(Last Updated on : 18/02/2014)
The crafts of north Indian are known for their vibrancy, aesthetic sensibilities and decorative abilities.
North India is famous for weaving and therefore one can find a lot of colourful and intricate embroidery here. Owing to the chilly winters the locals of different states weave colourful shawls, which have a huge demand in the national and international market. Mandi, Kulu and Chamba in Himachal Pradesh are famous for shawls. Shahtoosh and Jamawar are the best-known shawls of Kashmir and weaving theses shawls require great dexterity and sense of artistry. Haryana is also known for shawls where the bagh design is very common.
Embroidery is another important craft of North India. It is more of a tradition, which girls learn in their childhood and do in their leisure. This has become a full-fledged industry in the region. Punjab is known for Phulkaris, which is magnificent embroidery where complex designs are made through horizontal, vertical and diagonal stitches. Rumals or handkerchiefs of Chamba in Himachal Pradesh have a folk style of embroidery where the colours are bright and contrasting. In Delhi and Uttar Pradesh one can find spectacular embroidery with gold thread, which is called zardozi. Intricate designs in gold are made on silk, velvet and even tissue materials. Uttar Pradesh is also known for delicate embroidery called Chikankari, which has a relatively good demand in the market.
Carpet weaving and making durries (floor coverings) is another important craft among the north Indian states. Uttar Pradesh has the largest number of carpet weaving industries in India and they have their own distinct designs such as Taj Mahal, Kethariwala jal, jamabaz and kandhari etc. Punjab is famous for durries, which are woven by women from handspun yarn. Jammu and Kashmir is known for the silk carpets, which are mostly woven in Srinagar. The various silk carpets are tabriz, kashan, kirman, bokhara, qum and hamdaan. Himachal Pradesh is also known for carpets like karcha, chuktu and chugdan. The state is also known for producing cotton durries, which are mostly made in blue or red colours. The durries of Haryana is rather coarse and is concentrated in and around Panipat.
Various kinds of pottery have developed in the states, which have taken the form of a craft. Pottery as a craft varies from state to state so while in Uttar Pradesh shades of pottery are in colours like orange, brown and light red, Kangra in Himachal Pradesh has rich tradition of pottery in black or dark red. In Haryana pottery is a village craft where the kick-operated type is common. Delhi has a tradition of blue pottery, which has a unique style of its own.
The northern states of India also have a rich tradition of woodwork. Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar, Amritsar and Bhera of Punjab are famous for making exquisite wooden furniture. Kashmir is well known for making wooden items mainly from the wood of the walnut tree like jewellry boxes, screens, room dividers, fruit bowls, trays etc. With abundant forests, Himachal Pradesh specializes in wooden crafts, where intricate and spectacular designs are carved on wood. Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh specializes in wooden furniture made from shisham, sal and dudhi wood.
It can be said that crafts produced in the north Indian states have withstood the test of time. Innovation and invention continues even today to give the crafts a more contemporary look.