The Kaavad, a portable, painted, wooden shrine, is made by the Kaavad makers (Basayati Suthars) of Bassi, Chittor, for the storytellers (Kaavadiya Bhats or Ravs) of Marwar. The storytellers unfold the multiple panels of the Kaavad as they recite stories and genealogies of their patrons (jajmans) spread across Rajasthan and adjoining states. The experience of travel in the unfolding and the recitation of the stories are akin to performing a pilgrimage. The Kaavad appears to be conceptually based on a Hindu temple which usually consists of an entrance with guardians, a covered hall for the devotees to gather (mandap) and an inner shrine or sanctum sanctorum (Garbhagriha). The temple hall may have images of gods as well as images from the epics. Like a temple the Kaavad too has an entrance with guardians and an inner shrine (Ram mandir/Thakur mandir) which is reached by the turning of the hinged panels. The panels fold into each other and the ones closest to the central core/shrine are held in place by wooden pegs acting as hinges. A storyteller's Kaavad called the Marwari Kaavad has a fixed height, a flat roof, and a red base colour. The images on the panels include those of gods, saints and patrons. The Kaavad is usually wrapped in a red or white cloth and carried on the shoulder by the storyteller.
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