24 October 2012


Very soon we will be ushering the Festival of Lights(Deepavali/ Diwali). This is not only the time for festivities but also the time for spring cleaning, disposing the old stuff, buying new stuff, decorating the altar and the house. Beautiful door hangings also known as Torans or Bandanwaar are hung at the entrance of the home to invite Goddess Lakshmi (The Goddess of Wealth).
Torans are hung outside offices/shops too, to please and attract the Goddess. Every year people throw the old torans and replace them with new ones. 
Traditionally Toran was made of Mango leaves and Marigold flowers, these were harmless to the environment, when disposed, but, nowadays we have Torans made of Wooden beads, crystals, metal, plastic etc. 
These when disposed cause harm to our environment even affecting our eco-system.
We can’t stop buying this or using this completely as we want to be updated with the times and sometimes it is a matter of convenience and availability. 
This Diwali I decided to go green and do something with a difference. 
I didn’t buy a Toran and decided to re-use my old Toran which was made of wooden beads, metal and plastic.

Things to note while re-using and recycling are 
Some materials like
-         Cheap fabrics etc used in Torans are not re-usable or recyclable as once they are dusty you can’t even wash them as the colors start to run or the fabric becomes shapeless. These Torans are primarily made with the purpose that they cannot be re-used and the people will go back to the shops to buy new ones.
-         Plastic balls tend to get dents easily and loose shape and are not easy to re-use.

What can be easily re-used and given a new look are 
-         Wooden beads, crystals and Metal.

How to go about it -
Step 1 – De-string the wooden beads, metal rings, metal balls or crystals.
Step 2 – Wash the beads, metal rings, metal balls or crystals neatly with soap and water.  Give it a quick wash and rinse as sometimes they run color. Do not use hot water. Preferably use normal tap water.
Step 3 – Dry the wooden beads in the sun till they are dry.  The other materials have to be wiped and air dried.
Step 4 – Measure the area where you want to hang the toran. Stick a blue tack to the centre and string them in the same sequence from both sides. String them in the sequence you want.

What I did with my Toran

The toran you see in my picture has a new look, I removed the colored plastic balls which had become shapeless and the mirrors stuck on them had fallen off, so I just disposed them. I also disposed the metal bells attached to it as they were totally rusted and there was no way to refurbish them. I just used the metal rings, the wooden beads and used the little piece of kalash which was gifted by a friend as a centre piece. Unfortunately I forgot to click the picture of how the old toran was looking for people to compare. But I do have a simple and elegant new toran and I attached 2 key rings to the ends to enable easy hanging of the toran.

What you can do with them 
-         You can always bead them in a different sequence using a strong thread and give it a new look,
-         You can buy new beads (with holes on both sides, so you can easily string it) and make a different pattern,
-         You can use different colored beads to give it a new color combination or as per your creativity and the ideas that come to you.
-         Just remember that string them in an order like 4 beads left and 4 beads right for it to look as good as the ones you buy in the market. 
Have a sequence, a pattern. If not it will look messy and disarrayed.

And lo and behold!!! 

You have a new toran to adorn your home and altar. If you don’t want to buy torans, you can make these at home.  
These Torans not only enhance the main entrance of your home & make it look festive but also give a friendly welcome to those who drop in to wish you for Diwali.
Imagine the compliments that you would receive for displaying something unique that cannot be seen in any home as it is not available in the market and the proud look on your husband’s face that you saved his money.
Try making these for this Deepavali....
Go green, Recycle and re-use. Save the environment and Save your money too.

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