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Kritika Maurya Jul 03 2013

Which are the famous handicrafts of North India?

Kirat S Jul 03 2013
0 people found this answer useful Useful ?Yes

The panorama of Indian crafts has many hues and shades, it transcends social, economic, cultural and religious boundaries. The range and diversity of Indian crafts is staggering. Just when the country’s rich traditional diversity was under threat from industrialisation, the government set up the the office of the Development Commissioner (Handicrafts), this has ensured that now the rich cultural and craft heritage of India is in safe hands. Below is a list of some of the famous handicrafts of North India:

Walnut wood carvings

Origin: Kashmir

The softness of the walnut wood makes it ideal for producing outstanding handicraft products. These are fabricated locally and depict forms and motifs that have evolved over years. The colour of the products is very warm and the carving is devoid of geometrical patterns and is intricate and varied. It is based on lively natural forms. Products could range from writing desks, beds, tables, chests, coffee tables to smaller items like spoons, forks and bowls.

Technique: Craftsmanship involves chipping, carving, rounding of the surface. The process is a miniature representation of the art of stone sculpture.

Availability: Readily available in markets in Srinagar.

Amawar Shawls

Origin: Kashmir

They are made from soft pure pashmina wool and are known for their elegance and diverse designs. Part of the design are paisley pattern that resemble a mango. It is made with weaving sticks and is so fine that the front and the back are indistinguishable. It is very exclusive, soft and the weaves and patterns have hues and colours that recall the Mughal arts. It is handmade and highly valued. Patterns are intricate and the colour scheme is complex. It may have about 250 different colours in it at a time. They often take years to complete. Every shawl has a story behind it — not just how it was made but also how it was acquired.

Technique: The technique employed is ‘twill tapestry’.

Availability: Readily available in stores in Kashmir.

Blue Pottery

Origin: Jaipur, Rajasthan

Blue pottery is widely recognised because of the eye catching blue colour that is used to dye it. It is made of Egyptian paste, is glazed and low fired. No clay is used. They are very fragile and the items are primarily decorative more than utility oriented. Once made, the blue pottery items cannot be reworked. The motifs depict birds and animals. Products include soup bowls, dinner sets, urns, jars, plates, glasses, jugs, ashtrays.

Technique: The process is very tedious and time consuming. It is made by mixing multani mitti and silica extracted out of quartz and glass. Dough is moulded and then baked and coloured.

Availability: Available in handicraft stores in Jaipur.


Origin: Punjab

Phulkari, which literally means flower work, is a tracitional embroidery used to decorate dupattas and shawls. It involves intricate needlework. The smaller the stitches, the finer the phulkari. In the pure phulkari the stitches are done horizontally, vertically and diagonally so as to create a special light effect. In Punjab, only a single strand is used at one time. The base is khaddar and very bright and colourful combinations are used. It involves skilful manipulation of the darn stitch. And the embroidery is unique in the sense that it is worked entirely on the wrong side of the cloth and the pattern takes shape on the right side.

Technique: The technique invoveslong and short darning stitches. The design is neither drawn nor traced.

Availability: It is available in Punjab Small Industries & Export Corporation limited (PSIEC) — a chain of emporiums in Chandigarh, Delhi, Kolkata and Punjab.


Origin: Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh

This is an ancient form of white floral embroidery believed to have been introduced by Nur Jahan, Jahangir's wife and is unique to Lucknow. It involves intricate needle work and raw thread work. Chikankari has survived the test of time. The origins of chikan are shrouded in mystery and legend. Tailors use the finest of white cloth called muslin or mulmul. The basic stitches are six in number and all except one are common to other forms of embroidery. Designs and colours change with seasons. It is hand embroidered, delicate, exclusive and exquisitely designed. The stitches assigned for every procedure are used only for that purpose and cannot be replaced. Therein lies its uniqueness.

Technique: A single piece of chikan relies on many skilled craftsmen, designer, printer, embroiderer and washerman.

Availability: It is available in boutiques, garment stores and in markets and malls in major cities like Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata.

Hewa Jewellery

Origin: Rajasthan

The beginning of this unique art is still a mystery. It was started by a single family of Marwar and the designs remain virtually unchanged. It is the traditional art of fusing 23 carat gold with multi-coloured glass. The glass is treated by a special process to give thewa jewellery its unique characteristic and glittering effects. The motifs used on the jewellery depict the culture, the valour and the romance of Rajasthan. The art is glorious and consists of brilliant reds, blues and greens. It reflects geometric and other patterns. Items may include brooches, pendants, rings and bracelets.

Technique: It is handcrafted by skilled artisans. Only gold sheets of the highest purity
are used.

Availability: Widely available in jewellery stores in Jaipur and the whole of Rajasthan.

Papier Mache

Origin: Kashmir

This Kashmiri craft recycles waste paper into beautiful artifacts painted by expert craftsmen. Varnish gives papier mache its characteristic shine. It depicts the beauty of Kashmiri flowers and is painted in bright colours. Products include picture frames, candy bowls, letter holders, coasters and bangles. The colours used are natural and craftsmen work together to create one single piece.

Technique: The craft involves the use of paper pulp to create artifacts. Motifs used are mostly drawn from nature like birds singing or flowers blooming. First the item is produced and then it is decorated with motifs. The design is painted free hand.

Availability: Available in artefact stores in Jammu and Kashmir.

Chamba Paintings

Origin: Chamba, Himachal Pradesh

Chamba is well known for its exquisite tradition of pahari paintings. Mughal influence can be discerned in these paintings . The themes used are religious but love scenes and the romantic ambience of the rainy season in Chamba have been painted in various moods and styles by several artists. Pahari paintings were widely influenced by the Rajput paintings and were done mostly in miniature forms. It is very popular because of the inspiration that it drew from the Vaishnava cult. Although all of these paintings have religious and spiritual undertones, the compositions also do represent everyday activities and emotions. The pahari landscape is often used as a metaphor.

Technique: The artist needs to be remarkably skilled. The art of pahari paintings requires finesse, intricate brushwork and the coloured used are brilliant mineral and vegetable extracts.

Availability: Available in the main market in Chamba, Himachal Pradesh.

Thangka Paintings

Origin: Ladakh

Thangka paintings are scrolls depicting Buddhist deities and their cosmic realities. They are installed in homes to ward off evil and are also considered as navigational aids in the quest for spiritual realisation. Their origins lie in Indian Buddhist art. More than a work of art, they are works of devotion. They serve as installations in monasteries, prayer halls and during religious ceremonies. Once complete, the painting is blessed by the lama with sacred syllables. They are very durable and offer a beautiful manifestation of the divine. Thangka Paintings are either painted on or made of silk, using embroidery. The painter is usually a monastic initiate and he is seen as bearing religious responsibilities. They come in a variety of styles and depict different subjects like Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, cosmological and astrological images.

Technique: These paintings are either painted on cotton or silk and the paint consists of both organic and mineral pigments that are tempered. Techniques like sketching, grinding, applying paints and decorating in gold are employed.

Availability: Available locally in art studios of Ladakh.

Dhokra Art

Origin: Bastar, Chattisgarh

Dhokra art is metal casting done by tribal craftsmen of Bastar. They fashion folk deities and other articles that draw their inspiration from nature. Raw materials are obtained from the hills or by melting scrap. The products may include figures of riders, elephants, candles, fish-shaped vermillion boxes, measuring bowls amd lamp caskets. These are made by the lost wax process. No two pieces of dhokra art are the same. This art is also practiced in many places from Odisha to West Bengal.

Technique: The process involves many stages - making of the core in fine sand and clay, making an armature with wax threads and strips that depict the image, encasing it with a clay mould with vents and inlet, pouring molten brass and casting, removing the cast, finishing and polishing with sandpaper.

Availability: Dhokra art can be bought directly from the artisans or state emporiums across the country.

www.craftfurnish .com Jun 12 2015
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Lots of Good Dhokra Art can be see at craftfurnish.com : place for indian handmade and handicrafts

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