Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Indian Art and Handicraft


Indian Art and handicrafts are one of the most important Tourism Product under Cultural and Heritage tourism.

Handicrafts have long and glorious tradition behind them. They are the symbols of people’s culture and form part of a great heritage of art. Handicrafts are having a speciality of art and workmanship that reflect the culture of each and every place of a country. If an article of handicraft is purchased, it reveals always the memory of a particulars place where it is purchased. In Tourism folder/booklet, pamphlets handicrafts of a particulars center is found mentioned prominently. This pattern is followed worldwide. If a tourist possesses a handicraft material of a particulars place, people immediately realize that the tourist visited the place and purchased it there. In all tourist places, the tourist usually enquires, what to buy there? So handicrafts in Tourism play a major role over tourist worldwide.

Indian art and handicrafts have, since time immemorial, captivated the imagination of people globally. Every state in India boasts of an exclusivity and speciality, depending upon its historical influences, traditional skills and raw materials. India is world renowned for its dexterity in paintings, exquisite embroidery, beautiful sculptures in stone, mental, wood temple carving and elegantly designed jewellery.

 Art and Crafts a Living Tradition

Indian handicrafts reveal the innate artistic senses of the masses and their desire to combine utility with beauty.The brocades of Varanasi and Murshidabad, the jewellery of jaipur, the ivories of Mysore, the glazed pottery of Khurja, the glass work of Firozabad, the inlaid metalware of Moradabad and Hyderabad, the papier mache of Kashmir, and numerous other handicrafts of different parts of India have delighted the people of this country for ages and have admitted by all kinds of tourists.

Spinning, weaving and dying are among the oldest and best known of Indian handicrafts. History reveals that silk cloths and muslin cloths were exported from Bengal to Egypt. Cotton fabrics were found in Mohen-ja-Daro excavation. Silk was in use long before the Epics period. The finest silk and muslins were shown in Ajanta paintings. The razors, chisels, fish hooks and spearheads found at Mohen-jo-Daro and Harappa are also examples of Indian antiquity of metal work. Bronze and copper vessels fully decorated with craftsmanship tend to uplift our Indian handicrafts. Ornaments of polished gold and gold cups with gems were mentioned in our Rig Veda.

Indian potters are famous for ages. The stone vessels and steatite seals with animal motifs found in Mohen-ja-Daro are the best examples are available for excellent crystal carving of Buddhist period before the Christian era. At Taxila, moulded tiles of blue glass have been excavated at Mathura and pataliputhra. This indicated that the Indian used glass craftsmanship in ancient times. As per Indus valley finding ivory carving was practiced in India 5000 year ago.

Music and dance in India are among the oldest forms of classical arts with traditions that date back several centuries. Musical forms prevalent today have roots in the book ‘Samaveda’. The source of Indian dance forms is the ‘Natya Shastra’ regarded as the fifth Veda, written between the second century B.C. and second century A.D. The Indian classical music can be classified into two broad tradition, north Indian and south Indian. The north Indian tradition is known a Hindustani Sangeet. The different forms of Hindustani music are Dhrupad, Dhamar, Khayal, Tappa and Thumari and south Indian tradition known as a Caranatic Sangeet. Both traditions are fundamentally similar but differ in nomenclature and the way of performed.

There is sculptural evidence from all parts of India that underlines the rich tradition of dance that flourished for a thousand years ago. Through this evidence, we see that in ancient Indian dance and music were not only seen as way to celebrate, but also as offering of worship and thank giving to the deity. Over the course of time, the dance forms practice in different parts of the country were codified and developed distinct identities according to the geographic, socio-economic and political condition of each region. All dance forms were structured around the nine ‘ Rasa’ or emotions.

The folk dances and music/songs are the outcomes of the imagination of the people. The are the spontaneous expressions of emotions. There are no rigidities with regard to the display of the folk dances. The songs sung by the artists lead the dancer. The songs will be for the glorification of the local deities.

Painting appeared on pots found in the Indus vally Civilization as early as the 3rd century B.C. The cave painting, of Ajanta and Ellora date back to the 1st to 5th century A.D. These, including the wall painting on Brahadeeswara temple in Thanjavar from 1st century. A.D.and the kalamkari art fromin the Vidharbha temple in Lepakshi, portray advanced techniques and refinement of creative styles. Indian paintings have many dimensions to them, Most of the paintings are intricate with clarity in minute detail, and Different techniques are used to produce the most exquisite designs and works. The colours used are vibrant and themes range from royal portraits and events to illustrations of innumerable Gods and Goddess,

The Mughal Emperors like Akbar, Jahangir and Shah jahan were great patrons of Indian arts and crafts. In the South, the Chera, Chola and Pandiyan kingdoms extended state patronage for various arts and crafts including the temple arts. The pallava and Nayaks were popular for stone sculptures. The Maratha rulers popular for paintings.



                                PART    I


Varities of Handicrafts

   1.     Earthenware   

     2.    Woodwork   

     3.     Stonework/carving  

     4.     Textiles  

     5.     Metal ware  

     6.     Jewellery   

   7.     Ivory  

     8.     Basketry, Mat weaving etc.  

   9.     Horn, Shoal Pith etc   

  10. Leather works   

  11. Glass work   

  12. Papier mache   

  13.  Folk Paintings 

  14.  Shopping in India  

                              PART   II


1.     Indian Classical Dances   

2.     Indian folk dances  

3.     Indian Music  


      1. EARTHEN WARE 

Clay craft is probably the earliest of man’s creation and marks it’s coming of age. It is as though as man faced nature he was stirred by its challenge. Moulded out of the earth himself he wanted to extended the boundaries of his material existence to give expression to his creative spirit. So he took the earth in his hands and began to fashion a whole new world of infinite shapes of grace and elegance. It thus symbolises man’s first craftsmanship, and civilizations are now dated and assessed by the degree of skill and beauty displayed by earthenware found in excavations.


Earthenware in India is too widespread a product to be enumerated. One can but identify certain special types.


Delhi has a very old tradition in its famous blue pottery, which is very distinctive. The base is powdered quartz mixed with gum to make a kind of soft paste to be moulded, and is vitreous and semi-transparent. While the product turned out has a Persian flavour, it is in reality quit original in its composition, claiming kinship with procelain. It has a penetrating blue, bordering on turquoise, sometimes shot with green. 


The Jaipur blue pottery is equally famous, but is quite unique, for the base is prepared out of the material from which the slip is made and no clay is used. It is perhaps the only pottery produced without the use of clay, a couple of factors rather simplify the procedure. One, all the materials that go into the composition quartz, raw glaze, sodium sulphate, fuller’s earth locally known as multani clay. All require the same temperature, and the pottery needs to be fired only once unlike other pottery. The other is that the slip does not develop any cracks. It is also more impervious and therefore more hygienic for daily use. Only the neck and the lip are shaped on the wheel. For the decorative work also the pot is rotated, and the ornamentation done with brush made of squirrel’s hair. Some of the pottery is semi-transparent and mostly decorated with arabesque patterns, interspersed with animal and bird motifs.


Rajasthan pottery has certain distinct characteristics, the mouths of water pots are small, and probably to prevent spilling when water is being carried, a natural precaution where water is so precious. Their shoulders are painted in black and white patterns. Alwar is noted for its paper thin, almost sheer body pottery, known as kagzi(paper) pottery.


In Uttar Pradesh, Khurja has evolved a style of its own by raising the pattern with the use of thick slips into a light relief. It also works out its own shades in warm autumnal colours like orange, brown, and a special light red. Floral design in sky-blue are worked against a white background. A speciality of Khurja is a type of pitcher like a pilgrim’s bottle, decorated in relief by thick slip. Rampur surahis(water pot) are noted for their uniform green –blue glazes with plain surfaces, the base being prepared from red clay. Chunar is also famous and at one time used to glaze item wares with brown slit. Excellent water containers are made in other parts of Uttar Pradesh like Meerut and Hapur, which are both turned and moulded. They are famous for their floral pattern.


Kangra in Himachal Pradesh is rich in clay wares all through he valley. They are mostly back or dark red but in wide range, all for domestic use, traditional in form and most attractive. This place is more famous for Gidya (a jug for milk or ghee) Patri (a bowl for curd or butter, narele ( the tobacco smoking pot.

Kutch and Saurashtra in Gujrat are noted for their beautiful earthenware both in shape and in decoration. They produce natural white wares, gentle and pleasing to the eye. Banaskantha merits for its artistic water pots. Vidi, small hamlet in Kutch, abounds in white clay and the manufacture of this soft white pottery. Saurashtra has clay called gopichandan because of its likeness to chandan, sandalwood paste, when it is tempered with water. A finished article glows like burning buff.


Kashmir has its earthenware of ordinary clay but with a glaze like surface, which has come to gain great popularity. Once the classical symbol was the hukka base, which was made in large variety of traditional shapes. But now there is switch over to modern tableware. Dal lake in Srinagar specializes in these glazes and pottery is popularly known as the dal gate pottery.


Goa earthenware with its deep red, velvety surface has its own charm. Apart from a large variety of domestic ware, which includes attractive water, pot and flower pots, which are speciality, a wide range of figures and panels, are made. These are more in the nature of sculpture.


The South has several centers of noted glazes pottery. Vellore in north Arcot has black and red wares. Usilampatti in Madurai district has black pottery painted over with a special yellow substance, which has an old tradition. Panruti in south Arcot is famous for a large variety of clay work, large and small figures if deities, toys etc.


Karigiri pottery is unique in many ways. The base is local semi-vitreous white low fusing china clay with high plasticity known as namakatte. The colours in the glazes here are quite different from others. The best know are green, yellow, brown and blue, and they are all locally made, very simple with indigenous materials, using low temperature melting glazes. Every article here is distinctive, even the very common clay pipe, chillum, is made into a noteworthy item both through its elegant shape as its deep blue or green glaze. It is  said that the Nawabs in the olden days used to them. A popular item is the magic pot, which is filled up from an aperture from the bottom. But when the pot is back on its base, the water stays in it and does not run out. It is usually made in fresh olive green and limpid blue.       



The tradition of wood carving is an old in India. Not only the royal family bit also each and every citizen of India prefer this wood carving  art in  his or her homes. Kashmir in the  north, Mysore, Tamilnadu  and Travancore in the South, Rajasthan in central India and Gujrat in the west produced wood –carving of characteristics, design and ornamentation. In Taminadu, Karnataka, Andhra and Orissa wood carvings ere perfectly executed in the temple cars. Tamilnadu is still famous for its wood carving of temple car panels.


Monuments like Ashoka’s palace at Patilputra and the magnificent temples at Bodh gaya, bear witness to the craftsmen’s vigorous talent. The Asutosh Museum of Kolkatta University has a life-size figure of Gopal playing on the flute, carved out of a single log of wood in which the natural grains of wood have been so utilized in the modeling a to make it perfectly lifelike, as if the figure is breathing. It is not surprising that the woodworker came to occupy a key position in the society and was designated sutradhar, literally the man who holds the strings.     


India has a luxuriant range in wood, for each locale has its own particular properties of grain and strength.


Kashmir has the soft toned elegant walnut and the facile deodar wood that have guided the craftsmen’s deft fingers into delicate lines and decorative motifs. Kashmir is particularly noted for its fine lattice-work screens as also caskets which owe their origin to the tradition of lattice-work in windows in old structures. The chiseling is attuned to the function of the article. For instance some of the most exquisite carving is to be seen on the delicately shaped jewellery caskets.


Himachal Pradesh is the land of forest, has a fine tradition in temple wood carving and  luckily some of the  ancient wooden temples still survive in places like Chatrahi and Brahmour, though a shadow of the old glory still show the height of imaginative power attained in temple carving, with their minute chiseling and skillful sculptural decorations. A rare sight is the cluster of temples with flat roofs and rising sikharas, the intricate etchings on the pillars and doors with flavour of the Basholi style, showing great ingenuity. The wooden vessels are still in use – the village Koona near Brahmour is noted for them. Chamba specializes in large wooden boxes for grain storage shaped in geometrical or animal.  


Gujarat is one of the richest region in wood-carving. Even the ordinary houses are beautifully decorated with carvings. The dominant feature is the entrance, the door or the arch, which is horizontal and each succeeding layer is made to project beyond the preceding until the center is reached. The doors have delicate lattice-work or caring, and the lintel over it, an image. The pillars are decorated with floral design. The bracket in Gujarat structures has been a formative feature, which governed the character of ornamentation and is often covered with carvings of flora and fauna and entrancing figures, particularly in dance poses.  A common sight in Gujarat region is an ornately carved wooden structure in two or three tiers, the rises like a big minaret from a pillar. A fascinating feature of Gujarat carving is the large variations found in a single motif. One may take the lotus, the parrot, peacock, and swan; there would be forty to fifty different shapes, posed and style of presenting each.

 In the traditional the two well known items are nav khania and trean khania cupboard with nine and three secrete drawers. Which is carved with floral or geometrical designs.

 Perhapur in Mehsana district of Gujarat famous for engraving of blocks for textile printing, for which teakwood is mostly used. The block carver splits up the overall design into a number of blocks, which together make the whole design.

 Assam is a thick forest area with an old tradition in woodwork and noted for its special style and objects. Rather unusual and quite striking is a special wooden house called namghar or kirtanghar (house of prayer). It contains a throne like seat often shaped like a peacock, raised in tiers ranging from three to nine supported by sculptured lions, sometime these lions are standing on elephants. The sides are carved with mythical figures or animals. The beams and cross beams are carved by traditional deities of flowers and creepers. Assam is also famous for finely carved chests for storing everything from ornaments to vessels.

 Punjab has several woodwork centers each with its own distinct style. Hosiarpur, Jalandhar, Amritsar, Bhera are known for their ornamental products, especially furniture. The carving is generally in low relief cut in geometrical patterns. Mainly floral designs are used.

 In Tamil Nadu there are a number of places noted for wood -craft. Virdudungar is famous for the traditional style. It has now started making articles for  current household use. Devakottao and Karaikkudi make traditional panels in different sizes. Here are also found small portable shrines finely carved in wood called kavadi often with exquisite designs. Nagarcoil  and Suchindram have traditional carvers who also make figures.

Madura is famed for its rosewood carvings. The style is marked by its bold forms, the details being minutely and painstakingly worked out. The tables are most outstanding, the top covered with floral motifs or lovely panels with epic scenes.

 Another interesting wood equally attractive, in the Tirupati area, Chitoor district of Andhara Pradesh is a red sander known as raktachandan. It is rare and slow growing. Tiruchanur and Madhavmala are noted for their products. Mostly the god goddess  idol is produce from this wood.

 The Karnataka is also famous for rosewood articles. It lends itself better to carving in the round than any other technique. Mostly modern furniture pieces and considerable variety of elephants, which are in great demand, are made in rosewood,

 Karnataka has superb example of structural carvings from ancient temples to modern palaces, with the massive over-door frames, bracketed pillars and architraves in several styles, varying in treatment and technique.

 Some of the best specimens of woodwork in south India are highlighted by the mighty pyramidal gateway to temples. A close look into their intricacies makes one marvel. An extension of this covers the temple chariots, rathas, as they are called made of teakwood. They are of three types, all of which are heavily decorated. Numerous sculptures figure flying angles, giant sized guards, horsemen and a whole host of thins all over the ceiling, door side, etc. All the chariots are however mounted by a pyramidal shaped roof covered with close prodigious ornamentation. The craftsmen who make these belong to the Vishwakarma community.

 In Rajasthan, Pipar city and bhari Sajanpur in pali district, paper thin bowls are prepared for Jain monism from rohida wood. A variety of figures are made on special occasions like Isar and Gauri for the Ganagaur festival in Rajasthan. At the Ramdeoji festival held near Jodhpur at the grave Ramdeoji, among the gifts offered in memory of his great services to his great services to his people are wooden horses in various sizes carved with tast.

 There are hundred of special occasions throughout the country when certain wooden figures are produced for rituals; famous among them is Puri Jagannath ( Ratha Yatra) in Orissa; these figures are annually carved, worshipped and then destroyed.

 The best in Kerla wood carving is seen in religious figures whether it is in a temple or a church. One of the earliest example is the Mandapam of the Mahadeva Temple at Katinakulam near Tiruvantiporam, with its ceiling of deities with Brahma on a swan, in the center. Secular objects like warriors wielding their swards and ladies adorning themselves in which the drapery and  ornaments show a high quality of craftsmanship are greatly in evidence. Similarly there are many numbers of churches that are outstanding monuments of superb workmanship. The altar, the pulpit, the tabernacular ceiling above the chancel are all beautifully carved. In St. Thomas Church at Mulanthurathy is a panel of great artistic excellence depicting a theme that has been popular with artists through the centuries the world over. Christ with his 12 apostles at the last supper. Motifs in carving in these churches are vines, grapes, and ears of wheat, many of them painted in gold, which is rare in temples.


Goa has a good tradition in wood-carving judging from the old structures. The designs used are however purely oriental-floral, animal and human figures; main places of production are Verem, Bardez, and Cuncolim.


Decorated woodwork -INLAY

Though wood is beautiful, man has tried to accentuate certain of its qualities by further ornamentation. One medium is inlay. It is done by the surface of one material by setting pieces of other material into it. Karnataka began with inlay if rosewood and ebony with ivory, some of the best example of which may be seen at the Srirangapatnam mausoleum. The doors of the Amba Vilas palace in Mysore have fine inlay work.


Hosiarpur in Punjab specializes in wood inlay. Here mostly sisum wood is used, occasionally black wood, both as ground, and sometimes with ivory inlay. The usual table tops, teapoys, trays, table legs, screen. Bowls, cigarette cases and chess-boards. The designs are largely of the traditional Moghul variety with emphasis on flora, fauna and geometrical patterns.


Gujarat, especially Surat, has its famed mar-quetry known as sadeli. It is a kind of a mosaic worked around the panels. Bhavnagar in Saurshtra, Gujarat state, is famed for large sized chests known as pataras – big boxes. Teak wood is generally used for pataras. The thick metal sheet called kala-pataras to provide cover and give the box strength and durability; the thin sheet called safed-patara is for making decorative pieces for the box.


Lacquer ware

Lac is a kind of resin. For its application lac is heated to get a plastic condition. Kneaded, colours added, then drawn to be made into sticks. Before applying the lac the wooden article is smoothened by rubbing with fine pottery powder, then put on a lathe and rotated, while the lac stick is pressed against it. Ornamental lacquering involving intricate manipulation is classified  under various categories such as zigzag and dana work, atishi or fire, abri or cloud, nakashi and etched nakashi, painted decorative work. The nakashi work is best  seen in Kashmir and Rajasthan.

 Kashmir makes walls decoration, large sized lamps, big flower pots, fire screens, tall household lamps with rich patterns of birds like bulbul, and fiery looking kingfisher, colourful roses, cherry blossoms, in the nakashi style.

 Amritsar and Jalandhar made traditional lac-quered furniture with bold and pronounced designs characteristic of Punjab.

 Sankheda in Gujarat is noted for very artistic furniture of low seats and tables stools and swings.

 Chennapatna in Karnataka state holds an honored place in the lacquer ware world. It is an old industry practiced by craftsmen called chitragars, picture makers. Hale is the main wood used for its fairly soft body and close grain. 

 Savantwadi in Sindhudurga district in Maharashtra is famous for its lacquered imitation fruits and vegetables. Hale and pangara wood is used, both being soft and light.



India is blest with a very large variety of stones. 


Such as:

1.     Sandstone – Agra, Mirzapur, Bharatpur,Orissa

2.     Marble- Jaipur, Jodhpur, Haisalamer

3.     Glass mosaic – Alwar, Udaipur

4.     Chalkstone- Orissa

5.     Soapstone- West Bengal

6.     Granite stone- Tamilnadu, Karnataka

 The archaeological excavations conducted at different parts of India have brought to light many stone sculptures belonging to different periods.

 The Mauryan period initiated the transition of the culture from wood to stone. They gave importance to the introduction of rock cut chaityas, Viharas and monolithic pillars. At Barhut, Sanchi and Vuddhagays in the north, during the Sunga period, we are able to notice the stone craft. The sathavahanas were responsible for the execution of the gateway of sanchi around 50 B.C. The scenes from Jataka tales, the riders of horses and elephants, dancing figures of women with lot of ornaments, winged animals; horned griffins with wings are found in beautiful stone sculpture. Sarnath, Amaravathi and Mathura were the great centers of stone work. It was the period of flower of Indian sculptures.

 The stone craft has a dynamism and moving quality. The Indian craftsman narrates the stories or incidents in an effective and attractive way, the figures speak out the pronounced aims, and the messages it decided to convey. At the initial stages Buddha was glorified through stone craft. Due to the creative and matured nature of the artisans they produced sophisticated and convincing art. The Jain structures too have railing and pillars with decorative motifs. The Amaravathi stupa in Andhra Pradesh shows stone sculpture at its height. This stupa contains the workmanship of the 7th century, the Raja Rani temple of the 11th century are wonderful specimens of the stone art. The Lingaraja temple is also a significant feature of stone structure. The graceful female figures, the row of yogis, the mythical lions are the masterpieces.

 Konarak temple, conceived as a gigantic solar chariot having 24 gorgeously ornamented wheels, is known for its architectural grandeur and elegance. The Chandala rulers, as their contribution, brought out the Khajaraho temple during the 10th century A.D.

 At Mahabalipuram, we have wonderful sculptures hewn out of rocks. The cave temples, the rock cut monoliths, structural temple in the seashore, Arjuna penance panel carved out of a rock are wonderful specimens of Pallava architecture. The thousand of temples available all over the South India are of great value. The temple of Srirangam Chidambaram, Kachipuran, Maduari, Tanjore etc, are notable structural temples. The pillars and mandapas inside the temple, the gopurams along with gateways are superb stone temple structure in Tamilnadu. The Nagara, Vesara and Dravida style of structure are quite absorbing. At Hampi, Halebede, Perur, Avudayarkoli etc. too one can have the monumental temples of different dynasties. The fine chiseled works are of greater vitality. There are no parables to such elaborations and variety.   The Chalukyas of Vengi and Badami too contributed their best to stone structural works. The distinctive figures carved in the pillars are no match. The Pudumandapam of Madurai of the Nayak period is another wonderful specimen of stone craft. The temples vimanas are also quite exquisite.

 Agra in Uttar Pradesh, is world famous for its marble work flowering under the aura of the Taj Mahal. Models in marble of the Taj and other monuments are popular fancy items-vases, boxes, lamps, plates, pitchers and combine delicately moulded shapes, fine carving, exquisite decorations set off sometimes by perforated traceries revealing subtle dsigns.

 A wide variety of structural pieces are produced, like lattice windows, mirror frames with lace-like fringes, richly carved brackets, canopies with elegant pendent, fretted balusters, large basins with filigree rims to float flowers and many other lovely and useful items. Agra is most famous for inlay work, drawings inspiration from superb Taj Maha. One of whose distinguishing characteristics are its incomparable mosaics. Against the milky white surface are in-set numerous coloured stones to form a multitude of mosaics, said to contain 42 varieties.

 Rajasthan is particularly noted for its ornamental stone work. For its supremacy in the use of stones one has to look at some of the old and beautiful palaces in Jaipur, Udauipur, Jaisalmer, Alwar, Bikaner, Jodhpur etc. Jaisalmer city is a dream of stone, rising out of a desert. It has a whole cluster of marble housed, now abandoned, to stand like memories of by gone age, with pierced windows, with delicate traceries, balconies with richly carved brackets, sculptured arches, all of which transform architecture into an ornament. The green spotted cropper coloured tamra stone  found in Swaimadhopur is used inmaking images. Dungapur has a soft shaded which turns black when oiled, also used in icon making. There is lovely soft stone in Bhilwara, which because of its pliability is used as substitute for alabaster.

Himachal Pradesh can boast of a rich heritage in stone carving equal to that of any other in India. The gaint monolithic carving of the rock cut temple at Masrur in Kangra district, ha been compared to Mahabalipuram for its daring and attention to details, elaboration and delicate chiseling. The early Pahari carving is very stylized with figures in cylindrical style which seen imbued with mobility and almost organic action. Stone images in this style are carved in Kangra.

kerla is rich in granite, which is largely used in image making field, which Changanur is an important center. Sculpture belonging to the historic period dates back to the early part of this century, which contain some extraordinarydancing  figures. The Shri. Padmanabhaswami Temple in Tiruvantipuram is a storehouse of fine sculpture                  


The infinite variety of textile fabrics India produces seems to have been derived from the local contours of the countryside. In the  West we have a colour belt of bright desert shades stretching from Rajasthan to Kutch. Further down in the Deccan Plateau, colours become subordinate to design, grow subdued until as we move into Kerla they seem to quench themselves in the lush green of nature. So garments divest themselves of pigment to let man enjoy the magnificence of the colours of sky, water and forests. We see the picture repeated in reverse I Assam and Bengal, where deep and dark green, white or off-white, yellow and red dominate and we come down through Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Tamilnadu, we encounter more intricate designs in rich shades. While the local environment had had a tremendous impact, the common religious heritage has ever emphasized the basic unity.


 Cotton fabrics may be said to be the pearl of Indian weaving. This fabric where given fancy name likes, Evening dew, Sherbati. Cotton is woven universally all over India. Superfine yarn is still spun and superfine khadi cloth is produced in places like Madhubani in North Bihar and Ponduru in Andhra Pradesh.

 In Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh where expensive cotton saris and produced, even the simplest has a dignity lent by very broad borders on either side, or a single decorative touch of a heavily patterned pallu. ( the sari end which falls over the shoulder at the back) Their distinguishing mark is what is known as korvai, the solid border where the weft threads do not enter into the borders. For saris single border, two shuttles are needed, for double border there shuttles. The country jacquard is used for designs on the borders. There is the severe plain white sari or dhoti with the gold band  for the border, which is typical style of Kerla and the saris, are known as karalkuda. Similar styles in colour are also produced in Coimbatore, Madurai in Tamil Nadu, Chanderi in Madhya Pradesh Venkatagiri in Andhra pradesh, which is fabulous look with its sheer body and gold design like dots, coins, leaves, parrots or simple geometrical patterns on the body.

 Manipur has an aura of religion and romance around cotton weaving. Manipur have their own special legends and belief around which their weaving tradition evolves, and their designs are based on religion, ceremonies and special functions and dances. Best popular are akoibi and ninghou phee, patterned on the different designs of a snake which has a legend behind it. These designs are mostly used in the phanek, the women’s lungi. The morang phee is the real manipuri sari distinguished by its temple border and connected with the tragic love tale of Khamba-Thoibi.

 The Maheswari saris in Madhya Pradesh are mostly in cotton. The body is plain or has strips or checks, which have several variations. The plain ones are known as chandrakaka, the moon and stares design has lengthwise stripes of two shades and the pattern is arranged with four stripes of one shade alternated by one strip of another stripe. The pallu is also distinctive, with five stripes tree coloured and two white alternating, running along with the width and in each of the white, four line of the same colour are inserted.

 From Hubli Dharwar in Karnataka state to Bijapur, cotton saris are made in dark earthy colours, which mark them out, as also their heavy maroon red or chocolate borders with coulured  or white lines or strips at the edges in the rudrakasha  pattern. There is another style of sari called Irkalis, which is rich in their colouring like the special pomegranate red, brilliant peacock blue, parrot green.  These saris also made in Narayanpet in Andhra Pradesh.



 Silk not only has a very ancient tradition, it enjoys also a significant status because of its use at rituals. This may perhaps partly account for the concentrated development of silk weaving at popular places of worship like Varanasi and Kanchipuram.

 Varanasi has an old tradition in weaving special styles for export to specific countries of the West and South Asia, which naturally adds to the richness and variety of its products. These brocades are distinguished but apt poetic names like chand tara (moon and stare), dhupchhaon (sunshine and shade), mazchar (ripples of silver), morgala (peacock neck) bulbul chasm (nightingale’s eyes).

 Tanchoi is an example of weaving that resembles our fine miniatures. Its origin is traced to three Indian Parsi brothers by the name of Choi who learnt this craft in China and practicing in Surat, Gujarat. In tanchoi saris the design are always floral with interspersing of birds. The usual ground is bright blue, purple, green or red.

 Orissa has a patola style of its own. The weaving is done in tusser silk and in single ikat. The designs usually are in floral patterns, with animals and certain traditional motifs like fish, conch. Pochanpalli makes patola saris in a large variety of geometrical designs. .

 There is a very beautiful sari called paithani, after the village Paithan in Maharashtra state. On a zari warp thread the weft is interlocked with different colours. The pallu is a fascinating piece of  gold tissue round which are woven brightly coloured rosettes, some times birds mostly peacock .

 Kashmir too lays equal claim to antiquity in silk industry. Kashmir was amongst the earliest to export silk to the west and central Asia.

 In Tamil Nadu the pride of place goes to Kanchipuram. Kanchipuram saris are the wide contrast borders. For this three shuttles are needed and while the weaver does the right side, his aide manages the left with separate shuttles. Here the border designs and colours are quite different from that of the body. This operation also covers the pallu, which, however, has to another wrap. The part of the body meets the border is sometimes marked by a zigzag line, which are placed also in the body, locally known as vanki. A delicate jasmine bud is placed inside a square or buds are scattered like dew drops over the body called mallinaggu.



 In woolen material the most covered is pashmina, made out of the wool from the under belly of the Himalayan pashmina goat, which has animal grows when it lives 14000 ft. or above sea level.

 Shawl is one of India’s best wool products. Amongst shawls, Kashmir holds the world title. In some shawls  there are two sided weaves, usually of the same design but some times in different colour schemes known as do-rookha.

 The Himalayan region, which is the real home of woolens, is a great shawl producing area, especially Mandi, Kullu and Chamba in Himachal  Pradesh. In the Kulu valley where wool weaving is a major industry several other woolen fabrics are made. Most widely use as to covering is patty in black and white check squares by the giddies of  Brahmore in Chamber district. Dohru is however the special cloth worn by women with beautiful colour combinations likes a black surface with red temple spires going into body, with a cross border of red, green and yellow.  

 Painting on cloth

 Kalahasti in Andhra Prudish is noted for its kalamkari now called after the place. They are exclusively hand painted to be used as tapestries and hangings in temples. Here vegetable dyes of deep rich shades are used with strong outlines in brown and black.

 The women figures are usually in yellow, gods in blue demons in red and green but some are left unpainted. They wear heavy jewellery and elaborately patterned clothes. The cloth is also dipped in milk solution as it prevents colours from running. The paintings are made up in panels, each depicting a story from the epics. The large one narrates an entire story, the smaller ones important events like Sita’s marriage.

 The temple cloths of Chikkanaicanapetta, near Kumbakonam, Tanjore district are called vasamalai – that which is hung on the wall. Though technically painted the same way as at Kalahasti, the figures are not folk but keen more towards the temple images in form. The colours used are bright in contrast to the deep dark ones of Kalahasti, as here chemical colours used instead of vegetable colours. Kuralam is a decorative cloth of a ritual nature to hang on either side of the chariot during the procession.

 The word kalamkari is derived from kalam, meaning pen; and kari, means work. This kind of picturisation on cloth is done in other parts of India too, but the best knowns are on Gujarat, Rajasthan, Orissa and West Bengal.

 Among the religious pads, the most famous is of Srinathji as Krishna is called in the Nathadwara temple near Udaipur in Rajasthan, known as Pichwai. Pichwai are made in Bhiwalra and Shahapur in Rajasthan. Are first pichwais were only made for decoration to be hung behind the image and which were changed according to the season. There were special ones for festive occasions.

 Gujarat the main center for Kalamkaris is Ahmedabad where the Devi-ka-parda (curtain of the Goddess) is painted. Only men do the outline painting, the painting is the prerogative of the women of the vaghri families.

 Orissa paintings on cloth called patachitra or popularly pat, are in different style and technique. The favourite colours are bright red and dark rich blue. The themes are from the ancient epics; Very popular is the figure of Jagannath, the chief deity of Puri, with Balaram and Subhadra between them. Krishna in various poses playing on his flute as his companion dance in complete abandon, or teasing two gopies or dancing with Radha in his arms or the holding the mountain Goverdhan with his finger are most scenes figures.

 In West Bengal painting on cloth is made in the form of scrolls. The scrolls served both ritualistic as well as entertainment purpose.



Batik   : The surface of a finely woven fabric has melted bees’ wax and paraffin applied with a brush as a resist to block the parts that are not to be dyed or meant to be in light shades. After which it is immersed in a cold dye bath, which colours the background. Then the other parts are dyed, part-by-part, shutting off the ones not to be covered. Finally the entire fabric is cleared of wax with boiling water and soap. As the fabric is handled in the process the wax coating breaks up into a kind of irregular network of thin hair like cracks through which the dye finds its way and created involuntarily a design of its own which gives the fabric a fresh added quality and enhances its attractiveness.


Bandhani : Bandhani, as the craft of tie and dye is called is both a complicated and sophisticated method of decorating cloth by just manipulating the dyes. Though the basic process is the same, not only each region but also even a village has its own special designs and colour schemes. Badhani is an ancient art practiced in great many places in Gujarat. Jamnagar, Anjar, Bhuj are famous centers.


The entire process is one of tying, colouring and discharging of the colour and again repeating it starting with tying. Tying of the border is a special process known as sevo bandhavo. In this the border is tied according to the desired pattern by passing the thread from one end to the other in loose stitch so as to bring the entire portion together by pulling the thread from one end.  The traditional colours are usually red, green, yellow, blue and black with a vide range of combinations possible with these hues. Jamnagar has a satiny, stiff kind of glazed silk on which bandhani is done for blouses, vest and now for lampshades, ties, stolls, scarves etc.



 Indian use all the embroidery stitches known to the rest of the world but the local variation and innovations.

Kasida is the general terms for embroidery. The designs are made in bold colourful strokes with a dark outline. Suzni employs only such stitches as will show uniformity on both sides of the material and is used in superior object like shawls. Kasidakari is very famous in Jammu and Kashmir.

 Jaisalmer has outstandingly beautiful embroidery with almost every variety of stitch. At times even mirrors are slipped in to get unusual effects. Appliqué is done decoratively by working out geometrical patterns from square-shaped coloured textile pieces in which dark earthy colours are used. This is especially done on quilts called rallies.

 The Punjab pulkari  is of a spectacular nature. The word means flowering and it creates a flowery surface. The best work of Phulkari is found in Gurgaon, Karnal, Hissar, Rohtak and around Delhi.

 The kantha embroidery of West Bengal has for its base discarded saris piled on top of one another and quilted. The thread for the stitches is drawn from the old sari borders. The design is first traced, then covered over with running stitches, Kantar, one way say, has limitless designs, for every woman who work on it can make almost any innovations that she fancies. But some traditional designs motif like a lotus start from the center and is worked round in a circular shape.

 The chicken work of Lucknow, Utter Prudish is delicate and subtle embroidery done in white thread in an elite ground. This is introduced by Nur Jehan and may have been inspired by or based on some Turkish embroidery.


Metal –wire Embroidery

 Embroidery done in metal wires by kalabarru or zari as it is popularly called is in class by itself. Surat in Gujarat and Varanasi in Utter Prudish are the most important zari centers.

 Kasab can mean real silver thread and real gold plated or imitation with copper base and gilded with silver or golden colour by suitable chemicals to make the product less expensive.

 Zardozi is the heavier and more elaborate work used in covering all sorts like heavy coats, cushions, curtains, animal trappings, canopies, shoes and the kind. The ground material for this is in heavy silk, velvet or satin. In this salma-sitara, gijai, badla, katori, seed pearls etc., are used.

 Bead Embroidery

 Bead embroidery on textiles is done to embellish the fabric in a few regions. Unlike in Gujarat state, where the bead embroidery shows only beads, as the beads become the fabric. Jangaon  in Andhra Prudish is best known for this type of work. The blouse pieces usually have all-over design long flowing lines, floral designs along with geometrical patterns.


 Pile carpets ere probably introduced into India from Iran. During the Mughal period, this craft flourished in Agra, Delhi and Lahore. Kashmir developed its carpet industry in the 15th century A.D. here carpet making closely follows the shawl-weaving tradition with designs based on Persian and Central Asia style.

The Important centers of carpet weaving in India are Srinagar in Kashmir, Jaipur in Rajasthan, Amrita in Punjab, Mirzapur and Agra in Utter Prudish and Warangal and Ellura in Andhra Prudish. Jaipur, Mirzapur and Bhadoi produce quality carpets, which vary 80 knots to 120 knots per square inch. In Andhra Prudish, geometrical-patterned carpets of quality of around 30 to 60 knots per inch are mostly meant for export.

 Panipat and Palanpur are two comers to the carpet world. Panipat usually makes plain ones, only a few are patterned. In Palanpur, the designs are based on those of Kashmir and the same talim system is also in vogue.

 The entire Himalayan belt from the west to north-east region produces a wide range of carpets, each distinctive in its own way. Pangi in Chmba district of Himachal Prudish produces a goat hair carpet called thobi.





The metal ware in India may be roughly divided into the religious images, ritualistic items and object of utility. The metals used are brass, copper and bell metal. While brass is an alloy of copper and zinc, bell metal is a mixture of copper and tin. From the limited domestic field, this metal ware soon spread out in various directions, especially into the prestigious ritualistic field. In fact the range in metal ware seems unlimited.


Tamil Nadu is one of the famous bronze producing regions, Stylistically the images made conform to periods like Pallava, Chola, Pandyan and Nayaka. The artisans are known as stapathis, literally icon makers. They consider themselves rather special as Brahma originally created the vishwakarma community, to fulfill human needs. In gratitude, the artisan made an image of his benefactor to worship him. So he beamed stapathi and therefore regards himself on a more elevated level.


Stapathis work in several places: Madura, Kraikudi, Sriviliputtur in Ramanathapuram district, Swamimalai in Thanjavur, chidambaram in north Arcot and several other places. Of these Swamimimalai is best known as it is almost wholly engaged in image making, in stone and bronze both.


The stapathis specialize in a number of dancing figures in many of the recognized dance poses. The murli pose, where a dancer is shown on an oval pedestal the head slanting to the right, with the hip twisted to the right while the body stays perpendicular, and the hands are shown playing on a flute.


Kerala is also noted for its statuary, chief centers being Tiruvantipuram, Payyanur in Cannanore district, Angadipuram in Palghat district. The Kerala temples are standing monuments to the excellence of the craftsmanship. Some fine work in images is also to be seen in quaint rafter shoes peculiar to Kerala, which consists of a bronze image used as an ornamental cover fitted to the outer end of a rafter for protection from fire. Krishna in the Tiruvantipuram Museum, a chaste figure with no ornamentation, only a single necklace. The left hand suggestive of restion on a cow but without animal is typical example. Kerala makes a different version of Shiva’s tandava dance, known as gaja tandava in which Shiva is crushing the demon in an elephant form.


Durga is the favourite image in Bengal with variations in décor. Particularly popular are just heads of the goddess, highly decorated and topped by a crown. They all have the fish shaped elongated eyes.


Lamps, no other country has such imagery and symbolism built around lamps as India. As, the light is a symbol of the fire God. Agni, lamps have always been deemed auspicious. The waving lights are made in different patterns usually with a handle shaped wither as a cobra, a fish or a swan. There are many kind of lamps, little ones to light small roms and for quiet personal worship, large pedestal one to light a spacious hall.  The stambha – pillar lamp – in a temple has a number of circular recesses made on a tall central stem heavily carved, bigger ones at the lower end, getting smaller as they go up to give it a conical shape.  The hanging lamps have highly ornamented chains attached for hanging. Deepshastra is an elaborate science built up around lamps used for various rituals.


Uttar Prudish is the largest brass and copper making region in India with thousand of establishments. The range too so naturally very wide. In domestic ware each locale has its own special design. Then there are the ritual articales, which are quite speciality in of U.P. largely in copper like tamrapatra, pot for storing water, panch patra for holding all articles needed for worship; sihhasan, a seat for the deity; kanchanthal, plate for offering flowers and sweets; and a host of such things, Some centers also cast icons, particularly Varanasi. A little village called Srinagar makes very beautiful traditional images with prominent cinch shell eyes.


Beautiful metal ware articles are made in several parts of Gujarat, the best known being Jamnagar, Wadhwan, Visnagar and Sihor. Visnagar in fact was once a hallmark of quality. Sihor has continued to progress because of the local availability of raw materials.


Assam has its own special shapes and patterns in metal ware; Guwahati and Sarbari being important centers. A shallow bowl on a stand with a dome-like cover is atypical item in both brass and bell metal called horahi, used in rituals. It has delicate motifs on the sides, some time on the cover.




The attractive contrasts in colour and texture of metals has been the basis for the evolution of many decorative techniques such as inlay, overlay, appliqué fusing of various colours, etc.


The work done in Jaipur, Moradabad, Delhi can be taken as representative of art metal. Ornamentation may be divided into hammered, chased, perforated, pierced and repousse.


Repousse (embossing) work, which is one of the specialties of Varanasi and Jaipur, is done by raising the design in relief. The design is first traced out on the face of the article by hammering the outline in dots. The articles is then inverted and placed in warm bed of sealing wax, resin, mustard oil and brick dust which when cooled and hardened acts as a cushion to protect it while the repousse work in progress.


Chasing is the art of engraving of a design on the surface of the metal with blunt chisel. In the chasing process the chisel under the light blows of a hammer only leaves an imprint on the surface of the metal. Decoration is done by punching engraving, etching, etc.


Moradabad in Uttar Prudish has become synonymous with art metal ware. It is specially noted for its coloured enamelling and intricate engravings in niello. Moradabad makes decoration in golden colour against a back ground made white by tin polishing.


Bidri is also type of damascening. The original home of bidri ware is Bidar in Karnataka state, but many craftsmen from Bidar are however carrying on the craft in Hyderabad, Andhra Prudish.  Here however metal plate of an alloy of zinc, copper, tin, lead is used but zinc in bulk forms the base. The design is drawn with a free hand on the surface, and then engraved with a sharp chisel in varying depths as demanded by the design. Then the silver wire or pieces of sheet are embedded on the chased patterns by hammering. Where large decorative items with highly intricate and broad patterns are concerned, the outline of the design is introduced at the time of the casting itself.


There is tarkashi, inlay of wire; tainishan, inlay of sheet; zarnishan, low relief; zarbuland, high relief and aftabi cut-out designs on overlaid metal sheet, More than one style may be used in the same article.


Hukka bases of various shapes are also pride of Kashmir crafts. High quality silver wares in Kashmir are hukkas with deep cut ornamentation with motifs like the lotus, chenar, trailing creepers.


Rajasthan has outstanding work in silver. Several of the items made in other regions are also made here like spice boxes, rose water sprinklers known as gulabposh, caskets. Hukkas, all of which are ornamented with spirited figures of birds and animals and elaborate ones of dance posed, hunting scenes in the midst of foliage. Some object like eating plates, tumblers, water pots are left plain to show to perfection the chaste elegance of their lines. There are silver furniture pieces, especially legs for beds and dewans, swings with silver chains whose links are sculptured pieces or dainty birds. A beautiful item is the brazier, embossed or pierced with fine chiseled shapes.


Kutch is outstanding in silver work, both for its superior designs and for its workmanship of deep carving. Moulded into the desired shape. This style is famous as kutchikam.


Tarbha in Bolangir district of Orissa is noted for its very lovely silver ware. A perfectly shaped and heavily decorated plate for offering betel leaves and nuts has its inner space divided into several parallel running circular rings, each carved out most artistically. While the outer rings contains shapes of flowerbeds, creeper, fruits, butterfly sucking honey from flowers.


Chandanban serves both as a jug and a sprinkler. It is in two parts, its long neck screwed on to the mouth of the jug, and at the lip of the beck is a perforated snout for sprinkling. Sandalwood paste mixed with rose water is kept in the jug, which, can be rubbed on the skin to cool and kept it free from irritation. When the stem is screwed on it serves as a sprinkler.  The perfume container is even more sophisticated. In the center of a highly ornamented plate is the beautifully carved image of a peacock with all the grandeur of its feathers, and a small hole on its back with a fancy cover for it. 
































Jewellery in India is on a magnitude that has perhaps few parallels. It seems that fir every part of the human body a special ornament has to be provided. But the significance of Indian jewellery lays outside if its amplitude, in variety and aesthetics. A special jewellery item is connected with every sanskara. The ornamentation starts with the piercing of the earlobes of the child to put in an ornament, is the earliest ritual, followed by winding  a this gold or silver wire around the waist, a string of beads around the neck slipping on  ring, then a necklace so on throughout the growing years.


Indian jewellery may be roughly divided into two kinds the heavy solid silver ornaments worn in the rural area by all classes of people; and delicate highly  sophisticated pieces that adorn the  urban women.


Folk jewellery indicates the earliest shapes and is often of the first ornaments people adorned themselves with such as seeds and shells, leaves and flowers, berries and nuts. For instance a bracelet may be made of jasmine buds of silver or brass, strung together; or a necklace or champak buds called champakali, a girdle like kardani worn at the waist in full floral designs.


Himachal Prudish an ornament called chak is worn on the head. It is hemispherical boss with raised work all over in floral patterns carved out in horizontal circles, encases in lines of dots and dashes, the center made convex to form a star. There are half a dozen varieties of chak. Cudamani, a gorgeous head ornament in the shap of a full blown lotus worn at the parting of the hair, also has many variations.


The Laddak women wear a head jewel, called perk, reaching right down to the ankles at the back, closely studded with coral and other stones, the largest ones being at the top. Also worn are box-like oblong pendants and flat triangular leaflets suspended by chains.


Rajasthan famous for all types if jewellery, is especially rich in silver ornaments. Amongst  its hair adirnmentsis morpatta, a chaplet if peacock feathers. It is essential item and consists of a coloured gem set flat in a beautifully ornamental circular medal, with granular or repousse work. Bindi is also very important item in Rajasthan and Gujarat. It has the shape if a crescent or two swans.


In earrings there is far greater variety, There is the common jhumka or karanphul as the old name used to be, literally flower of the ear. The upper part that covers the lobe is a chased cone plaque or enameled or set with stone, which in the hill areas is almost always a turquoise. Its outer edge resembles a stare or an appliquéd with a wire ring with impression of round knobs, from which is suspended a bell with a number of small balls.


The Himalayan region also has its own special ear ornaments. There is a large gold one with two round pearls with a conical turquoise suspended in the center, some of the stone being encrusted with fine trellis work of gold grains and few drops hung from it. Close to the pearls, a little portion of the ring is covered with a thin coiled wire. This ornament is called bragar and is also worn by men, particularly the bridegroom.


There is a variety in the nose ornaments too, but not very large. Bulak is the most prevalent throughout the country. In the South, where whole design are worked out in diamonds or rubies or mixed colour stones. The nath or nathani is popular over a large part of the country. It has large  range of variety. From the thin twisted wire with tinklers in the shape of lauang (clove) to the majestic crescent-shaped jewel set delicately with tiny pearls and stones and one big pearl, which is the pride of the Maharashtrian women.


The foot ornament consists of two types: the toe rings and the anklets. The toe ring known as angustha is not always round at the edges but takes the shape of several straight lines joined together in a circle to form the ring and the edge take hexagonal or octagonal shapes. The toe rings are modeled in the shape of a fish, scorpion, flower or just circles of granules on the surface.


Orissa, which is another region famed for silver ornaments, specializes in anklets. Painri or rua painri and paijan are most universal. Madhya Prudish has a very attractive anklet of clove-shaped beads all cast in one piece called lauang kasauthi. From the Deccan down the popular anklet is toda-shinde shahi toda as it is known. Tamil Nadu has an anklet in the shape of a long bean with inner embossed circle on each ring of the anklet.


The belts are usually stiff broad bands or flattened twisted metal, in silver or gold, encrusted with gems, and embossed with exquisite designs. There us a belt in Maharashtra composed of a series of plaques, chased with flowers in the center as at the border. In the south the belt was long, an essential jewellery piece in the marriage ornaments.


Neck jewellery constitutes an important item; Kinnaur has a neckware called trimani, with three hollow gold beads, whose surface is appliquéd with grain work in artistic designs. Some time corals are also added. All these loose hanging beads chains are called hars or malas all over the country. The dodmala of the hill region is made of big hollow beads with two betel-leaf shape plaques at the two ends. A sting if beads called kanthi. Necklace called ashtmangalka mala with its eight auspicious symbols of tiny fruit and flower motifs; jeevan mala and kasumali are studded with tiny granules of fold, mohan malahas the gadroon melon seed shaped gold beads. Chandrahar (moon garland) is a necklace of number of chain, from five to eleven, made of several star shaped units with a flat round surface in the center. Amongst the sophisticated neck ornaments of Tamil Nadu, a striking one addigai, s made of number of uncut stones mostly rubies, sometimes diamonds or emeralds with deep close setting. The mangamala a long necklace made of number of uncut rubies shaped and set in the form of little mangoes is resplendent piece. All of them have a central hanging pendant, called padakam, and made of various shapes. Tanmani and chandrahar of Maharashtra is famous items in necklace.

The wearing of ornaments on the forearm follows a special pattern. The smallest bangle to fit the wrist is the kada. Two end of the kada usually carved in to fish or elephant or crocodile or parrot design. The bangles are generally thinner and lighter, generally sandwiched between two heavy ones like kada and chuda. The last item towards the elbow is the patli, a flat bangle with a suggestion of delicate granular design. There is a very beautiful bangle covered with little mounds of gold wire done in a kind of filigree, usually worn next to the flat patli.

In Himachal Prudish the silver kangan is thinner and plainer in the middle but widen towards the two ends, which are engraved unto heads of crocodiles, tigers, elephants and so on like the kadas.


While Jaipur is the most famous for chaste enamellings, Varanasi is noted for lovely glowing pink done in a different technique. The base is covered with enamel on which the design is done but in different shade. When it is fired the mingling of the colours produce a wonderful effect. The special pink is dominant. Gold admits more colours than other metals, and as in kundan, purity of the gold is needed. Pratapgarh in Rajasthan has a  special type of quassi-enamelling in which an extremely fine type of work in gold is very daintily done on green enamel, which forms the base.

Filigree is another attractive type of work used in jewellery making. Among the important centers are Cuttak in Orissa and KarimNagar in Andhra Prudish.


Lac Ornaments


The lac is used in the form of sticks in two ways. One as raw material for turning out various articles largely ornaments like bracelets, beads and little trinkets; other is for colouring objects. The bangle called ruli made from lac dust, the waste left over, has a flat surface, and has the largest demand. Lac work is done in a number of places like Burdwan division, part of Chota Nagpur, and Purulia in Manbhum district. There is big market near Char Minar, Hyderabad for lac bangles the area is noted as Lad bazaar or Chudi bazaar.


Dohad in the Panch mahals district of Gujarat is an important center for lac bangles. In Assam a Composition of clay and lacquer from the body of the bangles, and the decoration is made of pure lac, coloured and laid on in narrow strips of red, yellow or blue, which look very colourful. Madhya Prudish also makes lac jewellery, the best known being in Rewa and Indore, where the ornaments such as chokers, earrings, rings hair ornaments, beads mala made in traditional way.







Ivory is a dental substance, placed by chemists between bone and horn. In India the craft has confined itself only to the tusks of elephants.


In India ivory seems to have been used for a number of purposes from sacred images to dies. There is record of even an ivory worker’s guild in Vidisha in M.P.  Karnataka and Kerla went in for large works in ivory  like palace doors, thrones, palanquins, chariots etc.


Kerla has a tradition of a beautiful form of painting on ivory. The area to be painted on is perfectly smoothened by sandpaper, and the outline of the proposed picture is sketched on it in pencil. This is then pierced by needle, and water colour is applied on the surface with a pointed brush, so that the colour penetrates the little holes. The Tiruvantipuram museum has a painting of Umamaheshwar seated on a bull with minor figures around which is a perfect example of this exquisite art.


Delhi is one of the main centers of ivory carving. Popular items are chess sets, billiard balls, mathematical scales and small articles like scent bottles, compact cases, paper knives, salt-peeper sellers, book marks, trinket or pan boxes, and a number of jewellery items; like beads. Bead necklaces. Ear tops, broaches, bangles, rings, pendants in numerous shapes.


Rajasthan, particularly Jaipur, has been famed for its ivory. It manufactures a surprising number of diverse objects. As a precious and rare material it was patronised by the royalty and the nobility and the craftsmen naturally sought to turn out all types of beautiful articles like gorgeous handles for weapons like swords, daggers, howdahs for riding on the elephant, palanquins, thrones, couches, divans, large sized flaps made of thin strands cut out of large pieces to get the proper length, which is quite remarkable feat. Now the usual items are salvers, tumblers, jewellery, hukka bases and some fancy decorative pieces- toys carved in the shape  of animals, birds, fishes, A unique item here is bartana shaped like a paper knife to pass between the forehead and the turban to each tension. The most superb however, are the fan with handles of charming figures and the mat wrought by weaving very fine strands and delicately chiseled flowers for décor.


Mahuva, in Bhavnagar district of Gujarat has long been a center for ivory. They can make human figures as also statues of deities in excellent quality, elegant rose-water sprinklers, decorated elephants and camels and other smaller items.


Amristar in Punjab, Lucknow in Uttar Prudish almost the same flavor as Delhi in ivory work.


Ivory is also used in architectural decoration. The wooden doors of the old Bikaner palace are ornamented  with ivory embossed work, looking though it was appliquéd. Very pleasing is the veneer work on the doors of the Ambar palace in Jaipur and the exquisite inlay in the Mysore palace doors and the Golden Temple at Amrita.


Most baffling is the miniature carving like a baby Krishna or a gorgeously caparisoned elephant cut out of a tiny piece of ivory.  The Chatrapati Raja Shivaji Vastu Sangrahalya (The Prince of Wales Museum) of Mumbai has a few exquisite samples of these.




India, knows that the grass mat was used when sitting down to pray, meditate or offer worship. It was obviously considered clean for religious purpose. Bamboo, cane, reeds, and palm leaves are used as raw material for basketry and mats. Though there are differences in the preparation of these products, basically they are wrought by the interlacing of two or more strands if the material in different easy. These are essentially rural crafts intimately connected with the everyday life of the people devised to meet their common needs.


Coiled basketry is obviously the earliest form of production, and in fact has an affinity with weaving.


In Bengal this fixing of the coils is done with bamboo splints and there is quite a wide variety in the coiled articles, ranging from rough storage jars to very elegant jewellery boxes. Plaited, basketry is made by crossing two or more sets of warps and wefts. Border weaving in basketry is quite intriguing and differs with each style the usual ones being the three strand warp border, simple wrapped border, and fastened twine. Some time the borders are fixed to the basket with long cane strips. In decoration, simple lines, bends or spirally raising ridges, create the most striking effect.


Assam, being very rich in these raw materials and the people sensitive to aesthetics, has a large variety of beautiful products. The sieves and the winnowing fans are so exquisitely done as to make them works of art.


There are large varieties of baskets, all functional with special form and design fir each purpose. Korahi for instance use for washing rice and fish, rearing silk worms, winnowing grain and fishing. Jaki is a species of  wicker work shovel, which can either be dragged along or placed on the water bed to catch small fish. Japis is the type of basket use by the tea garden worker. Nalbari and villages around are famous or basket making.


Apart from making baskets cane and bamboo are also turned into furniture items. Comparatively a more modern innovation. Tripura state is famous for its bamboo work. Its specialty is screens made from split bamboo so finely worked that they acquire an ivory look. These are delicately ornamented with coloured bamboo chips appliqué.


The best known places for basketry and mats in Assam are Kamrup, Sibagar, Nowgong, Cachar district in noted for the very special sitalpati mats.


Satalpati, which means cool spread, is the most appropriate title for this lovely mat so expressive of its quality, made from green can slips. As it is, use to sleep on, for cool in summer night.


Bengal has also a rich variety in baskets. There is the famous Lakshmi basket, which is double walled: can inside and bamboo twill work outside. This is generally covered with a red cloth on which are seven decorations like floral designs worked out of small shells.


Orissa has some out standing items, like articles made from golden grass. It is stem of the khuskhus plant, which is shinning golden colour. Very delicate looking boxes of various sizes are also made from it is sets, one inside the other.


The willow baskets of Kashmir are popular item for carrying picnic items, which have double lids over two compartments and handle in the center.  


Manipur has very unusual type of baskets. They are all purpose ones.


Mat weaving is an important traditional handicraft of Pondicherry and Kerla. The material used is the kora grass; cotton or aloe thread is used in the weave as aloe grows plentifully around, from whose leaves the thread is extracted. The kurava, community are the hereditary weavers. This grass is grows in marshy lands. In the traditional mats the colours are red, black and green.


Cane sticks when twisted together can be used as a cables or cordage in country crafts. The most useful and elegant items made out of cane are furniture pieces. After drying, the rods are cleaned and heated over a fire to make them pliable. While cane rods go to make legs and supports, for actual interlacing cane splints are used. Cane furniture is durable as also decorative. Low seats called mooras are made of bamboo and can, the top being woven in artistic designs. They are a major item of export and made all over the country.


Tapper mats are made on large scale in Palaman district in Bihar. Tapper is rather like jute, taken out of the sun hemp plant.


Coir mats and other useful and decorative article are made in kerla. Coir is extract from coconut’s outer cover.  











Vishakhapatnam in Andhra Prudish, Honavar and Belgaum in Karnataka, Tiruvantipuram in Kerla, Cuttak and Parlakimedi in Orissa, Sarai Taran in Uttar pradesh are some of the well known centers for horn work. Horn is the raw material available almost everywhere. The horn though hard softens to become pliable when heated and oiled. The most common item is the comb, which is made in a wide range. Some combs are traditional, double sided with gentle carvings on them, others more decorative with ivory or mother of pearl inlay. Small sized ornamental pins and combs are worn in the hair, and for hair decoration copies of jewels, flowers, etc., are made of horn. The next big item is play items like small animals and birds, toy furniture, also little items of everyday use like buttons, trys, cigarette cases, little boxes, ashtrays, pen stands, lamp etc,


Though the main items remain the same, variations can be observed in the designs. Orissa for instance makes stylized birds and animals, which seem so alive: cranes for instance, look as though if they opened their beaks, they could twitter. The tiger seems just about to jump on you. In Orissa little touches of silver filigree are added to the horn article to give it an unusual look, also to items like bangles perfume jars. 


In Savantwadi, Sindhudurga district in Maharashtra, horn was turned into a water carrier to be used for an unusual purpose, pouring water over the deity of worship.


The bison’s horn is in good demand because of its big size. From this are made lotuses, caskets for keeping small images, little lamps, cups tiny trays, and traditional decorative items.

Shola is herbaceous plant growing wild in marshy waterlogged areas. Bengal and Assam have large supplies of this. The shoal pith has been commendably utilized in Bengal as art decorations. The artisans, who transform the soft, light and lustrous inner portions of this plant, are known as malakars. Flowers of a large variety are made from shola. Their most masterly work is decorating the big deities at festivals, like Durga Puja and Dashera celebrations.


Tiruchirapalli in Tamil Nadu is famous for structural in pith. The craftsmen here make remarkable models of temple including the local Rock temple, one of the sights of the town, and different famous monuments  of India. Here again the delicate precision of work, attention to details, is remarkable.


The sandalwood belt, which stretches from Shimoga district to the edge of the North Karnataka, covering Sirsi, Siddhapur, Kumta, Honavar has a concentration of wood carvers known as gudigars. Their women-folk show equal skill, imagination and taste in making pith flowers, garlands, and wreaths for the hair as also coronets for the marriage and for the harvest dance.




The tortoise shell at the moment has a very limited use; Vishakhapatanam in Andhra Pradesh  is a prominent center where the tortoise shell is freely used for making trinket boxes. But it is used along with ivory. The design consists of fine geometrical patterns or epic figures, or animals fringed by floral edging. The supply of tortoise shell is limited because of government banned.


The coconut shell, which enclosed the kernel and a very beautiful and hardy object, seems to have simply offered itself to man to make what he could of it. Originally it must have been used as a cup. For very soon a variety of coconut articles began to be made, like bowls, vases, rose water sprinklers, teapots and so on. Gradually hookah was evolved out of it for which foreign market was found. Then followed the  lamp stand encased in brass. The smaller articles are made in Tirumantipuram, Neyyatinkara, Attingal in Kerla and Goa But the larger items are produced in Kozikode district in Kerla ,West Bengal state produces the most decorative measuring bowls by hollowing the coconut tree trunk and cutting them to the various standard measures, then affixing to the outer surface with metal pieces.


Conch in India has from time immemorial had a religious and social significance. It is one of the prerequisites in religious performances and the blowing of the conch has been regarded as auspicious at religious as well as social functions. Conch ornaments in the old days were greatly prized. There are large workshops all over the country particularly at Bengal for the production of conch bangles. The shell bangles are symbolise marriage.


Bengal one may say is the home of the Shankh (conch) the community that does shell work is known as sankhari. Plain white bangles being very cheap form the bulk production. Women in three varieties generally make coloured bangles: Sonamukhi, golden faced, is gaily painted in yellow, green and red. In maya on the plain surface delicate designs are drawn with a bamboo pen and ornamented by embossing with a file. One design jaltarang, consists of waves-like pattern and as the motif is the wave, Matardana has pea like motif engraved on the periphery with  a file. Motidana is a pearl like mark with in a rectangular area engraved on the outer surface. 




India’s largest leather products are in the footwear line. Like pottery it is infinitesimal in shape, composition, pattern and décor. The traditional ones are more original, individualistic and colourful, and largely embroidered or done up in brocade or decorated textile.


A particulars type of thickish shoes, called mojdia are made in Rajasthan. Sewn out of locally cured leather, they are usually ornamented with silk or metal embroidery or beads or designs done in appliqué with thin leather pieces of different colours. They are very popular with the common people. In Jaipur this has been refined to an art and the most fancy and sophisticated footwear is turned out. Jodhpur has good embroidery in virile pattern, in bolder shades and in strange contrasts.


Bikaner and Jisalmer have ornately decorated saddle for horses and camels. A rather unusual  and attractive object is a peculiar type of water bottle called kopi made in Bikaner from camel hide in different designs. Many new items have now entered the leather field, which include current utility articles. The ladies footwear still leads, the plain ones are in sophisticated designs, the others in leather painted in varied colours and designs. The designs on them are in batik style with cracks, the bold curves and lines and the traditional motifs. Bengal still leads in this.


Leather work of Kashmir is outstanding for like all Kashmir handiwork it is very ornamental, some of the finest embroidery goes into the decoration of leather items amongst which hand  bags are the most outstanding.


Leather garments, though not new, have of late come into vogue – India makes several types of leather garments. As their use in the country is very limited, they are largely exported.


Leather’s richly ornamented water and oil bottle as well as hukka bowls once made by first moistening leather then stretching it over a clay mould. The bottles were then painted and decorated. They were smoked to harden them and then polished until they shone.


In Hoshiarpur in Punjab appliqué is done with coloured leather pieces particularly on lack leather. Raichur in Karnataka has been noted for leather with metallic gold or silver finish. Chanda in Madhya Prudish was once famed for red leather embroidered with gold, interspersed with coloured silk.


In bookbinding leather work reached high quality. Alwar in Rajasthan once attained great fame in this art. Here designs were painted on the leather, having been first outlined with a brass block. The covers had pretty borders either in various shades or a golden coloured base.


Fascinating articles are made out of crocodile and snake skin such as wallets, pouches, powder cases, handbags, especially a wide range in belts. Kanpur, Agra in Utter Prudish is famous for it.














Archaeological discoveries in India reveled the existence of glass in very ancient times. Glass pieces and crucibles in which glass was made near Basti in Uttar Prudish, dated as over 2000 year old. Beads, tiles, conical flasks have been unearthed. This glass is said to resemble the Assyrian glass of the same period.


Glass is one of the most beautiful materials contrived by man. It did not take the Moghals long to sense appreciatively the decorative properties of glass, since it has the quality of opalescence and glitter of a myriad diamond when cut. When you hold up a glass it can take a fanciful form and shimmer with scintillating colours. Thus glass articles like bowls, tumblers and above all bottles for precious stuff like Indian scents (attars), the highly concentrated essence of Indian perfume become popular.


Engraving on glass also reached heights. Crystal was the earliest substance on which engraving had started as proved by the items found in old Buddhist stupas.


The engraving of the Moghal period naturally reflect the delicate foliated decorations of the period. Glass is said to have been exported to Europe at this time, up to about the 16th century. There us even surmise that the Venetians may have drawn their early inspiration from the Indian glass.


Ferozabad, in Uttar Prudish only, is a glass town, where the entire community seems involved in making glassware. Originally only bangles were made, but now all manner of sophisticated glassware, including tasteful tableware, is produced. Varanasi specialized in glass beads, and now with very modern methods wider ranges of ever new one are made, many of which are exported. It also makes a very thin glass out of which little pieces called tikuli are cut out, to be worn by women on the forehead as an ornament or for decorating of fabrics, costumes, etc. Saharanpur makes intriguing toys full of coloured liquid called panchkora, as also glass mouth pieces for hukkas.


Glass objects are now decorated in the tikuli technique. Traditional pictures like those modes on the walls of houses, highly decorative and attractive, are made on glass with gold or silver pieces to fill up the entire picture. A number of utility articles are made in this style such as wall decoration, boxes, trays, table tops, mats etc. This is highly specialized work involving several skilled processes.   This work is fond in North Bihar.


The south, particularly the Tanjore area in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, have an equally resplendent method of ornamentation but on paintings. This may perhaps be the folk version of the classic style of embellishing paintings with gold leaf and gems. Generated by a more earthy inspiration, this is closer to the folk style, and has therefore a vitality all such spontaneous expression has. Here the images, though basically traditional, show wider influences and the later ones have even an air of theatricality about them as though the sense were set on a current stage. The colours are filled  in later. The picture is then mounted.


The Shish (merrier) Mehal at many places are famous. The Shish Mehal at Ambar fort in Jaipur is very notable. Shish Mahel in Agra fort is also spectaculars.        




12. PAPIER MACHE        



Papier Mache is locally known as kari kamandari. In the Moghal  times its silken surface was found as an ideal ground for miniature painting, as also for preparing important sate documents. Papier Mache in Kashmir is never fully pulped unlike in other countries like France and Germany. It is softened by water and the desired thickness obtained by pasting on the mould layer over layer. The object under preparation is kept covered in a wet cotton cloth and while in a moist state covered with a thin layer of plaster of Paris mixed with glue, then smoothened and burnished to a fine finish with a wet stone, after which the ground colour, zamin as it is called, is applied.


The ground may be in colour or gold or tin foil; it is burnished with a piece of agate after drying, then lightly rubbed first with a little amber varnish, then fine verdigris powder to lend a subtle greenish tint to the metallic background, or with a lac preparation where a red tint is needed. On coloured grounds black, blue, rose, green violet, brown, almond and dark olive are generally used.


The drying off has to be natural, and only then is the design drawn and painted in water colour. The final varnishing is done with very pure and transparent glaze of copal dissolved in turpentine.


A large variety of utility articles become fabulous looking art pieces after passing through the hands of the ingenious Kashmiri craftsmen. Some items like bowls and vases are brass lined to widen the scope of their utility. There is Persian designs as also the decorations: flowers and birds of all varieties including the heart shaped Kashmiri chinar leaf, the iris, rose, tulip, hyacinth etc. In special orders gold and silver leaves are also used on large articles; figure like house boat, inseparable from a Kashmir scene, are depicted. Landscaping is also done on wall plaques, trays, large bowls screens, writing seats etc. Papier mache in Kashmir has attained an outstanding quality.


The Yarkand design is the most elaborate, built up in spirals with gold rosettes radiating from various centes. It is further embellished by laying white flowers over gold scroll work, making of it really rich ensembles.


Gwalior in Madhya Prudish has a papier mache center but largely for toys. Ujjain in the same state makes popular figures of deities besides toys. Jaipur has achieved   some distinction, both in design and quality, but concentrates largely on small items like toys; birds being a speciality are exquisitely made.
























Rock paintings in caves are the earliest specimens we have of folk-art as conventionally understood.


Floor painting


The Chola rulers in the south made extensive kilam, floor designs. These decorations done only by women are amongst the most expressive of folk-arts. They are known by different name in different part of country, alpana in Bengal and Assam, aripana in Bihar, mandna in Rajasthan, rangoli in Gujarat and Maharashtra, choekurana in Uttar Prudish except the kumaon region and kolam in the south. Decorating the floor is still a daily routine, where its observance is accepted as good omen, the entrance to the house are appropriately decorated, the patterns being changed day to day. Beauty being equated with godliness. It was also symbol of good omen and had therefore to be associated with every phase of life.


While simple designs can make do for ordinary days, large sized elaborate ones are prepared on all ceremonial occasions. Rice paste, wheat flour, earth and vegetable dyes are used for colours, normally had itself serves, the tips, fist, palm are brought into play.


The designs are symbolic and basically common to the whole country, like geometrical patterns, with lines, dots, squares, circles, triangles; then the swastik, lotus, trident fish, conch shell, footprint, supposed to be of Goddess Lakshmi, creepers, leaves, trees, flowers, animals and anthropomorphic figures. These motifs however get modified to fit in with the local images and rhythms. One important point is that entire graph must be an unbroken line, no gaps to be left anywhere in the line for an evil spirit to enter.


The chowki (seat) of Lakshmi, goddess of wealth and good fortune, is made at Diwali. It consists of two interlaced triangles signifying also the deity of learing, the Goddess Saraswati. Encircling this is a twenty four petal lotus flower border, the outer circle being decorated with Lakshmi’s foot prints.


Some of the best known decorations are found in Madhubani, a village of Darbhanga district in north Bihar.  The women draw on the ground dhuli chitra, dust painting as they re known made with rice paste. Laskhmi’s foot print drawn at the door, the toes pointing in to indicate her entrance; the lotus in bloom with numerous petals, and the symbol of the life of purposefulness and force in the center,


Rajasthan has very decorative motifs in dark shades like blue, black chocolate, green on a bright crimson red ground. Single or interwoven squares are for ceremonies while circles and polygons are for festivals.


The alpanas if Bengal and Assam are highly decorative and complicated  pattern mainly in flowing lines, floral, winding spirals, zigzag lines or  crinklet leaves, the symbol of unfolding, discs, wavy lines in circles. Etc., and filled with coloured powder or colour rice and bits of leaves and different kind of flowers. The back ground is black or yellow or red.


The Madhya Prudish mandana is equally rich. There is special one  made at the entrance to the house, on a new moon night.


The kolam of the south is different. The drawings are essentially sketches, only the outline done in dots with lines drawn across them in chalk powder on a wet ground, or with the paste of rice on a dry surface on special occasions. All the Indian zodiacal signs are in use especially moon and sun and stares.


Floor painting in Andhra are known as muggulu. Each day of the week has a set symbol and the design in built around  it: shivpith for Monday. Kalipith for Tuesday, Swastik for Wednesday and so on.


Maharashtra has some designs in floor decoration built up around common motifs like the lotus, swastika etc.






Painting on the wall is a communal act done by all the women of a family or group. These patterns are carefully preserved and care is taken to see each successding generation continue it.


Folk painting in Punjab, outer Delhi and Rajasthan are usually made at festivals and special occasions like marriages. The worship of Sanjhi during Dusserah, become an occasion for making devi figures. The Sanjhi image is made on the wall after it has been neatly plastered with a kind of clay appliqué technique, by fixing a star shaped pieces of clay, which are first painted white, then given touches of orange, blue and yellow.


In eastern Uttar Prudish, Varanasi and around and also in Rajasthan  wildlife figures a good deal in the wall paintings like tiger, elephant, lion spotted dear etc.  The popular Ganghor festival so dear to every Rajasthani hear, when Ishwar and Parvati  are worshiped, has an honoured place in these wall ensembles. The images of Srinathji and Jamnaji his wife are painted on wall even which the famous are of pichwai. The jataka, tales, which have animals as their central characters, are also painted on wall.


In the Kumaon, the usual wall pictures are known as bar –boond (dash and dot). The pattern is done by first putting down a number of dots to males the outline of the design, and then joining them together by lines in different colours. The number of dots used knows each pattern. Kali, Lakshmi and Saraswati are painted as embodiments of the three powers, while Ganesha is there as the remover if obstacles, as also Sun, giver of light and the sixteen matrikas depicted through conical shapes.


The wall painting of Himachal Pradesh are in a class by themselves, though done in the same style of mud plaster and cow dung as relief’s on the wall. The floral, animal, bird and human forms are painted.


In Maharashtra, Wada village of Thane district is very famous for warli painting, the adwasi’s in this region painted their houses with human and animal figure in geometrical forms and they refer the festive mood and daily life scene in their wall paintings.



Other type of folk painting




The Patachitra, as the folk painting of Orissa is called, has a history of great antiquity. The best work is found in and around Puri, especially in the village of Raghurajpur. The painting is done on cloth which the artists prepare themselves by coating it with a mixture of chalk and gum made from tamarind seeds to give the surface a kind of a leathery finish on which the artist paint with earth and stone colours. Apart from the epic stories, there are figures like a dancing girl or mother and child. Very popular figures of Janannath chief deity of Puri with Brother, Balaram and Sister, Subhadra.  Many scenes are however from the life of lord Krishna is painted.


Pottery painting  


A very common article on which folk painting is done is pottery.  As pottery developed ritualistic associations, the designs, whether geometrical or anthropomorphic, painted or incised, began to take on symbolic meaning and magical purposes. Therefore, sometimes when a village woman decorates a clay wear, she is serving some ritual besides beautifying the article. For an important occasion, there will be sumptuous elephants surrounded by mangal ghats (sacred vessels), gaily painting with trees, creepers, leaves, flowers animal etc. Kangra pottery with a black or red base may have single design in geometrical patterns. Brushes with a mixture of clay and powder do painting from stone rich in iron oxide, or by incising and cutting a pattern on the raw pottery using comb-like and knife-like tools.


Gujarat and Rajasthan have a wealth of painted and decorated   pottery. The designs are in countless forms. The popular design is a row of deer or swans or elephant or even a tiny cluster of seeds around the concave rim of any bowl.


West Bengal painted pottery is aesthetically rated high and some of it is almost sophisticated. Interesting earthenware, known as sakhera hari, is decorated with a variety of colours after baking the item. In another variety the painting is done on the raw pot with different kind of clay, and the colours then burnt in.


Varanasi in Uttar Prudish and its environments are famous for decorated pots, especially those made in flashy colours for marriages and festivals.


Ganjifa painting


A rather unique item in painting is the pack of playing cards known as Ganjifa. They are round in shape, richly decorated and shaped. The method of making them is intriguing. Pieces of thin cloth are pasted in three layers with a gum from tamarind seeds, and then coated with liquid chalk to give it a white surface. The pieces are then trimmed into a round shape, polished with stone and painted. The backs are coated with lacquer to thicken and stiffen them and make them less susceptible to dust. They are now rarely made.


Orissa was once noted for this work, which calls for infinite patience, particularly the painting that has to be treated like a classic miniature work.


There are various sets in these cards. One is the dashavatar set which shows in the main the ten manifestation of lord Vishnu. Then each avatar is shown in ten different phases. Thus this set has around 120 cards. In the hukmi set which means bidding, mythological scenes and figures are also drawn. The lines are fine and chaste and the colours very pleasing.


The pictorial stylization on the ganjifa differs from region to region as it generally takes on elements from local folk paintings. Sawantwadi in Sidhudurga district in Maharashtra is very famous for this work.






Varanasi, Mysore,Kanchipuram,Assam


West Bengal, Madhya Prudish , T.N.

Papier Mache



Kashmir, irzapur,Bardoi,Warangal,Elura

Pottery & Stone craft

Rajasthan, Agra, Hamirpur,Mathura

Metal Work

Moradabad, Mirzapur


Rajasthan,Hyderabad,Ferozabad, Varanasi



Ikat & Patola

Orissa, Gujarat

Shawls & Scarves

Kashmir, Himachal Prudish, Uttraranchal




Agra, Jaipur, Udaipur


Udaipir, Delhi,Varanasi,Chennai,Jodhpur



Miniature painting

Udaipur, Himachal Prudish

Chiken work


Leather Goods

Chennai, Kolkata,Pondicherry,Kanpur

























1.     Indian Classical Dances


2.     Indian Folk Dances


3.     Indian Music































There is sculptural evidence from all parts of India that underlines the rich tradition of dance that flourished over a thousand year ago. Through this evidence, we see that in ancient India dance and music were not only seen as ways to celebrate, but also as offerings of worships and thanksgiving to the deity. Over the course of time, the dance forms practiced in different parts of the country were codified and developed distinct identities according to the geographic, socio-economic and political condition of each region. All dance forms were structured around the nine ‘Rasa’ or emotions. Hasya(happiness),  Shoka(sorrow), Krodha(anger) Karuna(compassion), Bhibatsa(disgust), Adhbhuta(wonder), Bhaya(fear), Viram(courage) and Shanta(serenity). 


According the Hindu mythology lord Shiva is treated as the source of cosmic harmony and rhythm.


There are different steps in dance. There are 108 karanas associated with dance. Bhart Natyam, Kathak, Kathakai, Odissi, Kuchipudi, Manipuri, Mohini attam etc, are some important classical dance performance in India.











This is one of the oldest and most popular forms of dance in India. Bharatha  stands for Bhavana, which is mood. Raga is music and Tala is rhythm, while Natyam stand for Nritya. Movement, mime and music are given equal importance in the dance. The costumes used in a performance are elaborate. The dancer’s dress consists of colourful silk costumes, head-wear ornaments, necklace and bangles, flowers are wound around a long plait.


This is an ancient dance art practiced in south India, particularly in Tamilnadu, Tanjore and Chennai are treated as the active centers. The renowned and popular Hindu temples of Tamilnadu contain a lot of dance sculptures. They not only exhibit the glory of the temple but also add up the beauty or form and design. The dance performances are executed with the assistance of Nattuvars. Silappediakarm on the tamil epics of the second century A.D. contains details about various dances. 


The dance commences with nritta or pure dance by giving stress to timing and rhythm, Tigram, Chatsura, Khands, Misrm and Sankirna or the Jatis, Every one of themcenters around its beat. The player of mridanga maintains the dances and that. The dance is executed in three different speeds. They are slow(vilamba), medium(Madhya) and quick(drut).


The Bharatha Natyam is having different stages of execution.



It is the beginning and the ‘opening of the bud into blossom”. It will commence not with actual music but the singer will recite the rhythmic syllabus. By mridanga, the times will be measured. It is rather an introduction of the next stage of the dance called Jastisvam.



It is the contribution of time measures(jati) and musical notation(svaram). Ragas and svaras will have their own role in it. Excellent and beautiful movements of the neck , arms, gestures, feet etc., will be  carried out in a captivating manner. The stepping and movements will be quite absorbing.



This is the third stage. This is the pure dance movement. It will have a lot of emotional acting. It will be an explanation of a song or sahiyta. Acting, facial expression will find its place. The Bhava, Raga and Tala will be introduced at this stage. This is also an introduction of the stage Varnam.



It means colour, it offers form and shape. It is the most complete art. It contains ‘elaborate dance conception technical brilliance, richness of melody and artificial interpretation” It is composed of emotional acting. It is an emotional interpretation of a song. Natya, Nritta and Nrtya will be executed in full form.



Here the song (Pallavi) will be repeated. The padams will be sung in different forms with the use of the Ragas such as Bhairavi, kalyani etc.



It is the final stage of the dance performance. Unique postures, intricate rhythms and unison between technique and emotional acting will be executed.


The above mentioned six stages are employed conventionally in Bharathanatyam. The performance end with a sort of benedictions in the form of recitation if a short sloka.





This is another classical dance performance popular in North India known as kathakari or a story tallers. These bards, performing in village squares and temple courtyard, mostly specialized in recounting mythological and moral tales from the scriptures and embellished their recitals with hand gestures and facial expressions. It was quintessential theatre, using instrumental and vocal music along with stylized gestures to enliven the stories.


With the advent of the Mughals, Kathak was introduced in the King’s durbar, thus moving this art from devotion to entertainment. The dance has two main techniques, the Nritya (pure dance) and the Abhinaya(expression). The typical kathak costume resembles  Mughal miniature painting and is performed by both men and women. Lucknow, Varanasi and jaipur are recognized as the three school, or gharanas, where this art was refined.


The feet steps in kathak are not assigned as that of the Bharat Natyam. The swift feet rhythms being done for the most part on the flat of foot and toes with very many turns(chakkar) on the toes and flat of foot. The dancer interprets the emotion in his/her own way. The kirtanas, pada, Bhajan, jatis, love lyrics, thumari, dadra, and ghajal  are also employed. The music is soft and plain. Krishna legends are given top priority; Dadra and ghajal emphasize love theme while the legends are depicted in grand manner through Kavitha. 




It is classical dance drama from Kerla. It really means a story play. This performance takes place only during  night after dinner. The scenes from the Indian epics Ramayana and Mahabharatha are taken as the main theme. It is a devotional and sacred art. Mostly men are taken part in kathakali performance. Only young handsome men take up Femine characters. Songs used are in the form of carnatic music. The drums occupy a unique place in this performance, Chenda is the drum used and that is also called tadayam. They dance according to talams. The chief singer is the actual conductor of the show.


The costumes and make up occupy a unique place in kathakaki. His patience is more important for having that make up and maintaining it for hours together. The make is done according to the theme of the performance. They use rice powder mixed with lime and paints. The lips are painted in red. Women character and sages are depicted by yellowish pink. The demos costumes are white and female demons use black colour.




Kuchipudi developed in the state of Andhra Prudish in southern India in a village called Kuchelapuram. According to tradition, only Brahmin men originally performed Kuchipudi.


Kuchipudi performance is dance dramas, commonly referred as Ata Bhagavatham. The technique of Kuchipudi makes use of fast movements. Stylished mime, using hand gestures and subtle facial expression, is combined with more realistic acting. Themes are mostly derived from the scriptures and mythological stories and the portrayal  of this dance form. A unique feature of Kuchipudi is the Tarangam, in which the performer dances on the edges of a bras plate, executing complicated rhythmic patterns on the ground, while sometimes also balancing a pot of water on his/her head. Kuchipudi is accompanied by Carnatic music. A typical orchestra for Kuchipudi recital includes the mridangam, flute and violin.




Manipur also is known for its classical dance. It is called Maninpuri Nadana. Imphal, the capital of Manipur is the chief center of this kind of dance. The Manipuri dance centers on legendary and mythical themes. This dance form the land of the gem, associated with Siva and Parvathi, Lai Haroba is one of the famous dance drama of the Manipur. There is another legendary dance in the name Leisem jagoi, Chappa, Konglel and Mairang dances are other popular forms.


The Manipuri dances are known for their beauty and rich content. They are known for their religious sentiments. They are performed with specific rules and strait disciplines. At the time of social ceremonies and religious festivals they are executed. It offers importance to gesture, abhinaya and expression. It stresses the harmonious blending of Bhava, raga, Tala and Natya. Laithak Leika Jagoi, Govendasangeetha, leelaviasa, Sri Krishna  sangeethsmgtraha, Sangeeta Domodhar etc. also are the works on dance.


In Manipuri Rasakas or Group dances are also important. Tal Rasaka, Danda Rasaka, Mandala rasaka are important. In the fist one the dances form the circle and clap their hands, in the second one the performers use short sticks and in the third one also they perform the dance in a circle. 


Six types of Raj Lilas are performed on special occasions. The Maha Raj is a base on a story from Bhagavat purana and it is executed on the full moon day in the month of Karthik. It is having the theme of Krishna and Radha. The Vasantha Raj is a charming performance executed during the full moon day of Chitra. The Kunja raj is carried out on the new moon day of the month Asvin. This group dance is the one having Krishna and Gopikas, The Nithya Raga deals about Krishna and Radha. The Ulukhal rasa have is the last one. This is carried to exhibit the mischief of child Krishna.





Odissi is a traditional dance of the state of Orissa. Originally, this form of dance was performed in temples as a religious offering by the Maharis/Devdasis or temple dancers. The dance tries to capture human emotions of love and passion while keeping the performance soft and lyrical, Odissi is based on the popular devotion to Lord Krishna and verses of the Danskrit play Geet Govind. Which are used to depict love and devotion to god. The dancers wear colourful costumes and traditional silver jewellery. Odissi dance performances involve a balance between pure dance and expressional dance with a combination of dancing.





This is semi-classical dance from Kerala. It is essential a solo dance, performed only by women. In fact, the word Mohini means maidens who steal the heart of the onlooker.


Mohiniattam performances depict love and devotion to God. The hero of most performance is Lord Vishnu or Lord Krishna. The movements are graceful and costume chiefly consists of a white sari and blouse. The vocal music for Mohiniattam is classical Carnatic.









































One of the ways to experience the diversity of India’s culture and tradition is through its folk art. Folk dances have different faces in different regions. These dances are more popular than classical forms of dance in India as they are easier to understand and perform.


The Indian folk dance can be described as simple, but behind its simplicity lies both profundity of conception and a directness of expression that are of great artistic value. In folk dances, the effect of the overwhelming buoyancy of the spirit and the eloquent effortless ease with which the dance is expressed is what stands out.


Almost every village has its own folk dances performed on every possible occasion such as the birth of child to celebrate the arrival of seasons, weddings and festivals. On most occasions, the dancers sing while being accompanied by artists on instruments. Each forms if dance has a specific costume. Most form of these costumes is flamboyant with elaborate jewellery. All night dance dramas are popular throughout India and mark major festivals. The journey into various regions brings one closer to the life and spirit of the common people.













The Dumbal is a dance performed by men on the Wattal tribe of Kashmir. The performers wear long colourful robes and tall conical caps, which are studded with beads and shells. These performers move in procession, carrying a banner in ceremonial fashion. This banner is then dug into the ground and the men begin to dance, forming a circle. The musical accompaniment comprises of a drum and the singing of the participants.




The Rouf’s is a dance, which is performed, to mystical poetry during spring time in Kashmir. The performers divide themselves in to two rows facing each other. The dancers put their arms around the shoulders of the dancers next to them and the resulting formation glides forwards and backwards. Rouf’s is also related to chorus singing called Chakri.



Lama Dances


Lama Dances are festival mask of the monasteries of Jammu and Kashmir, Sikkim, Himachal Prudish and other regions along the Himalayan belt. Slow movements, open position and large circular whirls characterize the dances. The mask dancers represent divine, human and animal life as well as martial act techniques. Each Lama dance is distinct and yet amazingly similar in respect of movement pattern. 

Pangi Dances


These dances in the state of Himachal Prudish usually begin with a single file entry of men and women separately. The two rows then form half concentric circles and move clockwise. The two rows forming one large circle and moving clockwise and the women moving anti-clockwise then follow this. The initial holding of hands become a pattern with interlocking arms at the waist level, forming attractive designs.



Losar Shona Chuksam


This dance of the Kinnaur district in Himachal Prudish is a functional dance with passages on mime and other sequences, which are purely abstract. Slow movements with soft knee dips are the key characteristics of this dance. The dance is held during the months of April-May in which the dancers recreate movements of sowing and reaping ogle(barley) and phaphar ( a local grain).





Bhangra is the most important dance of Punjab, performed by men. It is a robust dance performed during the Baisakhi  festival. The dance is accompanied by the dholak(druns). The drummer usually takes his place in the center of a circle of people dancing. The movement will be very lively, beating of feet, clapping of their long sticks, the cry Hoi, Hoi etc. are unique features of this dance. They even leap into the air in joy. In the middle  or during short breaks Dholla or Boli the traditional folk songs of Punjab are sung in a rhythmic way.




In Uttar Prudish particularly in Mathura and Brindaban this dance is popular. This group dance centers around the legends of Lord Krishna. This is the best of  the folk performances in this area. The song pertaining to the life of lord Krishna is sung. On the days, associated with Krishna, this dance dances is arranged. Various musical instruments such as drums, flute and cymbals are used. The performers initiate the activities Gopi and radha, the expression are quite charming and appealing.




The dance  is performed  during the Dusehra festival in the Kulu district of Himachal Prudish, bases on human love stories unlike the traditional Raas, the dances is characterized by chain formations and concentric circles,




This is a dance carried out by the women of Punjab at times of festivals. This dance also associated with sowing and reaping of wheat. This dance is accompanied by a melodious music. It is also known for its graceful movements. The women form a circle and conduct this performance. Thus use their wrists and arms. By using Shalwar kamleez they take part  in it.


Dhamyal / Duph


The leading dance of Haryana. Dhamyal is also known as Duph. The duph is a circular drum, playing nimbly by the men dancer; men can perform the dance alone or along with women. The dancer is continuously required to play on the large duph.



The Lahoor is a dance performed by women in Haryana. It is mainly performed during spring time, after the work in the filed is over. The dance is often accompanied by witty questions and retorts rendered in a sing-song manner.




This dance from Uttar Prudish is connected with the death ceremony. Its objective is to liberate the soul of the dead  from evil spirits. Dancers in the Dhurang hold swords and dance in a circle. The movements are virile and reminiscent of the hunting dances of the Nagas on he eastern borders of India.


Mali dance


A dance performed by women to receive the bridegroom’s party on the occasion of a marriage. The dancers are veiled and have flaming brass pots on their head. They squat, recline and jump dexterously with these pots in their heads. The dance ends when the flames of the pots die out. This dance is from the state of Rajasthan.


Tera Tali


This dance from Rajasthan is performed by two or three women, their faces covered with a veil. They have a naked sword between their teeth and balance decorated pots on their heads. The women produce a variety of sounds with the manjira (small cymbals) in their hands as they shift or slide on the ground.





Naga Dance


Each tribe of the naga has its distinct style of performing this dance. The naga lives in Manipur, Tripura, Nagaland, Mizpram, Arunachal Prudish, Meghalaya and Assam. In this dance, the erect torso and the unbent knees always maintain a balance of deportment, which is marked by an austerity and dignity in the earlier phases. The later phase of the dance exhibition an ecstatic vigor. The floor patterns of the naga dances are one of the most complex and intricate amongst the tribes in India. The formations are determined by the social organization for the tribe. For example, a single dancer leads the dance of those who subscribe to the institution of headman and similarly group formations are common to those where a council governs.





This is a dance by the Riangs of Tripura, held to invoke the blessings if the Goddess Hazagiri, for a good harvest. Goddess  Hazagiri is form of Lakshmi. The ceremonies begin with the worship of nine gods and culminate in the worship of the Goddess Hazagiri. The dance begins with women dancing slowly with pots on their heads, joined lated by men. This dance concludes on an ecstatic note in a fast tempo.


Bamboo Dance


The most colourful and distinctive dance of the people of Mizoram is called the Cheraw, Long bamboo staves are used for this dance, which is why it is called Bamboo dance. This dance that requires skill and alert mind. 




The Nongkrem dance of Meghalaya is performed in autumn at Smit, the cultural center of the Khasi Hills. It is performed to commemorate the evolution of the Khasi tribe.




Bihu is the most popular folk dance  of Assam. It is part of the Bihu festival that occurs in mid of April harvesting is completed and continues for a month. The participants are young men and girls who gather in the open and dance together in separate groups of  men and women. Drums and pipes accompany the dance. 




The kings of Manipur used to encourage the martial arts, through which evolved a variety of combat exercise which later evolved into dances. One of the most thrilling of the dances is the Thang-ta, performed by young men with sword and shields. The drum is the chief musical accompaniment in this dance.




The traditional dance of Bihar gets its name from the Karma tree that is supposed to embody fortune and good luck. The ceremony starts with the planting trees. Dancer both men and women, form circle around the tree and dance with their arms around each other’s waists.





One of the most important folk dances of Bengal, it is an in vocational dance performed by the barren women of Bengal who worship in gratitude for their wish being fulfilled. Quite often, this dance is performed after a recovery from a contagious disease.


Hurka Baul


The Hurka Baul from west Bengal is performed during the cultivation of paddy and maze. After preliminary rituals, the dance is performed in different fields. The dance derives its name from Hurka, the drum that constitutes the only musical accompaniment, and baul the song. The singer narrate the story of battle and heroic deeds and the performers enter from two opposite sides and enact the stories in a series of crisp movements.


Ghanta Patua


For the month of Chaitra, the village streets in Orissa reverberate with the sound of Ghanta (brass gong) the Ghanta is played by Ghanta Patuas in accompaniment to their dance on stilts. The dance is closely associated with the  worship of mother goddess who has numerous names including Sarals, Mangala, Bhagvati, Chandi.


One of the Ghanta patuas dresses him as a female with black cloth tied on the head. He places the Ghata decorated with flowers and coloured threads on his head and then performs with the Ghata on his head. He also displays a variety of Yogi postures.








This dance is performed by the Bhils, men and women wearing colourful costumes during Holi perform a large tribe in Madhya Prudish It. This is a lyrical dance and is an occasion when young men and women get to find their partner.




Garba the leading dance of women in Gujarat, is performed in honour of the Goddess Amba. This fertility dance involves perforated earthen pots in which an oil lamp is placed symbolizing embryonic life. The pots are balanced on women’s head as they move around a circle, snapping their fingers and clapping their hands to produce a fast beat. When men dance, by singing and clapping the dane is known as Garbi.




This is the counter part of Garba. The dancer use sticks at the end of which tiny bells are tied. The movement is manipulated in circles and sticks beaten in standing, sitting or lying down postures.


Koli Dance


The fisher community of Maharashtra performs Koli dance. It is performed in many occasions like marriage, coconut day festival when fishing started after rainy season. While performing the dancer wear traditional clothes and sing folk songs.




In the state of Maharashtra, religious devotional dance are called Dindi. The musicians for this dance comprise an Mridangam player and a vocalist who give the dancers the necessary musical background. This dance is usually performed on the Ekadashi day in the month of kartik and Ashadh.




Mando is a semi urban folk form, evolved by the Goan aristocracy. It begins on a slow and  sad note but ends with a faster but called Dulpod. Latter day composition covers a variety of themes and moods distinct from the traditional composition. Some of the other folk dances of Goa are Ghode Modni, Dekhni, and jagar, Suvari etc.
























Dollu Kunitha


The Dollu Kunitha is a popular drum dance of Karnataka. Men carry large drums that are decorated with coloured cloth slung from their necks. They beat the drums as they dance with nimble movements of the feet and legs. The dance is at times accompanied by songs which are either religious or praise victory.




It is most common from of folk dance in Tamil Nadu, dedicated to Mariamman, the Goddess of health and rain. The Karagam dance is essentially performed by men balancing pots filled with uncooked rice, surrounded by a tall conical bamboo frame covered with flowers. The musical accompaniment comprises a drum and a long pipe.




The women folk of Tamil Nadu have three closely related dances, which are seen at their best during festivities. The simplest of these is the Kummi, in which the dancers gather in a circle and  clap their hands as they dance. An extension to this dance is the Kolattam, where instead of clapping, the participants hold small wooden sticks in their hands and strike them in rhythm as they dance.




The Kolam consists of a huge headgear with many projections with a mask for the face and a chest peace to cover the breast and abdomen of the performer. The dancers wearing kolams perform, as singers recite poems accompanied by nthe wild and loud rhythm of the instrumentalists.




This is the folk dance of the Kerala. Thisis carried out at times of harvests in the rural areas. Young women and girls by wearing white colour dress carry out this dance in squares and lines. This dance accompanied by madala drum and cymbals.






























Indian Music assists ‘the fusion between the spirit within us and life outside.” Indian Music us essentially impersonal. It reflects an emotion or wisdom of any single individual. Narada, the saga and the spiritual son of Brahma is treated as the first Musician. Vishnu is accepted as the originator of sovereign song, Narada was also responsible for creating the vina, the oldest stringed instrument of India.


The Indian music has its own contact with Gandharava veda, Aama veda too is associated with music. Panini  has mentioned about musical systems of the fifth century B.C. Sama veda contains details about musical instruments. The  Natyasastra of Bharatha also refers to music.


Indian musical system is based on the ragas and that is a significant aspect of Indian music. Raga means colouring in a psychological sense or emotion. It indicates mood. Music induces and awakens the deep feeling in the human beings. They are capable of introducing changes in nature. It comprises of a specific number of notes falling in line with particular scales. Every raga symbolizes some emotion. It creates an awaking when it is sung in an appropriate form. So it is revealed that every raga is having a particular quality.


The Indians are of the opinion that music induces the elements by their vibrations. They give special importance to the singing of a particular raga at a particular time. The singing of songs in Sri Raga during evening hours will bring peace and solace by avoiding tension. For curing heart and liver diseases the singing of raga Bhairavi is recommended. For achieving the meditative mood after mid night the Raga Darbari has to be sung. Further specification of  for singing raga is also ascertained in the following way.




Jaunpuri, Todi, Dhavavi Sudha Sarangi


Multhani, Polu, Dhinpalas, Mand, Patdeep


Shyan, Kalyan, Hamsadvani, Sankar


Durgha, Kanhara, Darbari, Kamod



The Ragas comprise of tones of svaras. Each and every raga has its own individual melodic pattern. Every raga possesses an inner emotional character, Bhava. They have their own meaning. The swaras or tones are the substance of the raga, the composition of swaras in an order of succession is its structure, and the varna of beauty of musical effect is its explicit form.


There are seven main swaras or tones or notes




The cry of the peacock



The sound made by the cow while calling the calf



The bleat of a goat



The cry of the heron



The cry of the Indian Nightingale



The neighing of the horse



The trumping of the elephant


 Every raga is distinguished by varieties of sentiments called Rasa. Srinagara(love), Hasya(happiness), Karuna(tendrness),

Vira(heroism), Raudhra(angeri). Bhayankara(terror), Vighasta(disgust) and Asudha(surprise) are the important rasa. Ragini is the feminine form of Raga.


The Gharana is an important aspect both in instrumental and vocal music of India. In Carnatic music it is known as bani. There are mote numbers of gharnas in the north Indian music. The gharanas are scrupulously adopted by the master and taught them to their disciples. It is the traditional approach in Indian music. The Mughal emperors were great patrons of music. Tansen, Haridas, Baiju Baura were the renowned and

 popular musician of that age. Khayal is the supreme stage of musical art and the Khayal  means the imagination. Amir Khusro was a patron of this kind of music.


Indian classical music can be classified into two broad traditions, North Indian and South Indian. The North Indian tradition is known as Hindustani sangeet, the different forms of Hindustani music is Dhrupad, Dhamar, Khayal, Tappa and Thumari. The South Indian tradition of music is called Carnatic sangeet. Both traditions are fundamentally similar but differ in nomenclature and the way of performed.


Carantic Music


Carnatic music is considered one of the oldest forms of music in the world. Imbued with emotion and the spirit improvisation. The Sapta Talas is the basis for rhythm in Csrnatic music. The seven core talas are Dhruva, Matya, Rupaka, Jhamps, Triputa, Ata and Eka talams. Using these sapta talas, all of the hundred and fifty Carnatic talams can be derived.


A typical Carnatic classical vocal performancebegain with a Varnam, a composition with three parts; pallavi, anupallavi and chittaswaram, followed with one or two short songs to build up a tempo. This is then followed by an alaap.the singer sings without words, concentrating on the notes of the raga, improving within its structures.


Hindustani Music


Dhurapad is an ancient style of Hindustani vocal music. It pre-dates other forms of vocal music like Khayal, Dadra and Thumari by a number of centuries. In the dhrupad performance, the singer is accompanied by a tanpura and pakhawaj. The performance begins with a long, complex alaap and the treatment of the compositions is different from Khayal. It focused more on the nuances of the raga and the text and less in technical feats.


Khayal is the most popular type of classical vocal performance today. The singer begins with a short alaap in which the characteristics of the raga are developed. No words are sung, but the singer concentrates on the notes of the raga while improving with in the structure. Each phrase that, the singer sings may be repeated by the accompanist. When the raga has been properly introduced. The first composition bandhish (bada khayal) begains.  The tabla enters in a very slow tempo. One cycle of the tal may take a minute or more.


Thumari is a lighter classical vocal style that developed around the middle if the nineteenth century from a style called Lachari. Dadra, Hori, chaiti, kajri and Jhoola are some of its prominent forms, which are heard separately in a performance.











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