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iXiGOers Jul 29 2013

Which are the famous Arts and Craft villages in India?

Kasturi Saikia Jul 29 2013
3 people found this answer useful Useful ?Yes

India is a country overflowing with various indigenous forms of Arts and Crafts. Each region in India boasts of rich handicrafts and handloom items, exclusive just to that place. A myriad of colours blended together forming hues of vivacious vibrance are created by the artisans born with the special skills.

In these craft villages their art form becomes the primary source of income for the indigenous people. Remotely located, away from the bustling city life these artisans create magic weaving the threads, that people in cities like to wear and flaunt. So, today lets discover the origin of alchemy of these artisans who help us get our bling.


The weavers of Kanchipuram are the proud producer of the world’s finest silk. The Kanchipuram or the Kanjivaram sarees are considered to be the best quality sarees that anyone can ever have. It is treated like a diamond solitaire in their jewellery box, by women across India.

Kanchipuram is a city located in Tamil Nadu, where the indigenous people are mostly involved in the saree weaving industry or agriculture. It is the traditional centre of silk weaving and handloom industries for producing Kanchipuram sarees. The industry is worth INR 100 crore (USD 18.18 million), however quite typically, the weaving community is not spared of poverty. This is mostly due to the poor marketing techniques and duplicate players in the market. The price of a single Kanchipuram Saree could be anywhere between INR 2,500 (USD 46) to INR 1,00,000 (USD 1,800). The prices are more depending upon the intricacy of design, pattern, colours, material that is used like zari, gold thread etc.

Kanjivaram sarees, in the year 2005 became the first Indian product to have received the Geographical Indication tag. The weaving industry of Kanchipuram dates back to the reign of Raja Chola I, who invited weavers to migrate to Kanchi. The craftsmanship increased when a mass of weavers from Andhra Pradesh migrated during the Vijayanagara rule.

Come and visit Kanchipuram, the historic city of skilled artisans and numerous ancient temples. Here you can see for yourself the weavers working on their looms, the frequently changing colours, the threads pulled together to create the lustrous fabric known as ‘Kanjivaram Sarees’.


At Varanasi the world famous Banarasi sarees are woven. Defining pure elegance, Banarasi Sari is a must in an Indian woman's wardrobe. Banarasi sarees are historically considered to be amongst the best quality sarees in India. They are an inevitable part of a bride’s trousseau and adds a spark in the eyes of onlookers.

Nestled on the banks of Ganges, in the state of Uttar Pradesh, the weavers of Benares has adopted this skill to weave these striking fabrics. Their unique features are inspired by the imperial Mughal designs that includes intricate intertwining of floral and foliate motifs, kalga and bel, a string of upright leaves called jhallar on the outer edge of border etc. Apart from that the other distinctive features are their heavy gold work, figures with small details, compact weaving, metallic visual effects, jal (a net like pattern), pallus and classic mina work.

However, lately the Banarasi Silk handloom industry has been incurring major losses due to the cut throat competition from mechanised units that produces the Banarasi silk sarees at comparatively much faster rate and at much cheaper rate. Another source of competition has been the sarees made of cheaper synthetic alternatives to silk.

In the year 2009, after a long wait, the weaver associations in Uttar Pradesh finally obtained the ‘Geographical Indication’ (GI) rights for the ‘Banaras Brocades and Sarees’. The GI helped them prevent their copyrights to their designs as intellectual property. This finally discouraged the production of the cheap imitations.

So, on your visit to Varanasi make sure to once come by, and see the weavers dripping their sweat to create magic through their looms.


Sualkuchi is the textile center of Assam. Situated on the north bank of the river Brahmaputra, this little town is located about 35 km from Guwahati. There are a large number of cottage handloom industries in Sualkuchi. The historic expertise of the weavers of this small town includes producing of Assam Silk. Assam Silk implies the three major types of indigenous wild silk that includes Muga (which is golden in colour), Pat (that is white) and warm Eri.

Muga silk is produced from a typical silkworm, Antheraea assamensis that is endemic to Assam. The silk produced from this moth is renowned for its lustrous fine texture and durability. It is naturally golden in colour and the clothes weaved out of the silk is extremely gorgeous. Pat silk is a product of ‘Bombyx textor’ silkworm. It is usually brilliant white or off-white in colour and has an unusual shine to it. Eri is a unique kind of silk made in Assam that has a soft and warm texture. It is made out of (Samia cynthia ricini) a wild butterfly which feed on leaves of Castor oil plant. It is also known as Endi or Errandi silk. The manufacturing process of Eri lets the pupae to grow into adults and only the open ended cocoons are used for making into silk, which is why it is also popularly known as non-violent silk. Eri is mostly used to make shawls and quilts.

Traditionally, the Pat and Muga silk are used to weave the Assamese dress ‘Mekhela Sador’, but due to the growing demand to commercialize the fabric, now sarees are also made out of pat and muga. The golden luster and the pale white shine of the fabric comes naturally in the fabric for which it has gained slow but immense popularity.

The clothes are entirely hand woven in the cottage industries here at Sualkuchi. So, the next time you visit Guwahati, take a trip down to this little town where you will see the indigenous people busy producing clothes that you later see at the big showrooms of the city.

Changthang region

The Changthang region falls in the state of Jammu and Kashmir in Ladakh. There a small community of people known as the Changpa tribe are the traditional producers of the world famous pashmina wool. They are a semi-nomadic ethnic group that are found mostly in the Zanskar valley of Ladakh.

We always knew that the production of pashmina takes place in Jammu and Kashmir, however, we may have been unaware of the fact that this small tribe in Zanskar valley are the original producers of this renowned fabric.

Pashmina is a type of cashmere wool that is made out of the fur of a special breed of sheep that is indigenous to the high altitudes of Himalayas, known as Pashmina sheep or Changthangi. The Changpa tribe lives in these harsh climes and lead a nomadic life to produce Pashmina wool for the world.

There is no end to the list of places where art and craft, is the only source of income of the local people of the region. These artisans are historically skilled to produce a certain kind of material that turns into the identity of the place. Be it the production of silk, pottery or any other artistry the regional people of India has gained exclusive expertise in creating a magic of their own.

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