Male: The act of flowers


3 January 2019

“Male” is a Sanskrit word for garland, usually consisting of flowers bunched together on a string. Offering flower garland is a long tradition in the Hindu customs. Flower garlands symbolise luck, parity and a new beginning. People believe it will bring a fresh start in life.

In South Asian culture, offering flower is a common holy practice. Offering fresh flower garland is more than just offering a bunch of flowers. It is an exceptional act, such as a marriage or Puja and also for a final ceremony in funerals. In that sense, the garland has a connection throughout life.

I have visited one of colour, full fresh flower garland making a place in Southwest India. Devaraja Market in Mysore. It’s such an amazing place to be. Marigold, jasmine also various colours of rose are threaded onto the beautiful garland. Lotus, lilies, Ashoka, Nerium/oleander, chrysanthemum, roses, hibiscus, pinwheel flowers are also used. Most of those in the garland-making profession have been doing it for years, even generations.

This job needs to be absolute patience. Each flower has to get connected to be one chain while still fresh. I met the garland-maker Muhammad in the Devraj market. He was has been making garlands for half his life. Now, he is passing his knowledge to the next generation. At the end of all our talks, he said ” We are making a fresh beginning for people. Not only that, We have made it visible by colourful flowers.”

While I was travelling in India, one of my favourites places was markets or bazaars. Those places are bit chaotic and noisy. Multiple forms are appearing in the same place. There is household stuff and spiritual Items mixed together. But my attention was caught by colourful garland. In every market has a garland-makers area. That area is the most colourful place in the entire market. It is amazing to observe how each flower connects through the one thread and ultimately becoming a fine garland. It is an act of flower. To make with flowers requires absolute love and patience. A single rough touch might destroy the flower. I was so passionate about garland makers, because of their passion. It’s meditative work.


Krishan Rajapakshe is a photographer and a visual artist. He is based in Berlin, but was raised in Sri Lanka. Krishan started his career as a visual communicator. Before Berlin, he has worked in various media and communication houses in different countries such as Malaysia, Nepal and Cambodia and as well as Sri Lanka. Krishan’s works have been published in a different media channel. VOD- Cambodia, Mkini- Malaysia, Geographyandyou – Inda and Lanka News web, Vikalpa in Sri Lanka as well as RDL-Friburge in Germany. Also, he has been involved in a number of solo and collective photography exhibitions. He was one of the invites of the Kosmo’s photography artist talk moderated by Grada Kolomba at Maxim Gorki Theater, Berlin. Krishan’s photographic works are always connected to social-political realities in society. His images occupy a place between beauty and rawness.

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