Dungarpur Tourism facilitates travel to the town of Dungarpur in Rajasthan and offer exclusive sights of unique style of architecture of temples, Dugarpur Arts and Crafts, palaces and noble residences. Another site promoting tourism in Dungarpur India is a small fortress of Maharawal Bijai Singh of Rajistan, nestling on a hill top, overlooking a lake and presenting a picturesque appearance.

India - Rajasthan - Dungarpur - Dugarpur Arts and Crafts of Rajasthan

Dugarpur Arts and Crafts of Rajasthan

Rajasthani Crafty Doll Rajasthan, the Abode of Kings, has enough decorative arts and crafts to cater to an army of kings. Not surprising then, that no one comes away empty-handed from this gloriously picturesque state. Starting from wood and shellac work, you can pick anything from miniature paintings, cotton and silk textiles to precious stones and exquisite silver and gold jewellery. Here’s the lowdown on some of Rajasthan’s most sought after handicrafts.

¤ Bandhani or Tie and Dye

As the name suggests, this technique involves two stages: tying sections of a length of cloth (silk or cotton) and then dunking it into vats of colour. The rainbow-tinged turbans of the Rajputs and the odhnis of their women are shaded by this method of resist dyeing. Your visit to Jaipur won’t be complete without a trip to the nearby towns of Bagru and Sanganer, where you can observe the Chhipa community of dyers at work.

The main colours used in Bandhani are yellow, green, red and black. It is essentially a household craft supervised by the head of the family. The fabric is skillfully knotted by the women, while the portfolio of dyeing rests with the men. The women often grow a long nail on the little finger of the left hand, or wear a ring with a little blunt spike on it, with which they push the cloth upwards to form a tiny peak.

The Jaipur dyer rarely works with more than two dye baths while the additional colours are spot dyed, which makes the process much easier. Thereafter, the fabric opens out into amazing designs in kaleidoscopic colours: dots, circles, squares, waves and stripes.

The laheriya or the ripple effect is achieved by a variation of this technique. Lengths of permeable muslin are rolled diagonally from one corner to the opposite, bound tightly at intervals and then dyed. The ties are then undone and the process repeated by diagonally rolling the adjacent corner toward the opposite and repeating the process. Both Jaipur and Jodhpur are major centres of laheriya. Jaipur in particular, thanks to its status as the state capital, has girt its loins to meet the extensive demands of both the domestic and export markets.

Tie and dye cloth is never too expensive but be warned that the colours always run. So if you’ve bought silk, it’s safer to get it dry-cleaned.

¤ Block-printing

Rajasthan has a long and distinguished traditon of printing with finely carved wooden blocks. What you might have already seen in Delhi’s Rajasthali or Fabindia is merely the tip of the iceberg. Head for Bagru and Sanganer, not far from Jaipur, to see for yourself how cloth is printed by hand.

This method, though labourious, is actually quite simple and merely calls for precision. The cloth is laid out flat on a table or bench and a freshly dipped block is handpressed on to the fabric to form a continuous, interlocking pattern. The block carries dye if the original colour of the cloth has to be preserved.

If the cloth has to be dyed, the block is used to apply an impermeable resist – a material such as clay, resin or wax – to demarcate the pattern that is not to be coloured. Later, when the cloth is dyed, the pattern emerges in reverse. Traditonally, block-printing relied on the use of natural dyes and pigments, but now synthetic dyes have gained currency as they are cheaper. If you belong to the green brigade, stick to eco-friendly naturally dyed cloth.

The floral motifs favoured by the printers of Bagru and Sanganer are Persian in origin, though Sanganeri designs are more sophisticated. They usually have a white or pale background decorated with colorful twigs or sprays. The not-so-fine Bagru prints were initially meant for peasants and had a light brown background. Today, however, Bagru isn’t the poor second cousin any more.
Block-printed cloth is sure to fade too after a few washes. Once again, stick to dry cleaning.

¤ Dhurrieweaving

Dhurrie, the poor mans carpet, is suddenly in vogue all over the world. Earlier relegated to being an underlay for expensive carpets or sandwiched between the wooden frame and mattresses of a bed, it now occupies a place of pride in many crystal-flaunting drawing rooms. These flatwoven cotton rugs are made on age old ground looms and the design varies according to Hindu or Muslim custom. In the villages of Rajasthan, dhurrie-weaving is still pretty much a family affair and nowhere as fancy as in Agra and Fatehpur-Sikri in UP or Coimbatore and Salem down south.

¤ Embroidery

In the hamlets of southwestern Rajasthan you won’t spot a single house without an embroidered toran or frieze hung above the doorway. The women of this region and adjoining Kutch and Saurashtra districts of Gujarat are adept at needlework. Embroidered
torans, odhnis, shawls, ghagras (long, flowing skirt) and blouses that come to life with colourful motifs and the sparkle of tiny mirrors or shishas, are a mandatory part of their bridal dowry. You’ll even find embroidered leather bags, saddles and ethnic footwear (popularly dubbed mojdis or jooties), but these are particularly the domain of men.

¤ Gems, Kundan , Meenakari and Jewellery

With the fierce Rajputs and the imperious Mughals having earmarked Rajasthan as their own, jewellery-making was elevated to the level of an art. The kings themselves wore enough baubles to outshine their womenfolk, though, as their portraits stand witness, there was nothing effeminate or pansy about them. Consequently, all manner of precious and semi-precious stones can be purchased in Rajasthan.

Chunky silver ornaments with floral, geometric and religious motifs are favoured by both trendy city girls and peasant women. This jewellery forms an integral part of a village bride’s dowry.

Jaipur and Udaipur are famous for the setting of gems in gold by the age-old Indian technique of Kundan. Some of the most exquisite pieces of Mughal and Rajput jewellery - it’s impossible to tell the motifs of one from the other as the styles have merged completely - like the turban ornament set with emeralds and diamonds have been executed in this style.

The Rajasthani enamel artisan, the maker of meenakari jewellery, is also a notch more accomplished than the meenakar (enameller) of any other state. Sample the breathtakingly magnificent turban ornaments from the Jaipur treasury, enamelled in colours typical of the Jaipur palette: red, white, green, blue and yellow.

¤ Paintings

Rajasthan has an ancient tradition of art which began with the dwellers’ desire to escape the harsh landscape of the desert by painting the walls of their homes. Starting from the floral and geometric patterns in the humblest mud house, through the paintings on the havelis of Shekhawati, to the elaborate frescoes in Amber Palace, Jaipur, wall art has been honed to perfection by the colour-loving craftsmen and women of Rajasthan.

A more portable form of art for all you tourists are the phads, pichvais and miniature paintings that, once again, in true Rajput and Mughal tradition, abound in colour and detail. A phad depicts the adventures and travails of some local or epic hero while the pichvai (literally, ‘something at the back’) unfolds scenes from the life of the Hindu deity Lord Krishna and is used as a backdrop for his idol at the Nathdwara Temple, near Udaipur. The elegant miniatures portray palace and court scenes from the Mughal period and chronicle the hunting expeditions of its larger-than-life emperors. Legends centring around Lord Krishna and his consort Radha also find expression in the miniatures.

¤ Pottery

Potters pottering about on their wheel and fashioning all kinds of pitchers and earthenware are a common sight in India. While pottery for daily use (like gharas and surahis) is made all over Rajasthan, certain areas specializing in a particular type. Jaipur is known for its regal blue-glazed pottery introduced in India by early Muslim rulers. The blue glaze was initially used to liven up the visual appeal of mosques, tombs and palaces - you’ll spot the extensive use of these tiles in the old city of Jaipur.

Another hotspot is the village of Molela, 40km north of Udaipur, which excels in terracotta pottery, sculpted plaques and icons of Rajput heroes and Hindu deities. Black pottery, better sourced in South India, makes its mark up north in the district of Dausa, west of Jaipur. Nowhere as ornamental as its southern counterpart, this one is known for its minimalist and sleek forms.

¤ Ivory Carving

Rajasthan has its main ivory carving centres at Udaipur, Bharatpur and Jaipur from where master ivory carvers were once favoured by the royal courts. While Jaipur was famous for its carved ivory, Jodhpur specialized in ivory bangles. The bangles were worn to cover the whole arm and they decreased in size from just below the shoulder to the wrist. The Bikaner Palace is more well known and prominent for its artistic ivory inlaid doors than the palace itself. Carved ivory artefacts can be purchased in and around Jaipur but the export of ivory in any form from India is strictly prohibited.

¤ Puppets

Kathputlis or wooden puppets are a common and popular form of entertainment in the villages of Rajasthan. The puppeteer is the storyteller who unwinds a folk tale or an episode from the Hindu epics - the Ramayana or the Mahabharata – along with the deft interplay of various puppets, each signifying a character in the tale. Unfortunately, puppet theatre in India is under serious threat from television and cinema, and it may soon be curtains for this animated style of amusement. You may not find too many puppeteers these days, but what you will find is that these well-crafted marionettes are up for sale and look quite sensational in urban homes.

¤ Leatherware

Rajasthan has a long history in leather craft and industry and leather shoes known as jootis or mojdis are made in Jaipur and Jodhpur. Embroidery known as kashida is done on the jootis: in Jaipur it is first done on velvet which is then made to cover the shoes while in Jodhpur it is applied directly to the leather. This embroidery is mainly done by the women, who also does a bit of fancy stitching or appliqué work to give a designer look to the shoes that have neither a left or a right foot.

Leather is also used for bookbinding and Alwar is well reputed for this craft that flourished in the 19th century under Maharaja Banni Singh. Bikaner is again famous for its kopis or camel-hide water bottles.

¤ Textiles

The people of Rajasthan make up with the brilliancy of colour in their clothes what the desert lacks. The palette runs from a striking red, through flaming pink, electric blue, acid green to sunshine yellow. Rajasthan’s best known dyeing technique is the bandhani or tie and dye and is widely practiced in Sikar, Jaipur, Bikaner, Jodhpur, Ajmer, and Udaipur. Cotton or silk cloth is tied into sections to exclude the dye to achieve a two-colour effect. For a more intricate design, different sections are tied at every stage of dyeing and a variety of colours are used. When this method is used to achieve a striped or ripple effect, it is termed laheriya.

Another technique, especially fascinating for foreigners, is the printing of cloth with carved wooden blocks. Jaipur, Ajmer, Udaipur, Chittaurgarh, Jodhpur and Bikaner, are the strongholds of this craft. A later-day development is the method of embossed printing with gold and silver called Khari.

¤ Woodcarving

Woodcarving is traditionally considered an adjunct of architecture in India, as can be seen from the elaborately carved doors and windows of Rajasthan’s fairytale palaces and the fantastic havelis of Jaisalmer. Now, due to lack of architectural commissions, master-carvers have turned to making furniture, dowry chests, wooden panels and jewellery boxes. Barmer and Jodhpur produce the finest wooden carved chairs with woven-rope seats and exquisite jali or latticework on the backrest.
An equally charming technique called tarkashi involves the laying of fine brass or copper wire into carefully chiselled grooves. The patterns, once again an amalgam of Rajput and Mughal styles, are floral, leaf and creeper.

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