India, indubitably, is a land of diversity and heterogeneity. Speaking of food, music, language, culture, art, history or even mythology, every region has something different to offer and flaunt. No matter which part of India you belong to, your home can now look ethnically and culturally different.
Want to know how?
First, we'll take a look at the different traditional handicrafts of India; where they are majorly found along with the discrete products, made out of them, that you can introduce into your homes. Next we’ll take a glimpse of few cities that specialize in the making of some amazing handiwork.
Different Forms of Handicrafts
It is the oldest and simplest form of handicraft that portrays folk characters.
Show pieces, jewelry, ash trays, candle stand, pen stand
Madhya Pradesh (originated), West Bengal, Bihar and Odisha
Since its origin during the Indus Valley Civilization, clay is considered as one of the most primitive forms of handicrafts. The artisans are known as kumhaars and are involved mainly in the making of terracotta, redware, blackware and grayware crafts.
Jewelry, decor items, clay pots
West Bengal (Bishnupur and Krishnanagar), Pune, Lucknow, Bikaner and Himachal Pradesh.
c) Rock/ Stone
It is another primitive craft form. Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh are famous for marble stone carvings. While patharkatti is unique to Gaya, green colored stone art is distinctive of Madhya Pradesh.
Utensils, décor items, statues and stone jewelry.
Rajasthan, Odisha, Nagpur, Gaya and Madhya Pradesh
Wood is believed to have come into existence even before stone sculptures.
Lamp shades, jewelry boxes, vermilion boxes, utensils, candle stands, decorative pieces, etc
Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir, Kerala, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh
All handiwork made of bamboo is considered eco-friendly.
Furniture, mats, wall hangings, chalani, dolls, baskets, toys, khorahi, kula, dukula, kathi, etc.
West Bengal, Assam and Tripura
Cane is famous for being used in several utilitarian objects.
Trays, baskets, furniture
g) Bone and Horn
Real-looking bird and animal figures can be seen in crafts made mainly of bone and horn.
Table lamps, pen stand, ornaments, pepper and salt set, napkin rings, laughing Buddha
Odisha, Kerala, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh
Artisans specializing in brass handiwork are known as Kansaris and these crafts are known for their durability.
Krishna and Ganesha’s idols, vases, table tops, wine glasses, plates, fruits bowls, etc
i) Bell Metal
It is the harder form of bronze that's used in the making of bells.
Bowls, candle stands, vermilion boxes,
Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Assam and Manipur
Known as 'Golden Fiber', jute is one of the strongest known natural fibers. Due to its production capacity, the Indian Jute Industry is considered to be the largest in the world.
Bags, backpacks, lamp shades, tray, baskets, carpets, bangles, footwear, wall hangings, office stationery items
West Bengal, Bihar and Assam
Vibrant colored papers are used in the making of paper handicrafts.
Lamp shades, decorative flowers, puppets, hand fans
Delhi, Rajgir, Patna, Gaya, Awadh, Ahmedabad and Allahabad
Shell crafts are mainly made from tortoise, conch and sea shells.
Decorative bowls, forks, spoons, mirror frames, chandeliers, curtains, table mats, etc.
Odisha, Goa and Gulf of Mannar
m) Meenakari/ Tarakashi
Meenakari is predominantly made from twisted threads of silver or gold. Silver is beaten into thin wires and foils that are joined to form ornamental items and are mainly of three types viz meenakari, khulla jaal and flowers and leaves.
Paandaans, tea trays, trinket boxes and jewelry
Cuttack (Odisha) and Karimnagar (Telangana)
n) Weaving or Embroidery
Weaving is the method of producing cloth by criss-crossing two sets of threads (warp and weft), with each other.
Bandhanis (famous weaving form found in Jamnnagar and Rajkot)
Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh
Other Forms of Indian Handicrafts:
Labelled as an exquisite handicraft, enamel handiwork are crafted in three main ways:
enamel is applied to the metal
transparent enamels are laid over a carved design
decorative enamel coating are applied either inlay or outlay.
They are known to be perfect in both their design and finish.
Vase, decorative wall hanging plates, wall clocks, bowls, cruet saucer, pedestal dish, and jewelry box,
Jaipur, Varanasi, Lucknow,
Glass making in India has been appreciated since the medieval period. While Mughals excelled in designing leaf-like motifs on glass objects, present day artisans have expertise in making crockery, bottles, bangles, beads, window pens, among others from glass.
Bangles, black glass beads, chandeliers, lighting pieces, sculptures, crockery, bottles, paper weights, and glass pens
Ferozabad, Varanasi, and Purdilpur
Though lac craft is an ancient art yet it's still in high demand for being trendy and auspicious. It's an amalgamation of both traditional and contemporary styles. It is a colored resin, obtained from wild trees, which is thoroughly purified and meticulously processed, before the final product is obtained.
Lac marbles, mats, bangles, toys, comb, bracelets, tea sets, jhunjhuna, animal figures, bedposts, cradles, flower vases, powder boxes, and vermilion box.
Purulia, Birbhum, Sambalpur, Navrangapur, Delhi, Punjab, Varanasi, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Mysore, Harpanahalli, and Etikoppaka.
iv) Lace or Zari
Lace or zari work is done with thin threads, mostly obtained from superior grade cotton, and thin stainless steel crochet needles. Other threads used are silk, gold and silver.
Bedspreads, pillow covers, curtains, telephone covers, tea table mats, dressing table mats, wall hangings, etc.
Delhi, Lucknow, Murshidabad, Ahmedabad, Pune, Dindigul, Mysore, Vishakhapatnam and Narsapur (Andhra Pradesh), among others.
Since its inception during the Indus Valley Civilization, the Indian leather industry has reached exceptional heights and is now exported worldwide. Different regions offer different leather products.
Shoes, jackets, lampshades, pouches, bags, belts, wallets, stuffed toys, lamp, lamp shades, shoes, bags, toys and puppets
Rajasthan (decorative leather items), Bikaner (kopi), Jaisalmer (saddles), West Bengal (traditionally decorated leather items), Kashmir (ornamental leather products), Madhya Pradesh (red embroidered leather items), and Andhra Pradesh (toys and puppets)
As exquisite as they look, marble handicrafts are meticulously crafted by skilled craftsmen using simple tools on high grade Makarana marbles with Meenakari and Kundan works.
Flower pots, vases, painting, mobile holder, pen holder, wall clock, pillar clock, pooja thali, tray, lamp, vermilion boxes, napkin holder, marble pots, coasters and key holders.
Jaipur and Agra
The art of metal work has been practiced and perfected for almost 5000 years now. Different metals thar are used by craftsmen are iron, copper, silver and alloys like bronze, bell metal, white metal etc.
Pots, pans, utensils, photo frames, sculptures of deities, mythological figures and animals, vessels, trays, bowls, plates, samovars, photo frames, and boxes.
Ladakh (traditional iron and brass vessels), Moradabad (brass items), Varanasi (utensils), Jaipur (bronze sculptures, brass engraving and lacquering), and Alwar (Koftagari art).
Indian Cities Specializing in Famous Handicrafts
A) Saharanpur (Wood works)
Saharanpur, in Uttar Pradesh, is famous for wood works that are known for their impeccable finish. Woods of Sheesham, Dudhi and Sal trees are used mainly while Teak, Ebony and Mahogany are employed on demand. Tiles and metals are used at times.
Products available are religious idols, artifacts, wood carved mirrors, furniture, cupboards, tables, trays and chests, tiny, easy to carry toys, carved key chains, vases and boxes, etc.
B) Odisha (Applique and Metal works)
Odisha is famous for applique works, metallurgy and silver filigree. In applique works, cut patches of cloth are superimposed or juxtaposed.
Tiny mirrors are also commonly seen on a colorful base fabric.
C) Assam (Terracotta works)
Terra (Earth in Latin) and Cotta (Statue in Italian) is the art of creating figurines from mud or clay. Dhubri village in Goalpara district of Assam is famous for terracotta works.
D) South India
Well, South India is mostly known for coconut crafts, Sandalwood crafts, stone crafts, mask making and silk weaving, let's take a look at what they are individually famous for:
Karnataka is known for wood carvings, stone and ivory carvings and Sandalwood handicrafts
ii. Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu is famous for its Kanjeevaram silk sarees, fine mats, objects made from palm leaves and Palmyra fibers, brass and bronze statues, metal ware, hand woven clothes, cotton and silk fabrics, stone sculptures and beautiful jewelry.
Lace garments, embroidery work, snake boats made of ivory, gold and silver jewelry, spices, bamboo mat paintings, wood carvings, metal idol figurines, sandalwood sculptures, Kathakali dolls, Kathakali masks and doll making are famous in Kerala.
Pondicherry is known for its perfumed candles, incense sticks, handmade paper, pottery, leather items, pickles, jams and Khadi
E) Gujarat (Textile handicrafts and fabrics)
Gujarati handicrafts and textiles reflect a disposition for glitz, an eye for detail and an ardor for design. They also surge with color and are heavy on mirror work, giving them a funky, tribal vibe.
Famous styles include brocade (where gold thread is woven onto the borders of fabrics) and bandhini (tie and dye work). The tied and dyed fabrics also known as bandhej, produced exclusively in India, are perhaps the finest in the world. Mirror work is supposed to be huge in Gujarat
F) Kashmir (Woolen handicrafts)
'Paradise on Earth', Kashmir is famous for its shawls and carpets. One of the more popular kinds of Kashmiri shawls are Jamavars that are made of brocaded woolen fabrics, either in pure wool or sometimes blended with cotton. Pashmina shawls are unquestionably soft and their yarn is spun from the hair of the rare and elusive Ibex, found 14,000 ft above sea level. Although pure Pashmina is expensive, blending it with wool brings down the cost. Shahtoosh shawls are woven with the hair of the Tibetan antelope and are renowned for their lightness, softness and warmth. It's believed that a genuine Shahtoosh of any size passes through a finger ring.
Kashmiri carpets are world renowned mainly for two reasons. First, they are handmade and secondly, they are always knotted and never tufted.
Got an idea on the different handicrafts of Indian states? So, next time you go shopping, you would know exactly what to purchase, right?