What is a Kolhapuri Saaj?
Popular in the Maharashtra in the older times and now all over India. Kolhapuri Saaj typically consists of 10-21 different symbolically designed Panadis attached with Ghungroos (Also known as Ghagris[meaning water vessel], Javmani Beads, Kada panadis (Also known as stone leaves) and a SAAJ GHAT in the middle .
Unlike the older times the typical Saaj Ghat has now been replaced by numerous other pendants likes of laxmi, krishna, Nagadevta and many others. The typical saaj ghat has a stone in the middle surrounded by beads and ghagris.
The 21 panadis mostly consists of panch panadi (holy leaves), bel leaf (leaf offered to Lord Shiva), bel paan (a plant of three united leaves), ridge gourd (symbolic of all plants), karle or Bitter gourd (life-giving herb), Sun, manik panadi (a gem, symbolising friendship), matsya (fish, or incarnation of Vishnu), Koorma (incarnation of Vishnu), Narasimha (incarnation of Vishnu), rose, beetle, chandra (Moon), emerald, gandbhairi (symbolising unity of husband and wife), morchel (symbolic of kingdom and richness), peacock feather, shankha (Conch), kamal (lotus), kasav (tortoise), nagdevta (Naag) , kitri mukh, tait and bhunga (bumble bee) arranged in any available manner to give in a traditional look.
Typical kolhapuri saaj comes in different forms from 10 Paani to 21 Paani now. A saaj necklace was also gifted to Britain’s first lady, Queen Elizabeth by a city-based goldsmith Karmarkar Pedhi, 45 years ago.
The most famous patterns of kolhapuri saaj are know as follow-
1) Peshwai Kolhapuri Saaj - A kolhapuri saaj made with design leaves filled with huge amount of ghungroos and may or may not have an pendant.
2) Rukminai kolhapuri saaj - A royal and rich heritage 3 layered Kolhapuri Saaj with huge amount of Ghungroos.
3) Plain Kolhapuri Saaj - Classic Kolhapuri Saaj without the Khada (Stone) Panadis.
4) 12 Paani Kolhapuri Saaj - The most typical and traditional style of Kolhapuri Saaj being made.
HOW IS A KOLHAPURI SAAJ MADE?
The very first step of making an Kolhapuri Saaj is printing of the design leaves (also know as Chappai karne in local language). The design leaves are finely printed from hand made Die (Modern jewellers also use an method called casting ). After the leaves are printed a specific set of workers apply Ghungroos to those leaves giving it the traditional look. Once the Ghungroos are done stones are pasted.
The next thing done is hand made beads are made to be put in between leaves. the third step is to make the pendant thats been put in the middle. After all the raw material is ready the leaves and beads are woven into thread in a way that the same design panadis come opposite to each other. after its done an Gonda (Basically a thread which can be adjusted) is applied and an thread also called as jar is woven throughput the saaj to keep it in one place.
After all the above is done we get our beloved traditional kolhapuri saaj ready to be worn.