The Lohars (metal workers) are the crafters of the metal bells made in the villages of Nirona and Zura in Kutch, Gujarat. Families here have been making bells for generations. Often the whole family is involved in the process. This tradition is also extant in Sindh region in Pakistan.

The bells are commonly used for cattle and identify and locate them as they range across vast areas Each type of herd animal — goats, sheep cattle and camels — has its own size of bell  that can range from an inch to a foot. The artisans also make special bells for use in temples and very tiny bells that are used as ornaments. The bells are made of iron and are coated with Tamba (copper) and Pital (brass), with a mix of other metals. They are constructed from scrap metal sheets that are repeatedly compressed to tie them together to get the necessary form. Forged with the simplest of tools and using a stake anvil buried in the sand and hammers and cuts the bellmakers shape the sheet metal into the desired form. Without any welding, the metal pieces are neatly connected by hand by a locking mechanism. Once the bell is shaped it is dipped into a mixture of flux, brass and copper filings. The entire bell is then covered with a clay coating to keep the finish in place while being fired in a kiln. Once removed from the kiln and cooled each bell is individually tuned till the bellmaker is satisfied by the tonality of the ring.

New designs are now crafted for urban markets and include musical products.




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