My love for the phulkari flower is well documented on the blog, but I’ve never written about my quest to find a phulkari bagh of my own. A bagh is a traditional dupatta embroidered for a special occasion like a wedding, or the birth of a child. The entire dupatta is covered in flowers and creates a garden-like or ‘bagh’ effect.For years now I’ve lusted over listings for vintage Punjabi bagh dupattas on ebay and etsy. I’ve even spent months scrimping and saving my pennies to purchase one of my own, but it’s never quite happened. Last year when my mom went to India, I asked her to look around at my Bibi’s house in India to see if somehow one her bagh’s had been forgotten or overlooked through the years.
I wasn’t surprised to find out that there was no family heirlooms hiding in our house in India – my entire family fled Pakistan at partition and made the move to India, and many things were left behind. I also remember my Bibi saying that the roof had leaked once and caused much water damage to her almirah that housed most of her trousseau wardrobe.
What I never expected though, was a woman from the village that I’ve never met in my life would give my mom a bagh of her own to bring back for me. This bagh was from her wedding, and she didn’t think her daughters or daughter-in-laws would want it. When my mom opened the suitcase and handed me this treasure I couldn’t believe my eyes. This is my culture, my history, my Punjab right here in a dupatta.
I haven’t decided how I’m going to display it in my house yet – I’m thinking framed over my dining table, or maybe even in the entry room of our house, but I did take it out for a spin at the Abbotsford Tulip Festival last week! What better way to photograph a bagh than in a beautiful bagh?
So I know this post is really photo heavy already, but just a few more from my frolic in the tulip fields if you will indulge me….
And just for fun…here is a side by side of my favourite picture from last year and this year..
Text by: Raj Thandhi
Images by: Aziz Dhamani