Yogis, world travelers, and Maha Mala creators Nora Wendel and Piya Jain have transformed traditional Mala jewelry into chic "dual purpose" necklaces. This New Delhi duo started out with the idea to create sacred healing objects -- what they ended up making were contemporary treasures that are equally stylish and spiritual. We caught up with these busy globetrotters and asked them to share the story behind their label and their favorite local tips for living large in New Delhi.
Describe Maha Mala. Who is the Maha Mala woman?
Maha Mala is that twist of Indian tradition with healing vibrations of crystals. It is dual purpose jewelry, for those who know that the possibilities of life are endless and can understand the importance of being in harmony with the universe. Our ethos is about giving, about non-violence, and about sharing joy. The Maha Mala woman is the carefree spirit that trusts the magical moments in life. She manifests her dreams and knows the power of positive thinking, especially in the knowledge that today is the day to embrace life. The Maha Mala girl is a firm believer in non-violence and is passionate about the planet.
How does the Mala fuse old and new?
The word ?Mala? actually means garland or wreath in Hindi, traditionally a Mala is used as a tool in meditation in a practice known as Japa; the recitation of mantras (a mantra is words or sounds that is said to invoke cosmological principles when chanted). Malas have been used in India for many centuries, and you can still see people using Malas to chant with today. Maha Mala wanted to take this old practice and merge it with the newer science of gem therapy. Our necklaces are designed not only for the function (one can use our necklaces to chant with), or for aesthetic value (they look fabulous don?t they?) but also for their therapeutic healing qualities. Crystals emit vibrations that we as humans can attune to. Whether you believe in the power of crystals or in the tradition of mantra, our Malas have been fused with joy and love. Wear them and feel it!
What is the significance of the 108 beads on each necklace?
It is said that the diameter of the sun is 108 times the diameter of the Earth. The distance from the sun to the Earth is also 108 times the diameter of the Sun. It is also said that the average distance from the Earth to the moon is 108 times the diameter of the moon. When you start to look into the science behind Japa (mantra recitation) then one begins to see that the practice of Japa leads to a deeper self-knowledge through meditation. Meditation is a lifelong practice where one tries to get glimpses into what lies beyond this reality, glimpses of ?out there?. The explanation of the sun and moon?s diameter then starts to make sense when you realize that the number 108 connects the earth (us here) to the heavens (what is out there).
What are some of your favorite places to visit -- in and out of New Delhi?
Despite being such a crowded ?modern? city- the beauty in Delhi lies in the roots of its old rulers, from Hindu Kings to Muslim Sultans. The ancient architecture is truly stunning. From Lodhi garden in Central Delhi (a huge beautiful green park) to Humayun?s tomb (a grandeous pinnacled structure made from red sandstone surrounded by rolling gardens, India?s first garden tomb!) built as the resting place for the late Mughal emperor Humayun. These are the scenic spots of Delhi, however if you want to experience the real hustle and bustle that is the capital city, head to Chandi Chowk to get lost in the inner lanes of Old Delhi. Or, for the wildly adventurous; go to Sadar Bazaar, the largest wholesale market in Delhi where you can indulge in your heart's desire (that is if you can find it amongst the crowd!)
Courtesy of Mahindra Homestay
Describe both of your closets. What are some of your most treasured items?
Nora: My closet consists mainly of long flowing skirts and a variety of white blouses, all in the aim of trying to beat the Delhi heat! Jewelry is totally my obsession, and I am constantly scrounging around for rings, necklaces, and earrings from the different countries I travel to. emi-tribal yet modern pieces can be found stashed away (more like piled high!) in my jewelry drawer.