AI7_19_2017_4_05_47_AM_indusvalleymain.jpg

The Indus Valley store sells traditional kitchenware made in collaboration with local artisans.

Terracotta ware was a staple to all Indian kitchens since ancient times.

Matkas or clay wares are porous, due to which the contained liquid seeps out and evaporates on the surface, thus cooling the liquid contained inside. This makes terracotta an appropriate material for a beer mug.

A magnesium rich rock, soapstone has been the preferred material for cooking in India since ages. When light-grey and porous soapstone vessels are seasoned with oil and rice starch, the pores are clogged and the vessel acquires a darker shade. The local name for this blackish vessel is kalchatti.

When The Indus Valley came out with its kalchatti collection, young parents bought the soapstone wares to acquaint their children with their traditional cooking ware.

The spoon is an indigenous design of simple construction—one end of a long wooden stick clamping onto a part of coconut shell. The shell of the coconut is glazed to prevent it from moulding.

AI7_19_2017_4_05_47_AM_indusvalleymain.jpg
Showcase 19 Jul 2017

The Indus Valley brings back ancient Indian wisdom through its range of kitchenware

The 21st century is witness to mind-numbing consumerism that often ends up producing toxic and hazardous products for the consumers. In such an environment Chennai-based The Indus Valley is a small but significant disruption to capitalism. The Indus Valley store sells traditional kitchenware in collaboration with local artisans. The current collection has kitchenware and a few lifestyle products made from materials like copper, wood, clay and soapstone.

“All our products are made from uncontaminated raw materials. Purity is a promise we keep,” says Madhumitha Udaykumar, who co-founded the store with Jagadeesh Kumar. The clay and soapstone kitchenware especially reminds one of the simple, unadulterated years of the yore. And the remarkable feat of the brand is that these products are created for the modern Indian kitchen. Here we have selected four products from The Indus Valley store to better understand their making:

Hammered Copper Bottle

A part of ancient wisdom that the millennial India has been returning to is the use of copper vessels for drinking water. “Stilled and stored in copper vessels, water is rich in minerals. Copper detoxifies water,” says Madhumitha. The traditional craft of hammering the metal vessels adds to its style, creating a grid of tiny dents on the surface of the bottle. “Hammering the bottles has increased the surface of contact between the water and the metal,” she says.

The Indus Valley store sells traditional kitchenware made in collaboration with local artisans.

Interestingly, the bottles and most other products by The Indus Valley do not carry the brand logo. “We refrain from branding the bottles because we don’t want to use paints or metals or any other material for that matter, lest they pollute the contents of the kitchenware,” says Madhumitha.    

Terracotta Beer Mug 

Terracotta ware has been a staple to all Indian kitchens since ancient times. But the end of chulhas and old firing systems led to a near end of terracotta in cooking ware. Though clay ware was unsuitable for cooking on slick gas burners and in electronic gadgets, the matkas endured the transition and held on to their rightful place as a storage unit for drinking water in many Indian households.

Terracotta ware was a staple to all Indian kitchens since ancient times.

Matkas or any clay ware for that matter is porous, due to which the contained liquid seeps out and evaporates on the surface, thus cooling the contents of the container.. This makes terracotta very suitable for a beer mug. “We read about clay being used for beer mugs and decided to experiment with terracotta,” says Madhumitha. “After a few rounds, the result was satisfactory - the beer stayed cool and the fizz didn’t die. And there is an earthiness that quickly rubs onto the beer from the mug. Though here’s a disclaimer for beer lovers: Typically clay has a porosity of up to 15%. So, bottoms up!”

Matkas or clay wares are porous, due to which the contained liquid seeps out and evaporates on the surface, thus cooling the liquid contained inside. This makes terracotta an appropriate material for a beer mug.

Soapstone Toy Set

A magnesium rich rock, soapstone has been the preferred material for cooking in India since ages. When light-grey and porous soapstone vessels are seasoned with oil and rice starch, the pores are clogged and the vessel acquires a darker shade. The local name for this blackish vessel is kalchatti.

A magnesium rich rock, soapstone has been the preferred material for cooking in India since ages. When light-grey and porous soapstone vessels are seasoned with oil and rice starch, the pores are clogged and the vessel acquires a darker shade. The local name for this blackish vessel is kalchatti.

"The Indus Valley vowed to use unadulterated local material and talent. The dedication and simplicity of that promise is reflected in most of their products, especially in the coconut dessert spoon."

Kalchatti’s disappearance from kitchen cookware is more obvious than clay ware. When The Indus Valley came out with its kalchatti collection, young parents bought the soapstone wares to acquaint their children with their traditional cooking ware. In addition, The Indus Valley wrote detailed blogs to educate their customers on how to integrate kalchatti with modern cooking, so they don’t end up as artifacts for aesthetic décor. The soapstone toy set is a way to familiarise young children with their unique and traditional cooking wares and materials.

When The Indus Valley came out with its kalchatti collection, young parents bought the soapstone wares to acquaint their children with their traditional cooking ware.

   

Coconut Dessert Spoon 

Upon starting their journey into kitchenware, The Indus Valley vowed to use unadulterated local material and talent. The dedication and simplicity of that promise is reflected in most of their products, especially in the coconut dessert spoon. The spoon is an indigenous design of simple construction—one end of a long wooden stick clamping onto a part of coconut shell. The shell of the coconut is glazed to prevent it from moulding.

The spoon is an indigenous design of simple construction—one end of a long wooden stick clamping onto a part of coconut shell. The shell of the coconut is glazed to prevent it from moulding.

The Indus Valley’s products are eco-friendly and support the traditional artisans of India. The brand is carving a niche for itself by targeting modern India that’s increasingly looking at and craving the simplicity of the past.