Antique brass lamps from Kerala have always intrigued me! They seem to be part of a mysterious era gone by, speaking immensely about the rich heritage and culture of Kerala. In fact, Kerala brass lamps come in myriad shapes, sizes and designs. Each of these is meant for a specific ritual or function.
The hanging brass lamps are called Thooku Vilakku while the floor lamps are called Nilavilakku which represents the Shivalinga at the top. One more form, the Kuthu vilakku symbolises the beautiful AnnaPakshi and is also used for Poojas.
However, for adding a touch of elegance and tradition to living rooms / front porch and Pooja rooms, I prefer beautifully carved and sculpted, hanging brass lamps or thooku vilakku.
Hanging brass lamps – Thooku Vilakku
Hanging brass lamps have been a significant part of every traditional Kerala home. Made of brass, copper or other metals, a hanging lamp is suspended by means of an intricately carved chain. These lamps have five grooves meant for lighting five cotton wicks immersed in linseed oil or ghee. Traditional hanging brass lamps usually adorn the main entrance, the front porch and the Pooja room.
The lady of the house lights the lamp early in the morning and just before dusk in order to dispel darkness and negative energies. The light symbolizes knowledge whereas darkness is ignorance. Knowledge dispels ignorance. Knowledge brings in wealth and prosperity. The reasons and beliefs may be many. However, if you are one of those who is always in favor of traditional home decor, then this lamp is an absolute must have.
There are so many beautiful versions of a traditional thooku vilakku.
This version shows Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, sitting gracefully in a full bloomed lotus surrounded by elephants.
Nritya Ganesha Thooku vilakku
This one is my personal favourite. It features an intricately carved version of Lord Ganesha in a dancing position.
This one features the Indian mythical bird, Annapakshi standing proudly. It has the calm and beautiful face of a swan with the rich plumage of a peacock. The bird holds a wine in its beak which signifies wealth and abundance.
Use them to enhance the focal points in your living room and pooja areas. You can also keep a hanging lamp in your backyard garden or balcony. These make your garden and balcony look very attractive when lit in the evening.
P.S. If you happen to visit Kerala, buy these handing lamps from any handicraft or Pooja accessories store. These are reasonably priced from Rs.600 onwards. Or better still; buy one from any Kerala store in your city. Thooku Villaku are usually over priced when buying online. So be vary.