handmade in india

, Detour

Each state in India is known for its striking handicraft. Despite a wave of globalisation, the traditional skills of the craftsmen are still widely appreciated for their exquisiteness

Words:  Sonya

Every state in India has its own rich cultural heritage; an endowment that has been passed down centuries. One such manifestation of the cultural heritage are the vast variety of handicrafts that India is renown for. Skilled craftsmen with decades of experience, an ever-growing industry co-existing peacefully with globalisation and impeccable art, a traveller gets to experience all this across the Indian landscape. From Rajasthan in the west to Bengal in the east, from Himachal in the north to Tamil Nadu in the south, the Indian territory has exemplary crafts to its name that adorn the everyday life… 

blue pottery from rajasthan
With an unending array of colours and pretty motifs, ever so elegant and delicate, the craft of blue pottery found in Jaipur has become a famous symbol of Rajasthan.

The art form stands distinguished from most other pottery for its use of a special dough created by mixing together quartz stone powder, powdered glass, multani mitti and borax, gum and water. The semi-transparent pottery is mostly decorated with bird and animal motifs. Glazed and low-fired the final blue pottery comes in forms of pots, vases, home decor, tiles, door knobs, plates and much more.

Blue, yellow, green and white are the most prevalently used colours in this pottery, most of them derived from cobalt and copper. The usage of blue colour and motifs are said to have Persian origins while craftsmen have also developed several contemporary patterns, including floral, geometric designs, animals and birds. They also use images of many deities.

terracotta from  west bengal

Lending a unique identity to the distinctive culture of West Bengal, Terracotta art resembles lyrical poetry in its imagery. Derived from the Latin phrase “terra cocta” meaning baked earth, the exclusive craft of terracotta is shaped out of glazed or unglazed clay. The final ceramic bodied are beautifully decorated with spectacular designs and intricate carvings once they have been baked at a temperature of 700-800 °C, making them stiff and steady. The clay used in terracotta craft is generally a blend of two or more types, found in river beds, pits and drains.

Back in the 16th century, the Malla rulers of Bankura popularised the forms of terracotta art by illustrating the Krishna sect on the walls of their beautiful temples. The finest designs of terracotta sheets are found in Murshidabad, Birbhum, Jessore, Hooghly and Digha towns of West Bengal.

dhokra from chhattisgarh

A land of rich culture and heritage, Chhattisgarh is also home to the famed folk style Dhokra Art. Inspired by the tribal themes of mythical creatures, human figures, animals and natural shapes, the art involves non-ferrous metal being cast into various products through lost-wax casting.

Believed to be to one of the oldest, Dhokra craft belongs to the primeval times of the Mohenjodaro and Harappa. The artefacts prepared from Dhokra technique use cow dung, paddy husk, red soil and beeswax in their preparation. Dhokra artists, concentrated in the Bastar region, practice an eco-friendly craft that uses scrap bass metal. Not only is the material locally-sourced, the tools too are handmade, including the hammer, mallet, chisel, plier, tongs, etc.

Tanjore Paintings from Tamil Nadu

Originated during the 16th century, under the reign of the Cholas, Tanjore Painting is the native art form of Thanjavur, formerly known as Tanjore. Tanjore paintings shine with vibrant colours, which have a dense composition and rich surface. Semi-precious stones, pearls and glass pieces add grandeur to these paintings.

The leitmotif of Tanjore paintings revolves around Hindu Gods and Goddesses and saints. Painted on a cloth pasted over a solid wooden plank, Tanjore paintings have the main figure always painted at the centre.  Beautiful laces or threads are also used at times to ornament the painting. Wafer thin sheets of gold are glued in relief and painted in bright colours to give a three-dimensional effect.

pattachitra from odisha

One of the few art forms that has survived over a thousand years of development and change, Pattachitra is an intricate and artistic form of folk art, literally meaning ‘Picture on cloth canvas’. The art form is simple and rustic in its appearance but tells historical chronicles. Famous Pattachitra artwork speaks stories of celebrated idols like all 10 incarnations of Lord Vishnu, episodes from the epic Ramayana, the saga of Mahabharata and others through its amazing representations.

Composing a Pattachitra demands immense patience, intense hard work and skilled craftsmanship. The time taken to paint a Pattachitra might extend from 15 days to several months. The careful depiction, nimble-fingered play of lines and colours and flawless concoction of aesthetic themes make Pattachitra paintings stand out. Themed around religious and cultural facets, inspired by sects worshipping Lord Jagannath and the Vaishnava sect, Pattachitra is made of 100 per cent natural colours that are prepared by chitrakars (artists) using ancient methods. Interestingly, the white colour used here is made from conch shells, red from a mineral called hingula and yellow from a stone called harikala. Blue is another colour that is prevalently used in this form of art.

New Delhi World Book Fair 2019

The largest book fair of the Afro-Asian region – the New Delhi World Book Fair (NDWBF), from 5 to 13 January 2019 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, is organized by the National Book Trust, India, an autonomous organization under the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India in collaboration with ITPO (under Ministry of Commerce). The book fair will have more than 600 exhibitors & publishers from India and abroad. With about 1700 stalls, participants from more than 20 countries will mark their presence at the 27th edition of the book fair.

Aesthetically designed and aptly named Lekhak Manch, Sahitya Manch, Conversations, and Reflections, the Author’s Corners created in various halls of the Fair provide the right platform for dialogues, panel discussions, book launches for the domestic publishers, authors and book lovers.

The New Delhi Rights Table offers B2B matchmaking sessions among publishers in a refreshingly new business ambiance. The unique format of this event enables Indian as well as foreign exhibitors to book their own Rights Table, meet each other and present their products and ideas.

Every New Delhi World Book Fair takes up a Theme to focus and explore various aspects of an area of intellectual activity having some pronounced social relevance. This year, in the 2019 edition, the theme of NDWBF is focused on “Readers With Special Needs”, with emphasis on the reading needs of general public, especially children, with special needs. A number of activities promoting children’s literature and reading habit such as skits, dramas, street plays, musical presentations, storytelling sessions, workshops, panel discussions etc. will be organised.

British Polo Day celebrates its 8th visit to India

British Polo celebrated its 8th edition in India recently, which presented by Chelsea Barracks in association with VistaJet. With the royal families of Rajasthan – Jaipur and Jodhpur – at the helm of affair, the India edition concluded with two exciting days of polo and grandeur evenings hosted by His Highness, Maharaja Gaj Singh II of Marwar-Jodhpur. The world’s business, cultural and lifestyle leaders came together over several games of polo. On the ground, the British Army VistaJet team lost to Jodhpur II 2-5 for the Umaid Bhawan Palace Cup while Jodhpur I, who took on Mundota for the Yuvraj Shivraj Singh of Jodhpur plate, saw the game ending in a 5-5 honourable draw.

With founders Tom Hudson and Ben Vestey, the colourful guest list included HRH Gaj Singh of Jodhpur; Padmanabh Singh, polo player and from the royal family of Jaipur; Polo player Angad Kalaan; Countess Sheena Boisgelin, India Head for Vistajet among others. A grand total of £38,000 was raised for ‘Head Injuries Through Sport’, a charity close to the heart of British Polo Day. Ben Vestey, CEO and Partner of British Polo Day said: “British Polo Day is delighted to be returning to Jodhpur for the 8th year running, the event that is a magnificent jewel in the BPD crown. British business continues to prosper in India, and myself and Chairman Tom Hudson are delighted that British Polo Day can be a part of this success story.”

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