Welcome To Gallery 1: The Original Gandharva Loka Store
March 7, 2008–Febuary 22, 2011
This gallery presents a visual history of the original Gandharva Loka store at 597 Colombo Street on the western edge of the Christchurch CBD near the corner of Colombo and St Asaph Streets. Included in this gallery are images of the world instruments we stock and some of the events that we attended during our first three years of trading.
Gandharva Loka in February of 2008 – opening soon...!
This space had been a gift shop prior to being taken over by Gandharva Loka. As it turns out, the gift shop and Gandharva Loka now share the same space on St Asaph Street.
Ready And Waiting
Freshly painted and cleaned, an empty Gandharva Loka awaits the arrival of instruments from around the world and several shipments are due.
First Instruments Arrive
Gandharva Loka co-manager Vajin Armstrong is all smiles as he unpacks the first shipment of instruments in the laneway behind the store.
Finding Homes For The New Arrivals
Gandharva Loka's first shipments of instruments are being unpacked and prepared for display. This also involves tuning instruments such as the Chinese guzeng – the long stringed instrument which features in the centre of this image.
Gandharva Loka's Opening Day: March 7, 2008
The first day of trading in Christchurch – the first Gandharva Loka outside Europe. The concept of Gandharva Loka sprung from the inspiration of Sri Chinmoy who saw music as a powerful force for global oneness. Shortly before his passing in October of 2007, Sri Chinmoy had encouraged Gandharva Loka's European owner to open more branches around the world. Our Christchurch store is a direct result of that encouragement and is dedicated to Sri Chinmoy's vision of a peaceful oneness world family.
Sparkling Window Display
Gandharva Loka's window display on the first day: sparkling clean and full of instruments from all around the world.
Vajin Is Still Smiling
Vajin stands beside the counter at Gandharva Loka and awaits the first customers.
Drums, drums and more drums at Gandharva Loka in Christchurch.
Colour The World With Rhythm
A sharp looking and sharp sounding Egyptian style darbuka on display at Gandharva Loka.
Looking up Colombo Street from Gandharva Loka in the direction of Cathedral Square.
Always Something New In The Window
With such a huge variety of instruments available at Gandharva Loka, changing window display was never a problem.
New Sounds, Ideas And Inspiration
Gandharva Loka is constantly changing with the arrival of new instruments that bring new sounds, ideas and inspiration. Each instrument has its own distinct voice and personaity. As we see and hear them each day, they become great companions.
Largest Member Of The Frog Family
A large wooden frog dominates a display of instruments at Gandharva Loka. This fellow became something of a mascot at Gandharva Loka.
Small But Enchanting
Gandharva Loka is not a big space, but our wide variety of world instruments makes it a very interesting place to visit and our visitors find the store quite enchanting.
Gandharva Loka was invited to set up a stall at the Music'09 Music Education Conference in Christchurch which was held at the Grand Chancellor Hotel in July 2009. The conference was organised by Music Education New Zealand Aotearoa.
Panorama Of Gandharva Loka
Through the miracle of modern technology and the patient of a knowledgable photographer, we are able to post this panoramic view of Gandharva Loka in its early days.
Behold The Mighty Bodhran
Vajin exhibits a bodhran and tipper (beater) – one of many that are available from Gandharva Loka. Bodhrans are a type of frame drum commonly used in Irish traditional music. They are produced in a variety of sizes and some are tunable.
Prasasta is the other half of the Gandharva Loka Christchurch team and is usually the one taking the photographs – which is why we see more of the other half...
A Whole World Of Instruments
A wide variety of unique world instruments adorn the shelves of Gandharva Loka in Christchurch.
The Humble Ukulele
The humble ukulele has once again become quite popular over the past few years with ukulele groups springing up everywhere. Several models from beginer to professional are available from Gandharva Loka along with a comprehensive learn-to-play book and electronic ukulele tuners.
The Sitar Of India
Of the many extraordinary Instruments that hail from India, perhaps the sitar is one of the best known in the west. Made famous by such musicians as Ravi Shanjar and George Harrison, the sound of the sitar imparts so completely the consciouness of India.
Ode To The Oud
Oh Oud, you grace our store with your special shape and sound... wait, Oh Oud, patiently, by some soul soon you will be found...
Detail of a Middle Eastern oud sitting on a shelf at Gandharva Loka.
Gandharva Loka At The Women's Lifestyle Expo
The Gandharva Loka stall at the Women's Lifestyle Expo in Christchurch, September 2009.
Gandharva Loka at WOMAD 2009
Prasasta fronts the Gandharva Loka stall at WOMAD New Zealand in 2009 – the first time Gandharva Loka made the trip to the renowned world music festival which is held in New Plymouth each year.
Vajin demonstrates a harmonium from India for a small crowd of interested onlookers at WOMAD 2009.
Budding Master Drummer
A budding drummer tries out an African djembe for size at the Gandharva Loka stall during WOMAD 2009. Known as a family friendly event, the great number of younsters really light up the festival with their boundless energy and enthusiasm.
Sound'n The Dungchen
This gentleman passed the stringent Gandharva Loka 'lip-n-lung' test with flying colours when he blew a beautiful, clear note on one of our dungchen (Tibetan horn) at WOMAD 2009. The young ladies standing beside him were at once stunned and impressed.
Singing Bowl Serenade
A picture of focus and concentration, these gentlemen give a pair of Gandharva Loka's singing bowls a whirl at WOMAD 2009.
Variety: The Spice Of Life
Gandharva Loka displayed a wide variety of musical instruments on display at WOMAD 2009.
A variety of drums and an esraj (a traditional Bengali stringed instrument seen at the far right of the shelf) also arrived from India.
Birds Of Feather Stick Together
Behold the wooden bird trident (we also stock fish tridents) – cute three headed percussion instruments that are struck and/or stroked with a stick to produce a variety of effects generally of a rhythmic nature.
Gandharva Loka offers beginners and professional tabla that are imported from India. They come with bags and a metal tuning hammer. We also stock 'learn to play tabla' books and electronic digital tabla.
A Window To World Music
Our window display includes drums from Africa and India, gongs from China and Japan, a locally made Irish harp and a pair of tanpura – a stringed drone instrument from India.
Jack Johnson Visits Gandharva Loka
From the 'you never know who is going to walk in the door' file, we had the pleasant experience of Jack Johnson and his band visiting Gandharva Loka on November the 29th, 2010 – they were in town for a concert on the 30th. Before coming to Christchurch Jack had announced that the proceedings of the Christchurch concert would go to the September 2010 earthquake relief fund.
Our Good Friends Doug and Emily Brush
Doug Brush and his wife Emily popped into Gandharva Loka in early February 2011. Doug is an accomplished professional percussionist and teacher who runs a very active drum circle in Christchurch and has been one of Gandharva Loka's most enthusiastic supporters.
February 22, 2011: The Big Shake
After weeks of earthquakes and aftershocks that began on September the 4th in 2010, the violent magnitude 6.3 earthquake that hit Christchurch on the 22nd of February in 2011 was the straw that broke the cities back and claimed 185 lives. This is the block on the corner of Colombo and St Asaph Streets. Gandharva Loka is the third store still standing from the left with the orange framing.
A Clean Slate
The same block a few months later and a reflection of what much of the Christchurch CBD looked like by mid 2012. Looking at the bright side of all that has passed, there are now many opportunities for the people of Christchurch to work together to create a new community. In the words of our meditation teacher Sri Chinmoy, "Life is a golden opportunity. The sooner we realise it, the better."
Our New Home
As of the 6th of December 2011, Gandharva Loka has a beautiful new home. We invite you to have a look at our new location and to come and visit us sometime soon. We share our new space with The Lotus-Heart vegetarian restaurant and tea house and gift shop and our contact/location details can be viewed here »