The Nicobar kulhar
Our first ever kulhars were an ode to the kiln-fired terracotta classics that are seen on street corners all over the country, and that have slipped into the design lexicon of this nation unnoticed. This modern Indian essential is our love letter to a design sensibility that, while inherently Indian, travels with ease anywhere on the globe.
Ours are less fragile than the ones still serving chai on street corners, crafted from hand-thrown stoneware and surface-glazed, and intended to stay with you much, much longer than the the single-use lifespan of its inspiration.
Our first variants came in solid grey and aqua stripes, but we’ve played with these season after season, festooning them in art deco motifs borrowed from Mumbai’s architecture, in Sinhalese script, in solid indigo stripes, in gentle China-inspired glaze…we’ve played with the form a little, (this March saw a version with hand-painted banana leaf print on a new design with a wide bottom and narrower rim), and come August, we will have launched our 13th rendition. These sleek earth-toned ones will be called Paradisaya, with a smattering of hand-painted rain drops and playful macaque monkeys bringing our year-long meanderings in Sri Lanka to a rainy lull. You’ll see no more kulhars this year—we’ll regroup next season for a fresh start.
How to use them? They lend themselves to all occasions (we’ve found). In the days preceding our launch, we were up till 3am setting up our Kala Ghoda store, waiting for the sun to come up while watching both the finish line and the launch date looming up ahead… and someone thought it’d be a good idea to raise spirits with a bottle of champagne. It was the first time our kulhars were put into use, and since that day we’ve said ‘for chai or champagne.’ As it happens, they also work great for espresso, for a cocktail, for a little sundae, a serving of bhel puri, or anything else you like really.