodhpur, certainly their jewellery will. Even the groom must wear sufficient jewellery, probably a seven string necklace of pearls embellished with emeralds and rubies down his brocade tunic, buttons of gold to enrich his white bund-gala, and a gold kalgi or pin to set in his turban.
Body decoration of Suhagin Ladies
Suhagin (A woman whose husband is alive) ladies decorate their body with colourful dresses and beautyful ornaments. Women of any age in Marwar love coloured dresses. The rich wear silken saries, while the poor put on simple dress- a Lehnga or Ghagra, Choli, Dupatta or Odhni. Muslim women also put on coloured dresses dress and prefer a pyjama and a veil. They do not go to a beautician yet they knew all about the varied cosmetics and use them lavishly. They decorate their palms and feet with varied designs made by Mehandi. They rub their teeth with Missy. Hindu women part their hair and put the red coloured powder (Sindoor) in the parting. They call it "Mang" which is a symbol of the married and suhagin women. Widows and virgins do not do this. Muslim women do not practice this ritual. Hindu women put a Bindi on their forehead.
Women of all castes and creeds put on ornaments of gold, silver etc. Hindu women wear Choora in their arms. The various ornaments are Kundala (ear rings), Hara (necklace), bazubanda (arment), Mudrika (ring), Sishaphool worn on the forehead, Rakhadi, bora and tika also decorate the forehead. They also put on nose drop called Chuni. They wear anklets of different types like pajeba and payala. The ornaments of feet are bichhiya, anvata, anota, anita etc. In the medieval period the use of bodice to cover their breasts was optional. Yet the women wore a tight fitting bodice or choli and left the lower part of the abdomen exposed and covered their arms upto the elbows. In order to keep their breasts in position, laces were fastened at the back. They wore long, gaily coloured saries, breadost at the ends, coming down from the shoulders and hanging loose below the knees. These garments were very costly ornamented with pearls, jewels, gold lace and stars. Aragja Vidhi copied in V. S. 1714, gives the names of articles for preparing aragja, a kind of paste applied to keep the body soft and scented.
Birth of Child
Birth of a Son : The birth of a son was a matter of great rejoicing and his arrival in the world was heralded by sounding of a thali (a metallic plate). The messenger who broke the news was rewarded with money and clothes.
Birth of a Daughter : The birth of a daughter was a curse on family, as they have got to spend enormous sum on her marriage ceremonies and dowry. So birth of a daughter was a matter of sorrow. A famous adage was heard on this point :
Pendo bhalo na Kos ko, Beti bhali na ek.
Leno bhalo na Bap ko, Sahib rakhe tek.
(Trudging on foot even for a kos (2 miles) is not good, nor to have even a single daughter. Debt of one's own farther is bad. May God preserve our honour (by sparing us from these misfortunes))
Female Infanticide : The female child at some places at the very birth was killed. Either she was strangulated or served with opium to end her life. There were so many reasons behind this barbaric act. The powerful people of society didn't want to be called as "Beti-ka-Bap" because it was the symbol of a weak person. Many of them were not in capacity to give dowry to in-laws of the girl and "Tyag" to the charans. The foreign travellers, George Thomas, Tod, Malcolm and Heber had pointed out the causes of the prevalence of female infanticide among Rajputs in the later part of the eighteenth and early part of the nineteenth century.
This practice was not known among the lower classes except some Rajput chiefs of high rank. When George Thomas brought to the notice of the Rajputs the horrid crime of female infanticide, they justified its continuance for "their daughters not getting good husband and bringing bad name to the family," John Malcolm and Heber also subscribed to this the marriage system as the reason for the continuance of female infanticide among Rajputs. Vat Sangrah, a compilation of stories of the 17th century gives a reference of infanticide in one of the stories.
Bankidas writes that Maharaja Ratan Singh of Bikaner convened a meeting of his chief nobles at Gaya in V.S. 1885 and asked them on a solemn oath not to kill their female children. It shows taht this evil in rajputs was at peak in that peiod. George Thomas informs that Maharaja Bijai Singh of Marwar prohibited it throughout his dominion but it replaced during the reign of the weak ruler like Bishen Singh. John Malcolm found this custom on decline in Rajputana.
Ancient Aryans established the oral education System. With the passing of time, there were so many changes in the system, content wise and style wise. Brahmanas were to give education, usually to the boys of upper casts like brahmanas, khatriyas and vaisyas. Girls of rich and powerful families were also given some education so that they could learn religious books. In the Sevadi inscription study and teaching are described among the six duties of Brahmanas. They were busy with old chronicles, puranas, Ramayana, Mahabharata, grammar, logic, the writing of Yajnavalkya, katyayana, Bhrigu, Angira and Markandeya and six philosophies of Sankhya, Yoga, Nyaya, Vaiseshika, Purva Mimamsa. They knew the art of opening the tie of greater sin, vedas and vedangas, i.e., the science of proper articulation and pronunciation, the science of prosody, grammar, etymological explanation of difficult vedic words, astronomy and ritual or ceremonial.
Anandvilas of V.S. 1733, composed by Maharaja Jaswant Singh of Jodhpur indicates the prevalence of the dialogue method of teaching during the period. Madhumalti by Vasant Raj, copied in V.S. 1822 indicates that the purpose of education is pleasure, knowledge and livelihood. Bija-sorath-ri-Vat copied in V.S. 1822 for the use of Ras Kunwari of Delwada is not a historical work but from this popular story one can draw certain inferences of cultural importance. The writer says that the female education was known during the age.