Craft Souvenirs To Pick From Your Next Rajasthan Trip Part II – Outlook India
The Rajput princes, who were great patrons of art, invited skilled artisans from other parts to settle down in their principalities. This royal patronage was one of the main reasons why the artisans could work with single-minded devotion towards enhancing the quality of their craft. The Rajputs com- missioned goldsmiths, printers and dyers, painters, potters, stone carvers, weavers of cotton and silk to produce works of art for them and rewarded them handsomely when they excelled in their craft. It is a legacy that lives on in Rajasthan. Each region has its own unique crafts, and every little town and village has its share of lanes where craftspersons hold sway. It is this treasure trove that tourists are privileged to discover, be it in a modern shopping centre in a big town or in a traditional bazaar in a small village. Here is part two of craft souvenirs to pick from your Rajasthan trip:
Terracotta Products and Pottery
Colourful Blue Pottery products Shutterstock
Each district of Rajasthan has its own distinct style of pottery. Jaipur’s blue pottery is thought to have originated in the first part of the 19th century, and came to India via Persia and Afghanistan. It remained neglected after the end of the Mughal era and was revived because of the efforts of Padma Shri award-winner Kirpal Singh Shekhawat. Blue pottery, made from crushed quartz, is available in various shades of blue. Embellishments of painted motifs in geometrics and nature’s bounty in bright yellows, oranges and green and other colours have further enhanced it. The product line ranges from items like vases, ashtrays to bathroom accessories. In Molela village, near Nathdwara, craftsmen are skilled at making terracotta idols of gods, often depicted riding bulls, horses, boars and dogs. This art form has been passed down from one generation to another. Because of its religious significance the craft is locally known as murtikala.
Roadside vendors sell the idols in Udaipur’s markets but these are also available across the state. Alwar is known for paper-thin pottery known as Kagzi pottery, which is easily distinguishable because of the thin walls of the items. Bikaner’s painted pottery and the terracotta products of the Nohar Centre of Bikaner are equally famous. The city is also known for its gold lacquered pottery, where the patterns are done on a white-chalklike surface. Sawai Madhopur, on the other hand, is a special branch of Rajasthani pottery that is practised on the clay obtained from the nearby Banas river. The slightly greyish colour on the pottery created here is achieved by sealing the vents of the kiln before the firing is completed.
Gorgeous fretwork, carved deities, elaborate columns, garden ornaments, jaali screens, marble tabletops, lamps and candlestands all bear the fine detailing at which the Rajasthani craftsmen are so skilled. While stone carving is mostly seen in Jaipur, Makrana, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer, stone products are available in other cities as well. As far as engraving goes, for instance, Dungarpur is famous for green stone and Thanagazi for its red stone and lime pieces. From functional domestic items that come in beautiful shapes to elegantly carved pillars and doors ornamented with brass motifs, you can find stone products of every conceivable nature across the state. Kishangarh is the best place to look for marble and stone items such as statues, fountains, table tops and lamp bases. You will find all these and more in the 50…….