In sunshine drenched India, it’s no surprise that the color yellow evokes associations deeply entrenched in the collective consciousness. Call it basanti as north Indians do, or manjal, the term used by southerners, yellow is prominent among India’s sacred colors, celebrated in religion, art and craft traditions.
Ancient texts extol the majestic figure of Vishnu the Creator as clad in yellow garments. His avatar, Lord Krishna, is often depicted in religious iconography wearing rich, butter-yellow silks, the bright color a stunning contrast to the Lord’s dark-skinned beauty. Among the goddesses, yellow symbolizes Saraswati’s attributes of purity and knowledge. Saraswati is said to favor her devotees wearing yellow and worshiping her with offerings of pastel yellow Champa flowers or the more exotic, deep yellow blooms of the Palash tree.
Yellow also symbolizes sensuality and new awakenings. It’s the color of spring, when the earth’s regenerative forces awaken. Young, unmarried women sport cheerful yellows at spring festivals, when the sun’s warming, golden rays dispel the gloom of winter.
Vishu, the spring festival of Kerala, celebrates the advent of the vernal equinox with all things yellow – bunches of lemon-yellow Cassia Fistula, ripe bananas, yellow cucumbers and more.
Sacred rituals would be incomplete without yellow. At temples, holy men tie yellow thread on devotees’ wrists to keep negative forces at bay. Mangalya dharanam is the crux of the south Indian marriage ritual, when the groom ties the mangalyam – a thick thread of deep yellow, dyed cotton – around his bride’s neck, an object of great sanctity and social significance.
In the infinitely creative hands of Kanjivaram sari weavers, yellow takes on an incredible range of tones from sprightly, youthful shades of lime, sunshine and mango to earthy blends like turmeric, mustard, topaz and chrome….pure, sensual indulgence!
Click here to check the various shades of yellow saris housed at Sarangi.