Toran, also referred to as bandanwar, is the first thing you spot outside a home during a festive season. It is put up on the door because it is believed to ward off evil. For special occasions like weddings, festivals and puja, the toran is usually made by stringing together marigolds and mango leaves. Sometimes, a toran may not be an elaborate door hanging and instead may be just a string with a flower in the centre.
Over the years, people have developed a more experimental and eco-friendly approach to decor which also reflects in the material used in torans. So the door hanging can be made of fabrics or metal. Going with the Indian palette, they usually feature bright colours such as green, yellow, orange and red.
Torans not only enhance the charm of the main entrance of homes but also give a warm welcome to the guests. Quite a lot of people believe that hanging torans on the door pleases Goddess Lakshmi.
Telling us about the different types of torans, interior designer Piyush May says, “There are several varieties available in the market like the embroidered or crochet types, those with sequins and mirrors, fresh flower torans or artificial flower torans. But instead of buying the ones available in the market, people can create their own torans. All you have to do is cut a piece of cloth and decorate it with mirrors and other embellishments.”
May says people can also make fresh flower torans. Flowers like marigold and roses, along with mango leaves or Ashoka leaves, can be combined to make decor for the door.
“The freshness of flowers provides warmth and delight. One can also experiment with newer designs to create unique torans,” he says.
May suggests that flowers like zinnia, chrysanthemums, carnations, which are known to last long, can be used to make floral torans for festivals like Ganapati or Diwali, spread over 4-10 days.
Torans made with artificial flowers serve as perfect alternatives since they can be easily washed and reused each year.
According to May, “All types of torans — paper-based, floral, mango leaf — can be easily made at home. People can use their creativity on paper as well. Cutting paper in the shape of mango leaves and making colourful designs and then stringing them together will make a beautiful toran. To embellish it further, sequins, mirrors, pearls or beads can be used. People can also cut pictures of religious symbols like ‘aum’ from old wedding cards and reuse them to create vibrant and beautiful door hangings.”
As for the maintenance of the toran, May suggests, “Keeping it clean is one of the important things. People should clean the toran every now and then to avoid it from getting dusty or looking old. Also, it should be installed at such a height that it doesn’t cause any hindrance to movement.”