A family wedding pulled me away in the fine month of December, last year, to Kolhapur, a city steeped in history. The bastion of Maratha history, it is a photographer’s delight, full of colour and fine imagery.
When you need to look for bits out of history, they are available to you everywhere.
One such bit that caught my attention was a standard measure, called a Sher (शेर) that was being cleaned and polished for a wedding ritual. When the bride enters the groom’s residence for the first time, she strikes inward, a Sher full of grain (usually Rice) at the threshold with her right foot (thumb, if you care for the finer details). This ritual is called “Maap Olandne” (माप अोलांडणे), loosely translated, “Crossing the Threshold (Measure?)”. It signifies the ushering of wealth and food (धन, धान्य) by virtue of her entry. I believe, this is a common tradition that is followed in most Hindu weddings.
My focus however, is the Sher.
This particular Sher was made in the year 1910 and has the rhomboidal inscription of म श्री छ प on it (M, Shri, Chh, P). This stands for महाराज श्रीमंत छत्रपाती परवाना (Maharaj Shrimant Chhatrapati Parwana). If I am not mistaken, the Parwana means “issue”. (Will update after confirmation)
So how much exactly is a Sher?
1 Sher = 1.25kgs, so
4 Sher = 5kgs, which is also known as a Payli (पायली)
Other related Sher terminology:
1/2 a Sher = 1 Mapta (मापटं)
1/4 a Sher – 1 Chipta (चिपटं)
1/2 a Chipta = 1 Kolwa (कोळवं)