A land steeped in arts and crafts, tradition and culture and blessed with exemplary artisan and creative faculties, India is a paradise in every sense. As breathtaking as its encompassing natural expanse is also its assertion of the aesthetics in the stimulative fold. The country is home to such diverse amalgamation of handicrafts and stuff that cannot be enumerated all at once. Here’s listing some really amazing handicrafts of India which perfectly embodies our vast heritage-
One among the many things indigenous to the country that has the warmth of Indianness in its every vibe is pashmina. Or pashmina shawls to be precise. Pashmina shawla, popular the world over as cashmere shawls because they come from the Indian state of Kashmir, are really fine, intricately woven shawls from the pashmina type of wool. Entirely hand processed and hand crafted, what makes pashmina shawla an exquisite offering from the country is their excellent quality. In their plush softness, these shawls encompass a warmth so overwhelming that is adequate enough to ward off even the harsh winters of the picturesque valley.
Derived from mountain breeds of goats that shed their winter skin every spring, pashmina wool is refined and woven into really thin textiles that come in a whole lot of vibrant colors and embroidery. In their striking look and as striking an essence, pashmina shawls have come to be one among the most coveted of Indian handicrafts.
Coconut Shell Craft
Another very interesting and very intricate of the handicrafts India is famous for hails from the state of Kerala. The brass broidered coconut shell craft sees the state come up with some really beautiful products carved out of coconut shells and brass broidered. From decorative pieces like flower vases and snuffboxes to regular use cutlery like spoons, nut bowls, cups and the like. A very exerting form of craft due to it being the stuff made out of the hard knack coconut shells, what makes the Kerala form a specialty is that it is the only region where the brass broidered variety is practiced. Practised specially in Trivandrum and Kozhikode, the brass broidered coconut shell craft is a quite unique phenomenon and one that requires special expertise on the part of the artisans.
A special form of handicrafts from India, the Dhokra art form is one that is a centuries old technique of making metal artefacts. Dhokra art is non–ferrous metal casting using the lost-wax casting technique to produce stunning figurines fashioned from bronze and copper based alloys. In fact, Dhokra happens to be the earliest method of non-ferrous metal casting familiar to human civilization. The dancing girl of Mohenjodaro is one of the earliest specimens that which embodies the primitive simplicity, enchanting folk motifs and forceful form of this sparse craft form. Rustic yet regal, ritualistic and raved about, every single piece of Dhokra art is all the more treasured not just because of its exoticity but also because of the immense labour exertion that goes into translating this intricate technique into reality.
Saris and Silk
India is home to some of the world’s most distinctive types of textiles and clothes which also is a distinction it owes to its esteemed steeping in being a handicraft haven. Specifically when it comes to the Indian wonder saree, the versatile piece itself has been subject to wide interpretations and manifestations. Be it the handcrafted, exquisite Banarasi sarees or the Kanchipuram ones, every piece of these regal dresses involves tremendous amount of work and expertise on part of the weavers.
Another very exquisite variety of the saree happens to be the pat- muga mekhela chadors of the state of Assam that makes use of the indigenous silk produced in the state. Regal to the look and magnificent in essence, these two piece encompassments of the mekhela and chador are one of the finest specimens of silk clothing you will ever come across anywhere and occupy a prime position among the many handicrafts of India.
Another very popular form of handicrafts that are indigenous to India are encompassments of bamboo and jute as the primary products. Mainly practised in the eastern states of Bengal and Assam as well as some other adjoining regions, this is a craft form that has utilitarian as well as aesthetic significance. Be it jute bags or jewelry, bamboo furniture or mats, jute shoes, bamboo baskets, wall hangings, decorative boxes, stationery and even accessories, these two plants are at the core of some really unique traditional artefacts India has been producing since forever. What also sets this form of the hand craft apart from others is that they have been subject to considerable innovation and technological modification, even when they retain their simplistic charm and intricate essence.
A very coveted and oft- flaunted name when it comes to the most authentic of elements that you can flaunt within the realm of Indian fashion is chikan. A very fine and intricate embroidery form that which traces its roots in Lucknow, chikan itself translates as embroidery and is indeed one of the finest manifestations of the term. This delicate form of art involves meticulous hand embroidery dexterously worked out on a variety of textile fabrics.
Traditionally done in white thread on white muslin but also popular now in hues and shades, you can decipher how labour intensive a single pattern of authentic chikan embroidery can be in that each design is done exclusively by hand and with such neatness and precision that calls for tremendous effort, nimble fingeredness and time. The perfection achieved is one which is almost unfathomable to be a product of human exertion, yet this manual intricacy is what renders this distinctive form of embroidery a place of its own in sartorial jargon. Subtle and striking in equal measure, this very rich and artful interpretation of fashion indeed is a reminder of how everything about India happens to be so luxurious even in the face of explicit simplicity.
Visit any place in India and you will inevitably spot a host of wooden artefacts on offer in the local markets. Pretty to the eyes, exotic in essence and traditional to the country, wooden handicrafts in India stems from myriad regions. Be it the Channapatna Toys and Dolls, Mysore Rosewood Inlays and Kinnal craft of Karnataka, the Kondapalli Toys of Andhra Pradesh, the perforated lacy wood craft of Saharanpur, the teak wood furniture of Sankheda in Gujarat, the Bastar wooden crafts of Chhattisgarh, the carved walnut wood-work of Kashmir, the wooden lacquer- ware of Goa, the traditional wooden jewelry box Netturpetti exclusive to Kerala, almost every state of India boasts of a wide repertoire of wooden handicrafts that is a testimony to the skill and artistic credibilities of the nation and its people.
Perhaps among the most encompassing of Indian handicrafts is the pottery industry that has been prevalent in the country ever since the time of the Harappan civilisation. There’s Rajasthan’s Molela murtikala, where it is the terracotta clay making up idols for use on flat surfaces like tiles and plaques. The state also is famous for its really aesthetically luring blue pottery that is a native to Jaipur while the almost extinct art of kagzi pottery hails from the region of Alwar there. There also is Bikaner’s painted pottery for you to delight at as many varieties as you like.
West Bengal also is famous for its terracotta pottery as also is Uttar Pradesh for its distinctive Khurja Pottery. Gujarat’s indigenous Khavda Pottery makes use of the special Rann ki mitti and produces such specimens that are resemblant of dugouts of the Harappan and Mohenjodaro eras.
The Longpi Coiled Pottery of Manipur is a different wonder altogether- these black colored handcrafts are made from a mixture of black serpentine stone and clay native to Longpi village. Unique in that this style of pottery does not make use of the characteristic potter’s wheel, it however is not only the coiled technique but also the design of these artifacts that make them really distinctive.
Another enticing black clay pottery hails from the Nizamabad region of Uttar Pradesh. Marked by its black, shiny body marked by special silvery engraves, local fine textured clay is what makes the Nizamabad variant such standout beauties.
Handicrafts made from Brass also occupy an important standing in the traditional craft scenario of India. Hajo in Assam is particularly famous for its work of brass, with really unique and traditional items like kalah, sarai, kahi, bati, lota and tal being the trademark treasures of the state. Equally distinctive is Andhra Pradesh’s Budithi Bell and Brass Craft industry that produces items with varied geometric patterns and are reflective mainly of the temple art in the state. Equally prominent are the states of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan for their own distinctive style of casting figurines and essentials out of this very durable alloy.