Vibrant and culturally rich, India continues to preserve its centuries-old roots in the form of its stunning arts and crafts. Traditional crafts of India provide the basis of Indian culture that not only has gained worldwide recognition but is also one of the reasons tourists flock to the country. These Indian handicrafts are a glimpse into the history and culture of every region of the country. The history of indian handicrafts goes back centuries. We have compiled a list of traditional Indian crafts from different states; don’t forget to check out the special mentions too.
The Most Famous Regional Traditional Crafts In India :
1. Kondapalli Dolls, Andhra Pradesh
This 400-year old art form makes toys from soft wood known as tella poniki, where each part is carved separately. These pieces are then joined together with makku, a paste of tamarind seed powder and sawdust. Later after drying, details are added and the toys are coloured with either oil and watercolours or vegetable dyes and enamel paints. These toys are showcased every year at the celebration of Sankranthi, and this showcase is known as Bommala Koluvu.
2. Bamboo And Cane Craft, Arunachal Pradesh
Thanks to the abundance of cane and bamboo in Arunachal Pradesh, the state is quite famous for its products. The craft is a vibrant tradition and highly diverse as each tribe has its own weaving style and design. Every tribe excels in their craftsmanship, and the shapes of the items made out of bamboo and cane are distinctive in every region.
3. Weaving And Embroidery, Assam
Considered to be one of the main cottage industries of Assam, weaving and embroidery have brought the fabrics of Assam into the international domain. These include handwoven cotton, muga, pat (mulberry silk) and eri (wooly silk). Common household handlooms of the state include mekhela chadar, gamocha, saris, shawls, mats and napkins. The designs of these traditional crafts in Assam are symbolic of the different tribes and ethnic groups of the area.
4. Madhubani Painting, Bihar
This folk art of Bihar is also referred to as Mithila art and is one of the oldest and most famous Indian art forms. Madhubani paintings are one of the most famous traditional crafts of India. They are usually painted with fingers, twigs or matchsticks (now pen nibs) and often have geometric patterns and bright colours. These colours are made from natural extracts from plants and other natural sources.
5. Wall Paintings, Chhattisgarh
The traditional wall paintings in Chattisgarh depict pictures of traditional tribal rituals. Most of the wall paintings in Chattisgarh are related to the celebrations of their customary ceremonies. The walls and floors are painted with vibrant colours making them rural forms of art.
6. Lavo Mandri, Goa
This is an art form indigenous to Goa. It’s a traditional art of weaving mandri (mat in Konkani). Although not a thriving art, it uses lavo, a type of wild grass grown in the marshy land of fields to make these mats.
7. Zari Work, Gujarat
Gujarat is filled with many Indian traditional crafts. One of the most famous is the zari or gold thread embroidery. It is an intricate art of weaving thread spun of fine gold or silver, further woven into fabrics (primarily silk) to create intricate patterns. This art is considered one of the most famous and elaborate techniques in metal embroidery. It is also one of the most popular traditional crafts of India. The zari work of Surat is one of the oldest handicrafts and the city is one of the biggest and most important zari manufacturing centres in India.
8. Embroidery, Haryana
Haryana produces many traditional handicraft items such as shawls, durries, robes or lungis to show off its weaving capabilities. But nothing can defeat the Haryana shawl called phulkari. Generally worn with ghagra choli, phulkari is made by the female members of a house, and takes a long time to make, sometimes even a few years. It contains magnificent colours and intricate embroidery, almost always following a geometric pattern.
9. Wool Weaving, Himachal Pradesh
Due to the low temperatures in Himachal, it comes as no surprise that nearly every household in Himachal owns a pit-loom, a type of loom that fits inside a pit. Each region has its typical style. For example, the Kullu region is famous for its shawls that contain striking patterns and vibrant colours, while in Chamba district, weaves assume a chequered pattern.
10. Wood Craft, Jharkhand
All thanks to surrounding dense forests, woodcraft has become one of the most thriving industries of Jharkhand. This wood is used by artisans to create different products that are used in everyday life and also for decoration, such as windows, door panels, boxes, wooden spoons and so on. The fine quality of the woodcraft and the wood of Jharkhand have made this art very popular.
11. Bidriware, Karnataka
This is a unique metal handicraft from Bidar, and has been practised from as long as the 14th century CE during the rule of the Bahamani Sultans. Also known as Bidri art, this traditional Indian handicraft is unique due to its striking inlay artwork. The metal used for bidriware is an alloy of zinc and copper that is blackened and then encased with thin sheets of pure silver. This craft from Karnataka is one of the most popular traditional crafts of India.
12. Coconut Shell Handicrafts, Kerala
This beautiful eco-friendly handicraft of Kerala requires aesthetics and expertise as it is very difficult to carve out exquisite patterns on a tough exterior. This traditional craft is one of the traditional handicrafts of the Kerala artisans, who carve out gorgeous collectables such as sugar containers, boxes in different shapes and sizes, and showpieces embellished with brass edges.
13. Durries Weaving, Madhya Pradesh
Durries of Madhya Pradesh are one of the two carpet varieties produced by the state. These thick cotton carpets are among the best Indian handicrafts. They are woven by a technique called punja and come in vibrant colours, bold patterns, and folk designs including birds and animal motifs and geometric weaves.
14. Warli Paintings, Maharashtra
This tribal art from Maharashtra is among the finest examples of folk paintings in India. The Warli paintings are traditionally painted inside the walls of village huts, and use a set of basic geometric shapes like circles, triangles, and squares. These geometric shapes do not depict mythological characters or images of deities, but depict the social everyday life of the villagers. To paint the mud walls, artists use white paint made by grinding rice into white powder, mixed with water.
15. Wood Carving, Manipur
The wood carving in Manipur is done on two types of wood, locally known as wang and heijuga. Trees are cut when they are mature, and then the logs are seasoned properly to preserve the natural colour of the wood. The traditional motifs of Manipuri culture are carved by artisans. The resin is applied to decorate leather belts, swords and sword handles.
16. Weaving, Meghalaya
Home to a rich variety of handwoven textiles, Meghalaya produces three varieties of silk. They are muga, eri (locally known as ryndia) and mulberry. This art is an ancient craft of the tribals of Meghalaya, and under the exclusive monopoly of women. The various tribes of Meghalaya weave amazing handicrafts, and most importantly this industry is a cottage based eco-friendly industry.
17. Cane And Bamboo Weaving, Mizoram
The traditional art of the Mizo tribes is to create several varieties of bamboo and cane products that are both utilitarian and decorative. The Mizo men are experts at cane and bamboo work. The traditional Mizo hat looks as if the hat is woven out of fine bamboo as fine as cotton yarn. Bamboo and cane are also used to make flower vases, baskets and utensils. The domestic baskets are all made from plaited bamboo and are reinforced by a stout cane, which is very hard and durable. By smoking, the cane is coloured shiny mahogany to add some colour and patterns.
18. Weaving, Nagaland
An integral part of the arts and crafts of Nagaland, weaving is primarily done by the females. The traditional style of the state is reflected in the rich artistic skills and creative imagination of the local craftsmen who have inherited the art from their ancestors. Different products include shawls, sling bags, headgear and wraparound garments commonly called mekhala.
19. Pattachitra, Odisha
Another tribal folk art of India, pattachitra in Odisha was created for ritual use and as souvenirs for pilgrims to Puri, as well as other temples in Odisha. It is one of the oldest and most popular art forms of the state. Derived from the Sanskrit words patta, meaning canvas, and chitra, meaning picture, pattachitra is known for its intricate details as well as mythological narratives and folktales inscribed in it.
20. Chowk-Poorana, Punjab
This ancient practice in Punjab is about plastering the walls of the house with mud and creating different shapes, figures, patterns and designs on the wet mud before it dries. It is usually performed by the rural women of Punjab on festive occasions like Dushera, Karva Chauth, Holi, Diwali etc.
21. Blue Pottery, Rajasthan
Jaipur’s blue pottery originally came from Persia, but today is widely recognised as a traditional craft of Jaipur. The base for blue pottery is a mix of quartz, powdered glass, stone powder, borax, multani mitti, gum and water. The name, however, comes from the cobalt blue dye used to colour the pottery. The technique beautifully produces decorative items such as doorknobs, tiles, pots, vases and plates, but be careful as being fired at very low temperature makes them fragile.
22. Lepcha Weaving, Sikkim
The state’s traditional lepcha weave is synonymous with handloom weaving in Sikkim. This kind of weave goes back to ancient times when the Lepcha tribe were said to use yarn spun from stinging nettle (sisnu) plants to weave their clothes. Locally known as thara, lepcha weaves are woven in vertical looms with a backstrap, thus resulting in a shorter fabric width. Traditional designs with different colours are used to make bedspreads, curtains, bags, cushion covers, belts, table mats, tray cloths etc, apart from the traditional dress of Lepchas.
23. Korai Silk Mats, Tamil Nadu
Belonging to the town of Pattamadai in Tirunelveli district, these mats are crafted out of korai grass (reeds). These mats are also called pattu paai where the use of silk thread gives a sheen to the mat. They are specifically crafted for wedding ceremonies and have the bride and groom names as well as the wedding date woven into them.
24. Pembarti Sheet Metal Work, Telangana
This traditional handicraft is a popular metal handicraft made in Pembarthi village of Warangal district in Telangana. Metalworkers or the vishwakarmas perfected the art of sheet metal engravings, and today, it is one of the most popular traditional crafts of India. It can be seen adorning the vigrahas (statues) as well as carvings of chariots in several Hindu temples.
25. Cane and Bamboo Craft, Tripura
These traditional crafts are one of the main crafts of Tripura and are known for their beautiful weaves and attractive designs. The weaves are practised by different tribes of Tripura. Some of the well known can and bamboo craft produced includes table mats, floor mats, room dividers, decorated wall panels, attractive furniture made of cane, and interior decor products such as panelling, plaques, planters etc.
26. Wood Carving, Uttarakhand
An integral part of the hill society, the tradition of wood carving or likhai in Uttarakhand is inspired by the natural beauty of the region. These carvings are among the most famous traditional crafts of India. They are renowned for their simple yet delicate and attractive designs and can be found on the dwellings of the people who live there, primarily in the form of folk, religious and tantric motifs.
27. Lucknow Chikan Work, Uttar Pradesh
Chikan translates to embroidery. The technique of creating chikan work or chikan embroidery work is called chikankari. It is a delicate and artfully done hand embroidery which is one of Lucknow’s most ancient and well-known craft forms. It is one of the most famous Indian handicrafts and is done on a variety of textiles like muslin, silk, chiffon, organza, net, etc and gives the cloth a delicate appeal.
28. Dhokra, West Bengal
This ancient metal casting art is a tribal art form which comes from the Dhokra Damar tribes of West Bengal. This traditional art is used to make stunning metal figurines from bronze and copper-based alloys using a ‘lost wax casting’. One of the earliest known Dhokra artefacts is the famous statue of the dancing girl of Mohenjo-Daro. This art is still used to make artefacts, accessories, utensils and jewellery, and is differentiated by its rustic simplicity, enchanting folk motifs and clean, distinctive, lines. An old art, dhokra is one of the most famous traditional arts of India.
29. Pashmina Shawls, Jammu and Kashmir
The world-famous pashmina shawls from Jammu and Kashmir are made from raw unspun wool of domesticated changthangi goats. This warm woollen fabric is turned into a fine shawl through an elaborate process and is a specialised job as the softness has to be retained through every step. Usually, it is woven in three patterns, twill or sade bunai, the popular diamond or chasm-e-bulbul, and the special herringbone style or gada kond. Pashmina shawls are counted as one of the most famous traditional crafts of India.
Immerse Yourself In The Traditional Crafts Of India
These traditional crafts have not only preserved the art but also provide artisans to earn a livelihood from their creative works. The diverse culture, heritage, language and customs of this unique country have made us proud of our glorious history. So, take some time to delve into the culture and art of the destinations as well, and if we’ve missed anything that should be on our list of traditional arts and crafts of India, drop us a comment below. You can see and buy Indian handicrafts online here.