Mother Goddess in one of her incarnations enshrined within a two dimensional rendering of a temple
The temple hangings from Gujarat are locally known as the Mata-ni-Pachedi. The historical evidence of this craft goes back almost two hundred years. Some rural and nomadic people of Gujarat make these hangings for their rituals. The term Mata-ni-Pachedi came from the Gujarati words, Mata,’ goddess’ ni, ‘belongs to’, Pachedi,’ which literally meant behind in Gujarati. In Gujarat, the narrative hangings of epics of Mata or Devi or Shakti were executed by the nomadic community of Waghari and were used by the people of this community.
The unique feature of these temple hangings was that instead of being hung behind an icon, four to five pieces of these hangings were used to form a shrine for the goddess. These hangings used by the nomadic tribe served the purpose of depicting the epics of the mother goddess as well as forming a temporary shrine for her. With the ethnographic settlement of the communities the shrine hangings, served the purpose of narrative pieces of art like other temple hangings of the country. While the chitaras were the artists who painted the shrine hangings, the bhuvo or bhuva used to be the priest to perform the rituals and jagorais were the singers who interpreted the pachedis.
Communities of Waghris gradually settled on the outskirts of towns/villages as they shifted from a semi nomadic stage to a fixed state. A Mata-ni-Pachedi for the nomadic Vagharis served the purpose of a portable shrine which today in a settled community who have not completely relinquished their original style of worship serves as a rear wall to the main shrine. A pachedi is always a rectangular piece of fabric as opposed to a Chandarvo which is a canopy serving in place of a ceiling in the nomadic shrine.