Goldsmiths have been an integral part of Indian society for ages. In South India, the Vishwakarma community has traditionally been entrusted with the responsibility of practising the various crafts. The community mainly comprises of smiths, carpenters and masons, and consider themselves to be descendants of Vishwakarman, the celestial architect. “Achari” is a title used to address a skilled craftsman – a goldsmith is referred to as “Thangaachari”.
Today, with the advent of machines, traditional jewellery makers are fast disappearing. Although believed to have better quality, the hand-made jewellery takes a longer time to make. This leads to its added cost, which results in less demand. The skills that were passed down from generation to generation are finding less takers, as more people are turning away from inherited occupations, leaving the traditional skills in danger of being lost. In this series, Lijo Lonappan photographs Ravi Achari from Tiruvannamalai.
Photography © Lijo Lonappan / 35 mm digital camera