Handicrafts in India

Handicrafts commonly refer to hand-made artisanic crafts or artisanry. Skilled people create varied kinds of items starting from consumer goods to decorative pieces out of paper, wood, clay, shells, rock, stone, metal etc. with the help of simple tools. These kinds of items are called handicrafts owing to the fact that these crafted items are solely hand-made without the usage of any machine.

Are handicrafts popular in India?

The country of India is known for its ethnicity. Handicrafts form the gateway to this ethnic nation. So far as art and culture is concerned, India features amongst the culturally rich countries in the world. The country is fortunate enough to possess some highly skilled artisans. They have increased the fame of Indian handicrafts around the globe. Till now, many rural people earn their livelihood from their creative pieces of art.

Different kinds of Handicrafts in India

The country of India is the manufacturer of varied kinds of handicrafts, which gained its popularity even in international market. The most known form of handicrafts in India, are discussed below:

Bamboo Handicrafts: Being a producer of bamboo, handicrafts made from bamboo are one of the eco-friendly crafts in India. The varied items made from bamboo are baskets, dolls, toys, chalani, furniture, mats, wall-hangings, umbrella handles, crossbows, khorahi, kula, dukula, kathi, jewellery boxes and many more. Bamboo Handicrafts are mostly made in West Bengal, Assam and Tripura.

Cane Handicrafts: Cane products, a famous form of Indian handicraft include utilitarian objects like trays, baskets, stylish furniture etc. Vellore district of Tamil Nadu is famous for cane handicrafts in India.

Bell Metal Handicrafts: The hard form of bronze, which is usually used to make bells, is referred as bell metal. This kind of hard alloy is used to make crafts like vermilion boxes, bowls, candle stands, donari (pendants) and many more. This bell metal crafts are mostly prevalent in Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Assam and Manipur. In Madhya Pradesh, this form of handicraft is even regarded as "tribal craft".

Bone and Horn Handicrafts: Originating in the state of Orissa, the bone and horn handicrafts are famous for creating birds or animal figures, which seems alive. For example, a bird seems like twittering. Besides this, goods like pen stands, ornaments, cigarette case, table lamps, pepper and salt sets, chess sets, napkin rings, laughing Buddha etc. are prepared in Orissa, Karnataka, Kerala and Uttar Pradesh.
v Brass Handicrafts: Durability of brass items added on to the fame of brassware. Items made of brass like crawling Krishna, Lord Ganesha's figure in different postures, vases, table tops, perforated lamps, ornament boxes, hukkas, toys, wine glasses, plates, fruit bowls and many more are extensively used in many Indian houses till now. These artisans are famously known as "Kansaris". The manufacturing of brassware is mainly done in Rajasthan .

Clay Handicrafts or Pottery: With its origination during the Indus Valley Civilization, clay craft or pottery is said to be one of the most primitive form of handicrafts in India. People engaged in pottery are called "Kumhaars". Besides its world famous Terracotta form, pottery has got different forms like Red Ware, Grey Ware and Black Ware. Uttar Pradesh is known for its painted black wares. Besides this, Krishnanagar in West Bengal, Bikaner, Lucknow, Pune and Himachal Pradesh even prepare clay ware. Items like clay pots, decorative items, jewellery etc. are widely used all over the country.

Dhokra Handicrafts: Dhokra, the oldest form of handicraft is known for its traditional simplicity. This tribal handicraft originated in Madhya Pradesh. The other states involved in this are West Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. Dhokra is famous for its unique items portraying folk characters. Dhokra jewellery, candle stands, pen stands, ash trays and varied kinds of showpieces are available at every handicraft shops.

Jute Handicrafts: Jute craftsmen have created a worldwide niche in the field of jute handicrafts. The huge range of jute crafts includes bags, office stationeries, bangles and other jewellery, footwear, wall-hangings and many more. West Bengal, Assam and Bihar, being the leading jute producers, lead the jute handicrafts market in India.

Paper Handicrafts: Vibrant colored papers are combined together to form varied crafts like kites, masks, decorative flowers, lamp shades, puppets, hand-fans etc. Papier Mache, developed in the Mughal Era is even a famous form of paper handicraft in India. This craft industry is mainly located in Delhi, Rajghir, Patna, Gaya, Awadh, Ahmedabad, and Allahabad. Besides that, paper crafters are found in the outskirts of almost every major town.

Rock Handicrafts: Prevalence of rock carving, one of the primitive rock art can be seen in the states of Rajasthan, Jaipur, Orissa and Nagpur. Rajasthan, Jaipur and Madhya Pradesh are famous for marble stone carvings. Green colored stone art is the specialty of Madhya Pradesh, whereas, Patharkatti is the unique rock craft of Gaya. Age-old temples of Orissa are the world famous examples of rock craft in India. Numerous utensils, decorative pieces, stone jewellery and statues are made from rocks.

Shell Handicraft: From time immemorial, shell handicrafts are one of the demandable crafts in India. Shell Handicraft can be made out of three types of shells like conch shell, tortoise shell and sea shell. Different kinds of goods like bangles, forks, decorative bowls, lockets, spoons, buttons, curtains, chandeliers, mirror frames, table mats etc. are the products of shell crafting. Generally, the places located on the sea shore like Gulf of Manar, Goa, Orissa etc. are the places for shell handicraft.

Silver Filigree or Meenakari or Tarakashi Handicrafts: Silver filigree or Tarakashi is a creative form of handicraft created from the twisted threads of silver or gold. Silver filigree can of three distinctive types, Meenakari, Khulla Jaal and Flowers and Leaves. The most famous works of silver filigree includes paandans, tea trays, trinket boxes, earrings, necklaces, bracelets and varied other jewellery. Besides Cuttack in Orissa, Karimnagar in the state of Andhra Pradesh is known for its silver filigree work.

Weaving or Embroidery Handicrafts: Weaving mainly refers to the process of cloth production by two thread sets known as weft and warp crossed with each other. This traditional form of handicraft is mostly found in the states of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. Bandhanis, the famous form of weaving are created in Jamnagar and Rajkot. Bihar and Karnataka are known for their embroidery work.

Wood Handicrafts: Wood craft is prevalent in India even before stone sculpture came into existence. Varied goods are created by the skilled craftsmen by shaping a piece of wood. Gujarat, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala and Uttar Pradesh are known for their unique form of woodwork. Axes, toys, utensils, decorative pieces, jewellery and many more designer household goods like lamp shades, candle stands, vermillion boxes, jewellery boxes, bangle holders etc. are some of the common wood crafts used in almost every Indian house.

Other Kinds of Handicrafts in India

Apart from the ones discussed above, the other handicrafts prevalent in India are:
  • Enamel Handicrafts
  • Glass Handicrafts
  • Ivory Handicrafts
  • Kiritams Handicrafts
  • Lac Handicrafts
  • Lace or Zari Handicrafts
  • Leather Handicrafts
  • Marble Handicrafts
  • Metal Handicrafts
  • Painting
  • Stone Handicrafts
  • Tilla Juttis

Government handicrafts shops

Handicrafts can be best bought from the state based Government handicrafts shops. However, the type of handicrafts varies from one state to other. Besides these, there are numerous handicrafts emporium in almost every big city and town. Some of the famous handicrafts shops all over India are:

  • Dilli Haat in Delhi
  • Kala Madhyam in Bangalore
  • MESH in Hyderabad and Delhi
  • Khazana in Taj Group of Hotels
  • Ekamra Haat in Bhubaneshwar
  • Rajasthali in Jaipur
Last Updated on 9/1/2011