Arts & Crafts
Though Madhya Pradesh never took centrestage in the history of India,
it could not remain entirely untouched by the happenings around it.
Along with the Rajputs, Marathas and the British, the mighty Mughals
too left their stamp on this vast state.
Carpet-weaving which came to India from Persia, was a craft very dear
to the Mughals. Thanks to their encouragement and patronage, Gwalior
developed into a carpet-weaving centre.
¤ Dyeing of Textiles
The workers here are undisputed masters not only of weaving but
dyeing as well. Alas, as elsewhere in India, colouring is now done
more with synthetic dyes instead of eco-friendly natural dyes. Woollen
carpets in vibrant colours with both floral and geometric designs are
a good buy.
It is better to buy carpets from Jaipur or Delhi rather than Gwalior,
as you get better quality at cheaper rates there. As a rule, never buy
expensive items from small outlets find a reputed shop or stick
to government emporia.
¤ Dolls & Toys
These dolls are made out of small cloth pieces and are produced in
Gwalior, Bhopal and Jhabua. Visit the craftswoman Battobai if you want
to buy dolls they are known the world over and exported in
large numbers as well.
¤ Papier Maché
Though not the leader, Gwalior is definitely a hotbed of papier-maché
articles and toys. The traditional expression of this craft was the
creation of ornate articles like vases, figurines and icons. Gwalior
is a good place to pick up papier-maché statues, birds, animals
and decorative panels.
Papier-maché items are so delicate that it is important to
have them packed well. Inevitably, the price increases with the
quality of work. It is advisable to do a round of all the shops before
indulging in serious buying.
¤ Dhokra Metalwork
The tribals of Madhya Pradesh are famous for their imaginative and
creative dhokra or wire metalwork. Though it is not practised in
Gwalior, it is certainly available in the market. Our suggestion is to
buy it from where it is made extensively you will have a wider
choice and will get better prices.
Gwalior is a big centre for leather production. You can choose from a
variety of chappals, (slippers) loafers, moccasins, sneakers, sandals