No other country in the world can boast of its rich art and culture like India can. It is a country overflowing with various indigenous forms of art and handicrafts. Here artisans with special skills blend a myriad of colours forming hues of effervescent vibrancy.
Handicraft is a way of life and primary source of income for the thousands of skilled workers all across the country. Handicraft villages are remotely located away from the hustle and bustle of big cities and it is here that artisans weave magic into articles that are so unique to the region.
The rich diversity of India can be clearly seen in the wide range of handicrafts produced all over the country. Metal craft, wood craft, embroidery, woven fabrics, pottery, shell craft, glass craft, terracotta, paper craft and so much more. Some of these handicraft products can be used daily while some are for decorative purposes. Some of these handicrafts even have global approbation.
Some of the popular handicraft villages include
Brass handicraft of Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh is famous the world over. The city is also known as Pital Nagri or Brass city. Metal engraving is a fine and a delicate art popular in this area. This can be seen in the enamelled jewellery as well as enamelled utensils produced in the area. You will find wine-cups, finger bowls, pillboxes etc., in both gold and silver sometimes studded with jewels.
Thanjavur is another popular place for brass handicraft. The villages in Thanjavur have a rich tradition in making metal objects. Items like lamps, shallow dishes, and plates are characterized by designs of deities, birds, flowers, and geometric patterns beaten out from the back of copper and silver sheets and subsequently encrusted on a brass tray, kudam or panchpaathra.
Kanchipuram is world famous for the finest silk produced in this area. Kanchipuram sarees are treated as priceless heirlooms by the women of the country as gold and silver threads are used for weaving patterns on the silk. Located in Tamilnadu, these sarees are source of income for most of the households in the village.
Shilpagram is a popular handicraft village located in Agra. This craft village is an open emporium where craftsmen and artisans bring their unique and ethnic craft to sell. Being in the city of the Taj Mahal, this village attracts both domestic and international tourists to see and purchase the wonderful crafts of the region.
Pipli in Orissa is famous for its appliqué work. This village owes its existence to this craft where motifs of Gods, animals, birds, flowers, leaves and shapes are stitched on to fabric within no time. Here you will find busy streets flaunting rows of shops selling appliquéd handbags, bed sheets, wall hangings, purses, pillow covers, canopies, garden umbrellas etc.
Dakshinchitra located in Chennai is a centre for the living traditions of art, folk performing arts, craft, and architecture of South India. This village inspires to connect the rich traditional culture to the present and future. The artifacts in the museum reflect the daily life in the Southern States. The museum contains a collection of books and journals pertaining to the arts, crafts, performance, anthropology, and folklore of South India. Various crafts are also taught at the centre.
Kutch handicraft is a way of life in the villages around Kutch in Gujarat. Several villages in the area specialize in different kinds of handcraft like mirror inlaid work, different kinds of embroidery –(muthua, ahir, soof), Bhandini, tie and dye, block printing, embroidered footwear and much more.
Handicraft is a way of life in most villages in India. For many it is the only source of livelihood. Popularising these handicrafts helps to keep the rich tradition and culture alive.