Sanjay Chitara

River of Faith

Through the veins of a centuries-old textile art tradition flow the waters of a once-mighty river. Follow the journey of a Mata-ni-Pachedi painting as it takes birth on the banks of the Sabarmati

reimagine I

‘reimagine’ is an ongoing Instagram-exclusive series through which we make connections across the Sarmaya collection and examine the extent to which our ways of seeing — and an object’s own meaning — are informed by time, space, and context

Mata Ni Pachedi, Bahuchara Mata

This Mata-ni-Pachedi  venerates the Bahuchara Mata, depicted sitting on a rooster. Two diminutive goddesses flank her on either side. Benevolent protector of India’s hijra community, the Bahuchara Mata or Becharaji is most commonly portrayed seated on a rooster. The bird represents virility and devotees of the goddess seek help with infertility, among other maladies. Historically,… Read more »

Mata Ni Pachedi, Hadkai Mata

This Mata-ni-Pachedi celebrates and venerates the Hadkai Mata, depicted standing on a large chariot shrine pulled by four dogs. Goddess Hadkai, also known as Hadkamai, Hadaksha, Hadkabai and Hulan, is the Goddess who protects against rabies. Rabies is a real and present danger due to the large population of dogs that live in and around… Read more »

Mata Ni Pachedi, Durga Mata, Vahanvati Mata, Bahuchara Mata

There are three central goddesses in this painting: Durga, Bahuchara Mata and Vahanvati Mata. If you’ve read this story on goddesses and their vahans, you will know that Durga Mata is the one riding the lion on land, Vahanvati Mata is riding a black goat on a boat in the sea and Bahuchara Mata is… Read more »

Mata Ni Pachedi, Vishat Mata

Vishat Mata’s name is derived from the Gujarati ‘vis-hath’ or twenty hands. Interestingly, even though she’s named for that very quality, this goddess is rarely represented in paintings with twenty arms; some six-armed goddesses have also been identified as Vishat Mata. Her mount is a black buffalo. The Goddess usually carries swords, a dagger, a… Read more »

Mata Ni Pachedi, Bahuchara Mata

Bahuchara Mata is the central figure of this work. The goddess is depicted sitting on a rooster inside a shrine-like structure. Her is flanked by the images of Hindu gods and devotees, and foliage on the outside. This goddess’s name is derived from the Gujarati words ‘bahu’, meaning many and ‘chara’, meaning movement. Her mount… Read more »

Mata Ni Pachedi, Vahanvati Mata

Vahanvati Mata is one of the folk goddesses, worshipped by the Vaghri community of Gujarat. She is iconographically represented as sitting on a goat, which in turn is placed inside a ship. She is primarily a goddess that protects travellers and merchants crossing the seas. In this Pachedi, the goddess is represented with eight hands… Read more »