India is known for its traditional arts and crafts and even during pre-historic times arts and crafts were very prominent in the Indian society. Many Indian villages were centers of unique crafting skills and the handicraft products from India were famous all over the world. People of many villages in India had inherited the skills of art and craft from their ancestors and continue to produce various handicraft products that have very good demand not only in Indian markets but in international markets also. Several villages in India have a rich heritage of handicrafts and just as many villages in Rajasthan are producing the famous Handicrafts of Rajasthan, the villagers in various other parts of the country are also engaged in producing and promoting the handicrafts of their region.
The silk produced in the villages around Kanchipuram is famous the world over and women from all over the world are fond of the hand-woven Kanchipuram silk sarees. The weavers in Kanchipuram are known for their unique skill to weave silk sarees and the beauty and elegance of the Kanchipuram silk saree is unmatched. About 5000 families in the Kanchipuram villages are engaged in silk weaving. The silk sarees from Kanchipuram are products of pure mulberry silk.
The silk thread is made thick as well as stiff by dipping in rice-water and then drying in the sun. Kanchipuram sarees are strong and durable because they are made of three silk threads that are twisted with a silver wire. The Kanchipuram weavers weave the body and pallu of the saree separately and join both eventually. The precision and perfection of interlocking the body and the pallu of the saree are such that even after tearing the saree the border remains intact.
Sualkuchi is a part of Kamrup District in Assam is situated on the bank of River Brahmaputra and is about 35 km away from Guahati. For the villagers of Sualkuchi, weaving is the main occupation. Sualkuchi is known as Manchester of the East. Weaving was dominant in Sualkuchi right from the 11th century. Right from historic times, Sualkuchi had been a hub of silk weaving. The traditional handloom industry of Sualkuchi encompasses silk, cotton, and khadi.
Though silk cultivation prevailed all over Assam the hand-woven silk clothes from Sualkuchi were the most popular. In Sualkuchi two different types of silk are produced – mulberry and muga. Muga is known as “golden fiber” and it is produced only in Assam. Muga clothes have tremendous potential for export also. The prime-center of the silk-handloom industry in Assam is Sualkuchi. Originally Sualkuchi was a craft village and apart from handloom weaving, the villagers were engaged in other cottage industries like oil processing, making gold jewelry and pottery.
Kishangarh, Near Ajmer
Handicrafts of Rajasthan include stone carving, wooden handicrafts, jewelry, paintings, marble statues and sculptures, textiles, juttis, Red terracotta pottery, Blue terracotta pottery, Bikaner pottery, ivory bangles, and feather-light quilts. Kishangarh is one among the traditional wooden handicrafts centers in Rajasthan. The wooden handicrafts from Kishangarh include the famous Rajasthani furniture, colored photo-frames, chowkis, and small tables.
The unique aesthetic beauty of the Kishangarh wooden handicrafts is mainly due to the fact that the artisans of this village use the wood of Acacia The traditional woodwork from Kishangarh consists of floral patterns and clear display of human figures. This type of manifestation of Muslim ethos shows the impact of Mughal influence on the handicrafts of Rajasthan. Kishangarh is also known for the traditional Rajasthan paintings. The purely natural colors that are used in the paintings are made of vegetable alkaloids and minerals. Kishangarh is the ideal place for buying for the amazing Rajasthan wooden handicrafts.
Pilkhuwa in Ghaziabad
Pilkhuwa is famous for the variety of handicraft products including wood carving, bamboo craft, bed-sheets, paper mache, wood inlay, needlework, and printing blocks. Most of the wood carvings are made of Sheesham type wood. Other types of wood that are used here include teak, rosewood, sandalwood, mango, ebony, deodar, and walnut. The wooden pillars and doorways from Pilkhua are used in temples and palaces all over India. They use different varieties of wood for wood carving depending on the local availability of the wood varieties. They fashion the wood to make religious, decorative or functional articles according to the requirements. Woodcraft was originated here by the late 19th century and as a result of immigration of craft-persons from Kashmir, the carving here is influenced by Kashmiri designs.
Raghurajpur Near Puriur
Raghurajpur village is a part of Puri District of Odisha and is known for its heritage crafts. The Patta Chitra painting of this village is a popular art form which dates back to 5BC. This village is also known for its other art forms like Tussar paintings, palm leaf engravings, wooden toys, masks, and stone as well as wooden carvings. The Pattachitra painting is done on a Patta, which is dried palm leaf. The Patta is first painted with a mixture of chalk and gum. On the painted surface pictures of Gods, Goddesses, and scenes of religious significance. Trees, animals, and ornamentation with flowers are also included in the painting.
The inhabitants of the villages in Bhuj are involved in the production of textile handicrafts. There are weavers, dyeing artists, and block printers. The hundreds of artisans living in the handicraft villages around Bhuj produce a variety of handicraft products such as embroidery, mirror work, block print, cross-stitch, Ajrakh prints, pottery, woven fabrics, toys and more. Those who undertake the handicraft tours to Bhuj get the opportunity to move around the villages, see how the handicrafts are made and also see the lifestyle of these tribes and their unique rituals.
Metal crafts such as white metal jewelry and betel nut crackers are produced in Anjar village and Padhdhar village is known for Ahir and Rabadi embroidery. Those who visit Hodka village can buy the handicraft products of Bhuj for reasonable prices. Nakhtharna village is known for Tye, dye work and Bandhini. The tribals of Nirona village produce embroidery products, woodwork items, and carved wood products. The style of fabric painting in Nirona is called Rogan Painting for which iron roads are used. Embroidered footwear items and copper crafted bells are produced in Zura village.
The artisans of Loria village produce woodcrafts and those in Sumrasar village make products of Ahir and Soof embroidery. Dhordo village is known for chain stitch work. The embroidery is inset with tiny mirrors and very small silver bells. Dhordo village is also known for chunky silver jewelry and leather work.
Shilpgram Near Udaipur
Shilpgram, the “Village of Crafts” is situated in a 70-acre complex and is about 3 km away from Udaipur. This village is committed to promoting the rural crafts and arts of India. Shilpgram facilitates interaction between rural and urban artisans. Shilpgram is mainly to promote handicrafts of Rajasthan, Goa, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Daman, and Diu.
The lifestyles of artisans in the villages of the above states are also showcased. The designs and architecture of the huts in which the craftsmen and women work can also be seen. Every year in the month of December, The Shilpgram Crafts and Arts Festival is celebrated for 10 days. This is a multicultural Arts and Crafts Fair in which those who are interested can learn new forms and techniques of craft and art lovers can collect art products from all parts of the world. Ethnographers, photographers, and vacationers also participate in this festival. Artists and craftsmen from all parts of the country can also set up shops in Shilpgram during the festival.