Indian handicrafts are varied in nature based on their place of origin and history. The local culture has impacted the handicraft styles to a large extent, thus assuring that each place retains their distinct identity in terms of handicraft offerings.
Jammu and Kashmir produce some intricate Kashmiri crafts other than the beautiful land and its picturesque landscape. Kashmir’s handicrafts include baskets, shawls and much more. One of the most appealing crafts includes carpets, woven with wool and even silk yarns. Embroidery is part of traditional handicrafts intricate patterns are designed on cotton fabrics. There are lovely wall hangings that are embroidered with multiple things. Basket making is popular too as they are made from skins of willow trees.
Kashmiri Shawls are soft and comfortable to use and require immense concentration and patience. These shawls are usually made of three fibres including wool, Pashmina and Shahtoosh and decorated with motifs and embroidery. Wood Carving is one of the best-known crafts here, mainly derived from walnut and chinar wood. Though expensive, the fine texture and pattern gives a rich feel to the creations including furniture, jewelry boxes, photo frames and the like. Pure wool weaving and silk weaving are flourishing forms of art and crafts in Kashmir.
Haryana handicrafts are exported all over the world. The handicraft industry offers varied forms of art and craft including pottery making, handlooms, woodcarving etc… Panipat is popular for rugs and upholstery fabric and known for its textiles. Artistic decorative pots also form a part of the handicrafts offering, the best coming from Rohtak district. The tilla juttis of Rewari are famous too along with educational toys of Gurgaon.
Phulkari, Bagh, Durries, Paintings, Sculpture and even theater feature prominently in the culture of the state. In Phulkari embroidery, art motifs of nature and human figures are stitched while Bagh includes geometric patterns of design featuring elephants, houses, gardens, and the like. Durries are rugs with geometric designs made on blue colored cloth, the best ones found in Panipat.
Gods form the basis of sculpture in ancient Haryana and are popular even today. Theater or Swang is also an integral part of the state’s culture, including folklore, music and narration, depicting stories of love, sacrifice, etc.
The handicraft market of Rajasthan is the biggest and most important market in India. Many bright colored crafts produce utility products of routine use.
Rajasthani handicraft and handlooms include different types of jewelry like silver, kundan and meenakari. The art and crafts extend to handmade paper, precious stones, paintings, marble products, and hand-crafted items, made of wood, ivory, lac, silver and gold etc.
Rajasthan produces exquisite textiles in Bandhani or Bandhej forms portraying the culture. The woollen carpets belonging to Bikaner and Jaipur are brilliant, to say the least. The cotton durries of both, Jodhpur and Jaipur are worth mentioning too. Blue Pottery is another craft that is very popular. Carved wooden furniture of different styles with diverse motifs and fine design from Jodhpur and Kishangarh are extremely famous in all parts of India and abroad.
Rajasthani Quilts from Jaipur are light and soft and made of high quality. Mojaris or Jutis are beautifully embroidered pieces, available in varied patterns, with the best found in Jodhpur and Jaipur. The marble carved wall hangings and sculptures are in huge demand along with ivory bangles. Rajasthan paintings including murals, frescoes and miniatures reflect on the state culture and history too.
4. Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh is mostly known for its wood
Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh is well known for its indigenous wood-carving industry. The state’s woodworking expertise is traditional as the best workers use Sheesham, Dudhi and Sal trees for creating magnificent furniture. Some carpenters work with Teak, Mahogany, and Ebony based on the demand of exports. Tiles or metal are sometimes infused in design and the finish is always impeccable. Popular designs mostly consist of religious idols, artefacts, mirrors, furniture, trays, and chests. Some portable toys carved key chains, and even flower vases are highly in demand.
Gujarat handicrafts have many takers globally since the state is quite affluent in terms of arts and crafts. Gujarat is popular for its unique styles and techniques in embroidery and used to make decorative pieces. Applique or ‘katab’ just like decorative needlework, is well known too.
The tie-dyed fabrics are in great demand world over, especially because of elaborate designs and patterns. Zari work is used with Bandhini to deliver the unique look. Jamnagar and Mandvi are known for introducing some of the best zari work in the country.
Beadwork on different objects like wall decorations is quite popular in Gujarat. The Torans are then hung around in front of houses. Patola presents finest hand-woven sarees while folk jewelry using precious stone with excellent designs is another popular art form here.
Gujarat also offers a plethora of furnishings from cushion covers to quilts that are richly embroidered with different motifs and patchwork. In terms of pottery, the potters of the state can do wonders with clay and make utensils, terracotta toys, paintings, and much more. Additionally, the woodcrafts of Surat and Saurashtra is an old art of the state, mostly found in temples and traditional houses in the state. The textile culture is flourishing owing to its superior quality and heavy use of traditional motifs and designs.
Assam has a long-flourishing handicrafts business that is known throughout India. The state produces some of the finest silk called ‘Pat’ and ‘Muga’. Weaving and embroidery are part of the primary handicraft industry while Cane and bamboo are popular for making beautiful handicrafts.
Handloom weaving is very special here based on the state’s long tradition. Assam’s jewelry is renowned too where one can get it made of bamboo and cane too. The jewelry also consists of lockets (Jon-biri), bracelets (Gaam-kharu) and necklaces (Gal-pata).
Daily used utilities include baskets, hats, mats, stools and furniture, made of bamboo and cane. Pottery is used for creating toys, household articles, and the like. One can also find some wood carvings in Assam along with masks, prominently used for folk theaters, made with terracotta, metal, bamboo etc.
Maharashtra has a plethora of handicrafts available, originating from the Mughal, Maratha and British period of history. The true spirit of Maharashtrian culture can be witnessed through the handicrafts including Sawant wadi crafts, bid, leather works, Mashru and Himru, and several folk paintings.
Sawantwadi crafts originate from Sawantwadi in Maharashtra are popular crafts including lacquer ware, available extensively in Goa and Konkan. They are painted with hands and include light fittings. Bidri ware, on the other hand, is an old craft from Aurangabad that makes use of zinc and copper along with silver, which is brocaded, overlaid or inlaid within metal surfaces. The state is also known for its lovely pairs of leather sandals, especially in Kolhapur.
The state also produces a variety of saris in Kolhapur, Pune, and Paithan with impeccable design and quality. Paithani saris are made with pure silk while another popular Maharashtrian sari is Narayan Peth sari that hails from Solapur.
Mashru and Himru fabrics of Aurangabad, made of cotton and silk are available in multi-color designs. The Warli Painting is one traditional painting style done by tribal people of Thane, made by using rice paste and straw.
Orissa possesses varied art and craft in its culture as Oriya artisans are well versed in creating awe-inspiring handicrafts including Patta Chitra, Sand Art, Silver Filigree, Stone Carving etc. Patta Chitra is popular in Orissa, wherein the paintings are painted with bright colors with a distinct pictorial concept, line formation, color scheme and the like.
The Metal Work of Orissa includes Dhokra craft with Brass or Bell metal crafts, while Silver Filigree work, locally called as tarakasi is an important skill in the socio-cultural scenario of the state. Stone Carving also holds a prime position as it can be witnessed through monuments and temples in the state. ‘Khadipathara’ is used for sculpting on hardest black granite known as ‘mugunipathara’.
Applique Work is another craft in which colored patches are stitched on the fabric in a unique way. Woodcarving is another important skill in Orissa, wherein wooden toys, masks, idols and the like are created. Ikat is popular in textiles, woven with a gem-colored design made of silk and cotton. Horn Work, Lacquer Work, Puppet and Mask making are other popular arts and crafts in the state.
9. Madhya Pradesh
The handicrafts of Madhya Pradesh include textile weaving, carpet weaving, bead crafts, terracotta figures and even toys.Gwalior’s Batto Bai doll that consists of bamboo, paper, and rags, feature tribal designs and cultural motifs.
Carpet Weaving is very popular in Gwalior and possesses excellent reputation. Tribal craftsmen also produce bamboo articles that serve for utility as well as decorative purposes. Flat-woven carpets, made of thick cotton woven fabric include bright colors and beautiful patterns. The doll & toy making craft, made of small cloth pieces are created in places like Gwalior, Bhopal, and Jhabua.
Metalwork in Madhya Pradesh is mostly made by tribal people who create oil lamps, tools, and statues that work as souvenirs for foreigners. Artistic ornaments and jewelry are popular here too with the use of thread, metal beads, woven cotton and so on. Painting is a primitive art here and the state features several amazing cave paintings. Papier Mache too originates in Gwalior, Bhopal, and Ratlam, especially in creating mud toys, statues, and dolls.
The tribal people in Bastar region create teracotta statues of high quality while stone sculptures, witnessed in temples of Khajuraho are a testimony to the immense talent in stone carving. Textile Weaving is another art form, wherein Maheshwari and Chanderi saris of the state are hugely popular.
Being a beach land, the range of Goan handicrafts varies from place to place, as handicrafts revolve around clay, seashells, bamboo and brass. The Brass Work of Goa is one popular medium where artisans use brass to mould and give several forms for making oil lamps, statues, and the like.
Wooden Lacquer is another ancient craft that produces toys, utility items and the like. Papier Mache items like jewelry boxes, wall hangings, and flower vases ar hugely popular too. Bamboo Craft is one of the oldest crafts of the state that is used for making various decorative items including pen stands and lightweight furniture. Goan artists also produce teracotta items such as decorative flowerpots, ashtrays, and figurines.
Woodcarving is an old craft, kept alive by evolving consistently, by developing unique photo frames, idols, bookshelves and the like. Shell collectors design innovations into items like chandeliers, lampshades, coasters, frames, ashtrays etc.
11. Andhra Pradesh
The capital of AP, Hyderabad’s handicraft market includes exquisite pearl jewelry, bidriware, and wooden carvings. Bidriware includes inlaying silver within an alloy of zinc and copper and Hyderabadi artisans are skillful in the craft.
Kalamkari, on the other hand, is an artisan textile work involving printed cotton, in which the printing is done by hand or by wooden blocks. Colors are derived come from natural dyes. LePakshi is known to sell good-quality paintings. Lacquerware made in and around Hyderabad involves decorating wood or papier-maché objects with various creative techniques including cloud work, pattern work, and even tin foil decorations. The markets by Charminar are famous for these decorations. Wooden carvings are very famous in the city too.
Hyderabad is the biggest manufacturer of pearl jewelry in India, where they are processed and refined. The city is also involved in the drilling and grading of pearls and the hub of the market lies in Laad Bazaar, Charminar. Additionally, in Karimnagar, near Hyderabad, artisans create silver filigree artwork for centuries, providing wearable jewelry and other utilitarian options too.
12. West Bengal
West Bengal’s heritage of handicrafts is known for its Baluchari Sarees, Silk and Tasar Textile Bankura and the like. Besides the garments, jute products, cane products, conch-shell products, folk dolls, and handicrafts are quite distinguished in this region.
Masks made here are of mythological characters, painted in bright colors, and used for folk festivals. The traditional potters or “Khumbhakars” create decorative items made of teracotta over the ages. Bengal also shares the folk art of Dhokra that includes the lost wax process using metal, brass, scrap and the like. Rag dolls are made with small cloth, cotton & wool for decorative purposes.
Other than the above, shola pith items are used for marriages while cane and bamboo are mainly used for furniture making and for creating decorative items. Kalighat dolls & Natungram wood carvings are very famous of the state and relate to traditional icons.
West Bengal also offers a worthy platform for textiles, where hundreds of weavers and craftsmen meet and interact with regards to textile production and saleable concepts too.
Art and crafts of Kerala are hugely popular and attracts a lot of interest abroad. The state also has a tradition of making beautiful handicrafts with different elements including ivory, bamboo, palm leaves, seashells, clay, metals, stone and much more.
The state’s rich cultural heritage is visible in the articles available here from ayurvedic soaps, wood carving, woven fibre baskets, and the like. Temples of Kerala include crafts of metal alloys made of brass and copper.
The Brass and Bell Metal art use alloy of tin, copper, and brass to create different idols.Eco-friendly items like coir mattresses, mats and the like are made from coir and cane.
Lacquer Ware includes artistic woodcarvings created by artisans, especially found in Ernakulam. Sandalwood Carving is popular too as ashtrays, candle stands and many other items are made from sandalwood. Cochin and Trichur are famous for this art. Textiles in Kerala mainly consist of the impeccable Kancheepuram silks while outsiders also prefer buying wooden Toys as souvenirs.
Karnataka produces several crafts by using traditional methods and finesse is the best quality of Karnataka artisans. The temples and monuments in Karnataka are a testimony to the stone-carving skills. Paintings, ivory carving, Mysore silk etc., are immensely popular throughout India and abroad.
Wood carving is a prominent art form in the state, as artisans create new designs for wooden ceilings, doors etc. Mysore Silk is a major export material and the concept of sericulture has risen gradually.
Bidri crafts are limited to few areas while bronze casting is used on bell metal and utilized for performing religious duties. Udupi, Mangalore, and Nagamangala are popular for the craft.
Mysore Paintings are very popular and also the oldest form of art in the state, made of vegetable colors in bright hues. Ivory Carving is in great demand too. Sandalwood Craft is used for making mythological idols while doll making is a craft that is made with wood and the decorated too.
As mentioned above, Karnataka is famous for Wood Carvings, Ivory Carvings, and Sandalwood Handicrafts while Tamil Nadu is more famous for its Kanjeevaram silk sarees, objects developed from palm leaves, bronze statues, Bidri work, sculptures and shiny jewelry. Kerala, on the other hand, is well known for embroidery work, gold and silver jewelry, bamboo mat paintings, and even for wood carvings, Kathakali dolls, masks, and dolls. Pondicherry is mostly well known for perfumed candles, agar batties, pottery, leather items, and even Khadi.
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