Regional handicrafts हस्तकला (hastkala) in India are popular not only for their regional प्रादेशिक (praadeshik) uniqueness विशिष्टता (vishishtataa) and beauty, but they also make great souvenirs and gifts for travelers यात्री (yaatri) to take back home.
The government of India has Cottage Industries Emporium showrooms across the country and also at airports, where you can find traditional पारम्परिक (paaramparik) crafts शिल्प (shilp) from various parts of the country. The objects available for sale are usually not up for bargaining. However, you can rest assured that they are authentic विश्वसनीय (vishwasneeya) in craft and quality गुण (guN). If you choose to buy these items at independent stores around the city, it is always a good idea to take a local guide with you who can not only negotiate a fair price for the craft item, but also attest to its authenticity. Here are some really popular yet useful items you can buy to take back home. 1. Khadi clothing खादी कपड़े(khadi kapde) खादीis handspun and handwoven natural cotton cloth that was first made prominent by India’s leader of the non-violent movement, Mahatma Gandhi. Here is an informative article on the history and significance of खादी in India. A variety of clothing is made from खादी including tunics, shirts, sarees, and vests, among others.
2. Brass lamps पीतल के दीप (peetal ke deep)
Brass lamps come in a variety of sizes and designs. You can see large multilevel brass पीतल lamps at the entrance to the altar or by the inner sanctum in temples India; smaller ones grace religious altars inside the home, while small brass दीप are used in daily prayer पूजा (pooja) in homes and temples. In many homes, large, intricately molded and polished brass lamps are used as decorative objects.
3. Silk scarf रेशम का रूमाल (resham ka roomal)
Silk abounds across India, and you can find styles and textures unique to the different regions. Although you may not want all 6 yards of a silk saree, you can take home an elegant scarf or blouse in a regional silk of your choosing. Some of the most commonly known silks of India are Kanjivaram silks from Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu, Chanderi silk from Madhya Pradesh, Banarasi silks from Banaras (Varanasi), Muga silk from Assam, Paithani silk from Aurangabad in Maharashtra, and Mysore silks from Karnataka, among others.
4. Bandhani बांधनी (bandhani)
This tie-dye fabric is native to Gujarat and Rajasthan states in India, and is extremely popular for its vibrant colors. बांधनी fabric is used in women’s sarees, tunics, pants, skirts, and also for men’s headdress पगड़ी (pagari). Here is a short article on the history of बांधनी. This type of fabric is made of dyes that run in the wash, hence it’s usually a good idea to hand-wash it separately to avoid color mixing.
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