in , , , ,

Zishta: Reviving The Soul Of The Kitchen

“A recipe has no soul. You as the cook, must bring the soul to the recipe.” Powerful lines. Soulful cooking is central to soulful eating. Across cultures, across civilizations, eating traditions have been guided by mindful practices.

If the way to someone’s heart is through their gut, the kitchen is where the soulful journey begins. When you think of ghar ka khana, the fragrance of a slow-cooked fare, hand grounded spices neatly stacked in the quintessential masala dabba vividly fill up your reverie; punctuated by the sounds of sizzling condiments from a tadka ladle and the unmistakable rhythm of the hardstone mortar and pestle working to eke out freshly ground chutney. Food is sensorial. The scents, the sounds, and essentially the rich flavors of a meal come from a variety of pots, pans, and the process indigenous to your household.

Woefully, the kitchen cabinet has significantly changed across homes. While multitasking kitchen accessories and tools simplify the process of cooking, they also steal the art and soul from it. Wouldn’t it be beautiful if we could bring all that ancient wisdom back to the kitchen and have wholesome meals every single day? Where food and the art of eating could go back to being sensorial.  

A traditionally crafted Kansa or Bronze dinner set.

This story begins with a kitchen in a temple-town

Three curious friends – Archish, Meera, and Varishta from Tamil Nadu have figured that out for us. They drew inspiration from one of their 95-year-old and wise grandmas who lives by herself in the temple town of Srirangam. To this date, she independently rustles up a wholesome meal for every guest that sets foot in her home. Each meal stays memorable. Undoubtedly, her kitchen is a treasure trove of antique, time-tested utensils and cookware. Her bountiful kitchen got the trio intrigued about the origins and makers of ancient kitchenware and they decided to scout different parts of Tamil Nadu in search of the original craftsmen. A journey that started with intrigue and as a blogging escapade materialized into a trusted business. One that would source and revive ancient homeware. When their blogs started piquing the interest of followers in their featured products, the trio decided to turn into conscious guardians of this traditional wisdom. They launched their venture, Zishta – a brand that revives age-old homeware and kitchen practices.

‘Zishta’ is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Sishta’ – which stands for traditions, traditional roots, and wisdom.


Varishta Sampath, Meera Ramakrishnan and Archish Mathe Madhavan - the trio who founded Zishta.
Varishta Sampath, Meera Ramakrishnan and Archish Mathe Madhavan – the trio who founded Zishta.


Artisans who have been handcrafting homeware products using traditional techniques mastered and passed down by ancestors through 8 generations.


A truly soulful kitchen – from craft to fare.

What you cook in and cook with, matters

Nourishing food traces itself back to ancient sustainable practices of cooking with the elements be it Brass (Pital), Copper, Bell-metal (Kansa), cast iron, stoneware, clay. What you cook in matters as much as what you cook.

According to the history of metallurgy in India, brass vessels have been found in archaeological excavations dating back to the Indus Valley civilization, which flourished in the Indian subcontinent from as early as 2600 BCE to 1900 BCE. The beginning of the stone sil-battas can be traced to the Tittiriya Samhita, a manual for rituals written during the Vedic time. 

Depiction of a Medieval Indian Kitchen.
Depiction of a Medieval Indian Kitchen.


Depiction of an ancient 14th Century Mughal Civilisation kitchen.

One must visit The Vechaar Utensils Museum in Ahmedabad Gujarat to explore a treasure trove of over 4500 unique pieces that narrate the story of India’s cultural evolution – the human need to create and the skill of crafting something beautiful, yet utilitarian. What is most amazing about these vessels is that they date back about 100-1000 years; it is hard to believe that all of these masterpieces were produced before machines or craft degrees existed, the curation is indeed extraordinary.

The priceless display of ancient utensils at the The Vechaar Cultural and Heritage Museum of Utensils in Ahmedabad Gujarat
The priceless display of ancient utensils at the The Vechaar Cultural and Heritage Museum of Utensils in Ahmedabad Gujarat

Our ancestors lived mindfully. Zishta was started with a vision to revive lost practices and traditions that originated centuries ago and those that retain immense value. By leveraging traditional wisdom, the brand and its roster of kitchenware and homeware aim to make our homes more nourishing, earth-friendly, and holistic – pretty much like the homes of our ancestors.

A traceable business travels further

The most endearing part of Zishta is that it works with the original rural artisans and stays steadfastly authentic to ancient practices. These are the same artisans who have been handcrafting homeware products using traditional techniques mastered and passed down by ancestors and guilds. Their craft has been traced back to 8 generations. The team at Zishta works hard to trace them. Discovering the right craftsmen is an adventure of its own. It involves extensive travel to the various nooks and corners of India, and spending time with locals to understand the traditional value and authenticity of their practices. These practices are carefully documented by the team to make sure that a wealth of knowledge is available to everyone. Each practice holds a special place in history and tradition. 

“We have had many customers who come to us emotionally moved by seeing some of the products which brought back memories from their grandparent’s home. “Nostalgia” and stories about their ancestors and sharing memories with us is the best part of our business!” 

Meeting exacting standards

Zishta takes their pursuit of authenticity a notch up by testing products for their purity. All their products are tested in an independent NABL-accredited lab and all the traditional products by Zishta comply with RoHS standards (Restriction of Hazardous Substances). 

They have proudly revived over 800 products today and worked with artisans from across the country.  

Zishta’s admirable list of revived products includes tin vessels from Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu, copper water pots from Maharashtra, Sengottai dosa tawa handmade with first-grade iron from the Alappuzha district of Kerala, natural river grass mats called Madur mats from West Bengal, Wooden toys from Chennapatna, Etikopakka, Varanasi, and Bhatukali, lamps based on Vedic scriptures from Nachiar Kovil in Tamilnadu, iron-rich vessels and black pottery from Manipur, Kansa or bell metal serving utensils from Orissa, neem wood cutleries from West Bengal. The list is a virtual tapestry of India.  

Apart from purity tests Zishta dutifully tests their products at their own homes to understand utility attributes and make improvements. Products that clear the home test are the only ones that are tested for purity and ultimately launched to market. 

A worthy journey goes uphill, it listens

The biggest challenge for Zishta when it started, was to gain the trust of their now diverse, far-flung network of traditional rural artisans. It took months of conversations, and collaborations to build trust, ultimately laying a strong foundation for the brand. 

Craftsmen at work!

They listened to the artisans and took feedback on how they could improve and work better. But what made Zishta realize that they were on the right path was a moment when one artisan expressed “Thank you for treating us like craftsmen and not laborers like other brands do.” 

This statement encapsulates the core ethos of Zishta and precisely why they do what they do. 

Meaningful and mindful

Zishta acts as a bridge between an ancient then and a modern now. 

Its honest process and fair-trade practices revive heritage homeware in the most endearing manner. Their philosophy is to preserve ancient knowledge and craft and revive the utility of traditional products in our modern homes.  

During and after the pandemic, many realized the importance of a home-cooked meal and authentic recipes and Zishta is at the forefront of leading this quiet realization.  

Mindful brands like Zishta deserve attention and applause. Unlike modern appliances, their revivalist products promise nourishment and invariably reduce our carbon footprint while having significant health benefits for a well-balanced lifestyle.  

And yes, they also reclaim the soul of the kitchen.

You can explore Zishta’s educational and exciting food discoveries right here 

What do you think?

10k Points
Upvote Downvote

Written by Xplorium

Years Of MembershipContent AuthorPoll MakerList MakerYears Of MembershipContent AuthorContent AuthorContent AuthorContent AuthorContent Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings

Mavi's Pantry - Beet Kvass and CommBucha

MAVI’s Pantry: A Fermented Food Revolution

Alternativ: Discover an Ethical Wardrobe.