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India is the land of cultural exuberance and composite tradition that marks this blend has found full express in heart-warming creations of master crafts persons. These creators extraordinaire have inherited and honed ancestral skills to perfection. India is also a country where time honoured tradition co-exists in perfect harmony with the best of modernity. The luxurious five star hotels, huge shopping arcades and emporia somewhat akin to the ones in New York, London or anywhere else in the world, demonstrate all this very well.
So go ahead, shop to your heart’s delight and take home an exquisite, piece made in India, treasure it with your memorable visit to India.
Gold & Silverware:
The craftspersons of India not only excelled in enameled jewellery but also enameled utensils such as wine-cups, finger bowls, pillboxes etc., in both gold and silver repousse, sometimes studded with jewels. Ideal Place To Shop: Lucknow city in Utter Pradesh, also available in all tourist cities.
Brass & Copperware:
India is the largest brass and copper-making region in the world. For articles made out of one or more pieces of metal. In most form use of ornaments, utensils and showpieces.
Ideal Place To Shop:
Muradabad is for utensils for utility and ornamental. Varanasi is known for its cast and sculptured mythological images and emblemata in brass and copper. Both towns are in Uttar Pradesh state of India. And other regions are like Kashmir, Bihar, West Bengal, Assam, Orissa, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
Metal ornaments have a rave in all ages and times. The attractive contrasts in colors and textures of metal has led to evolution of metal ornamentation through techniques like inlay, overlay, appliqué, fixing of colors.
Bidri, a form of surface ornamentation, in black colour, which never fades and is relieved with silver and gold inlay. Ideal Place To Shop: Lucknow well known for manufacturing center and other north Indian tourist towns.
Enameling is the art of coloring and ornamenting the surface of the metal by fusing over it various mineral substances. The beauty of the article depends on the skill and resources of the worker and the excellence of the material employed. The range of the colors obtained on gold is much greater than that on silver, copper and brass. Three forms of Enameling are known to exist. Ideal Place To Shop: Lucknow and Varanasi. And Jaipur specializes in enameled trays and trinket boxes.
Pottery & Stone Craft
Skilful potters of India are famous for their eye-catching articles of functional and decorative value. Surahis, large sized containers, jars, stools, tiles, earthenware dipped in vegetable colors are some of the famous pottery work of India. Beautiful pottery and other ware made of ceramics, is also one of the famous Indian buys. Ideal Place To Shop: Khurja in Uttar Pradesh, Rampur is famous for surahis, Nizamabad in Azamgarh, Alwar, Jaipur, Bikaner in Rajasthan, Kangra in Himachal is rich in clay wares, Khanapur in Karnataka is noted for its large containers and jars, Kutch and Saurashtra in Gujarat is famous for earthenware. Other regions are Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
Stone Craft and Marble Inlay Work:
Indian craftsmen are skilled in making cut, shaped, polished beautiful objects from odd blocks of stone and marble. The range of items include tableware, plates, bowls, food containers, candle stands. Models carved in marble of the Taj, vases, boxes, lamps, plates, bowls and pitchers are some of the popular items produced here. Ideal Place To Shop: Hamirpur district in Uttar Pradesh, Agra, Vrindavan near Mathura is famous for alabaster objects embossed with synthetic gems, Jhansi for sange – rathek stone carved objects, Midnapur in West Bengal, Bihar, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan.
Painstakingly carved and inlaid, the wooden articles of India are quite a rave with all lovers of woodcarvings. The range of designs includes vine leaf patterns, floral, geometric and figurative decoration, in addition to the traditional anguri and takai carvings, jali, brass, copper and ivory inlay work. Woodcarvings made out of sandalwood and rosewood is famous in India. Ideal Place To Shop: Saharanpur is famous for hard sheesham carvings, Mainpur in Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala and Rajasthan.
Wood Lacquering & Sculptures:
Lacquering on the wood products add color, sparkle, and smoothness thereby imparting lustrous finesse. India is well known for ornamental lacquering involving intricate patterns like zigzag and dana work, atishi, abri or cloud and nakashi.
Apart from marvelous prototypes of various gods and goddesses, the wall plaques, statues and toys made of rosewood; sandalwood and teakwood are famous artistic woodcarvings of southern India. Ideal Place To Shop: Varanasi for lacquered toys, Kashmir, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Goa, Sikkim, West Bengal and Karnataka.
Precious & Semi Precious Stones
The land that spells royalty is the home of the nameless precious and semi precious stones like mother of pearl, diamonds, emeralds, rubies, sapphires, lapis lazuli, aquamarines, amethysts and others. The process of transforming a rough stone into a shapely object needs great skill in which Indian craftsmen are adapted to the core. Ideal Place to Shop: Kashmir, Rajasthan and Mumbai.
India is one of the most important countries for the manufacture and export of costume jewellery. It has the largest production base for glass beads. Ideal Place to Shop: Varanasi, Purdilpur and Mathura are famous for glass bead, stringing glass and wooden beads necklaces, Ferozabad is rich in lightweight beads, German Jewellery is found in Agra, Meerut for metal jewellery, silver ornaments in Rajasthan and Haryana, Rohtak for peasant jewellery and head ornaments in Maharashtra.
India’s tribal jewellery is major attraction within the country as well as abroad. The adornment fashioned from flowers, leaves, stones of creepers are unbelievably charming, shells, seeds and berries being the most celebrated. Ideal Place to Shop: Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Kerala, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, shell bracelets found in West Bengal.
The origin of painting is traced to a moving legend recorded in the Chitralakshana – the earliest Indian treatise on painting. The Chola rulers in the south, made extensive use of Kolam, floor designs. Only women do these decorations.
The paintings on walls have deeper themes, also narrative in a series of panels. Wall paintings are usually made at festivals and special occasions like marriages. Folk paintings attain a high standard and artists won a great fame in this art.
Phad Paintings are predominantly yellow, red and green colored long scrolls carried by the “Bhopas” itinerant balladeers of Rajasthan who narrated in song the legend of Pabuji – a local hero.
Of all the art forms in the Mughal period, miniature paintings are painstakingly painted creations that depict the events and lifestyle of the Mughals in their magnificent palaces.
The wall paintings of Madhubani are joyous expressions of the women in Madhubani. The lively compositions and the vibrant colors used to paint them are generally drawn from Indian mythology. Ideal Place to Shop: Bihar, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and West Bengal.
Extreme softness, vivid colors and translucent texture characterize the silk weaving of India. The brocade or kinkab (superb weaving in gold and silver) has wide variety of techniques and styles. The brocades are distinguished by poetic names like chand tara, dhupchaon, mazchar, morgala, bulbul chasm. Ideal Place to Shop: Varanasi for tanchoi sarees, Jamdani is the spatiality of Tanda in Faizabad, Mysore, Kanchipuram, Murshidabad and Kashmir for silk sarees, cotton sarees of Bengal and Madhya Pradesh are well known, and patola sarees of Gujarat and Orissa are also famous.
The stitch by its sheer provides ornamentation to the material. The charm lies in the minuteness of the floral motifs. Stitches used are satin stitch, button stitch, hole stitch, dar stitch, netting and appliqué work which brings a charming shadowy effect on lace. The heavier work is called zardozi while the embroidery done in metal wire is called zari work. Ideal Place To Shop: Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Chikan embroidery of Lucknow and other north Indian tourists towns.
Hand Block Printing:
Hand block printing in India was the chief occupation of the chippas – a community of printers. They use metal or wooden blocks to print designs on the fabrics by hand. Ideal Place To Shop: Uttar Pradesh, Kutch, Kathiawar, Rajasthan and Gujarat are well known for bandhni design.
As India is a land of various communities, one can fall into temptation of buying at least half a dozen ethnic dresses from various parts of the country. Ideal Place To Shop: Rajasthan, Gujarat, Lucknow, Kashmir, Bihar, Kerala, Chennai.
Cane & Moonj:
India offers a superb selection of baskets made of moonj grass. Durable and decorative cane furniture and other articles made here are a major draw as items of export.
Ideal Place To Shop: Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.
Patra furniture is plated with white metal is intricately carved and engraved. This type of furniture is famous even today as it was once adorned in palaces. Lac furniture is also exquisite in variety and embellished with workmanship called Sankheda. Ideal Place To Shop: Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Assam, Kashmir, Tripura, Orissa and Punjab.
The carpets of India are universally admired not only for their original patterns, fine wool and rich colors, but also for being produced in sizeable quantities of acceptable commercial quality. High quality carpets are produced mostly in three varieties – Persian, Turkoman and Ambusson.
The brilliantly colored durries are also an statement of the imagination of the craftsmen of India. Exciting colors, forms, shapes and vibrant images characterize this delightful art form.
Jute Floor Covering & Runners:
The craftsmen of West Bengal have made use of this product extensively in an exquisite manner to create several l types of floor covering with several hues, sizes and designs, which represent Indian skills par excellence. Ideal Place To Shop: Agra, Amritsar, Jaipur, Gwalior, Kashmir and Bengal.