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  • Popular places in India to experience the perfect blend of authentic art and famous regional cuisine

    When it comes to travelling one wants to get the best from his tour, especially to such incredible country like India. Tourists are eager to experience both local cuisines and get authentic handicrafts. Of course, certain Indian states are really famous for their food and art. You can start your gastronomic adventure in Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Kashmir, Gujarat, West Bengal or Himachal Pradesh.

    Colourful Rajasthan

    This state is really famous for its unique authentic handicraft. If you find yourself in the capital of Rajasthan Jaipur, you will definitely explore local souvenir shops which have a lot to offer: handmade jewellery, carpets, paintings, quilts, pottery, textiles, and even wooden furniture. The first thing that visitor notice about local art is its bright colours! Of course, it is worth trying local cuisine. Foodies will be happy to try various curries and sweet, and certainly, vegetable dishes like extremely popular GovindGatte (a gravy with dumplings), and healthy Khichdi (a type of lentil and rice soup). As for non-vegetarian dishes, one can discover mouth-watering hot and spicy Laal Maas and Mohan Maas.

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    Gujarat: a western jewel of the country

    One more fascinating state to visit is Gujarat located in the Western part of the country. Local food is vegetarian, and seafood isn't prepared, despite the state having access to the sea. Almost everywhere a tourist can try various curries (potato, bitter and bottle gourd, black-eyed peas, beans, and ladyfinger). It is definitely worth trying different types of homemade bread (PuranPoli, thepla, and famous puri) prepared with various combinations of spices, pulses, and flour. Apart from local cuisine, it is really interesting to discover regional handicrafts: world-famous Patola sarees, embroideries, unusual wall hangings, needlework, pottery, handmade jewellery, wooden products, pillow and cushion covers, and exquisite patchwork with tiny mirrors.

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    Himachal Pradesh: unique authentic crafts

    Visitors like Himachal Pradesh for its awesome nature, unusual cuisine and authentic crafts. They include rugs, carpets, shawls, wood carvings, paintings, metal and stonework, lamps, and jewellery. Being a vegetarian state, local cuisine is ready to offer you delicious Madra (chickpeas with veggies), famous tudkiyabhath (a rice dish), and exotic they (spicy lotus stems). In this state, tourist can try various dishes from traditional Tibetan cuisine too.

  • How to use inherited art and furniture to decorate your home in a modern way

    It is not that easy to make the best from inherited art and furniture, especially when you have an emotional connection with such art objects. Unfortunately, some people just decide to get rid of such items by donating or selling them out. It is certain that others definitely struggle to incorporate them into a modern design of a flat or a house. Of course, there are few good ways to make your home look modern even using such precious pieces of art and furniture. Expensive antiques pieces made of silver, brass, walnut, bronze, maple, and marble are really worth including into your house.

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    Modern vintage 

    This term appeared only few years ago and has already become quite popular everywhere in the world. In fact, it means mixing old with modern. Sometimes unexpectedly good trendy combinations may come up with a little bit of mixing experimentation. Who knows, maybe your grandfather's antique clock will be in the limelight in your modern sitting room?

    Change the color and material

    It may really happen that a faded color is the thing which doesn't let you include a vintage object into your room. Actually, it is the easiest way to make old furniture look modern. Try to choose carefully a new trendy color. One more way is to change the main material of a treasured sofa or an armchair. However, you can have it done from a professional workshop. Don’t be scared to pick bright stylish shades, floral and striped patterns, and unusual brand-new fabrics to make it look and feel cozy.

     The right balance

    Already existing objects in the room should be in proper balance with inherited art and furniture. A single antique mirror or cupboard will look gorgeous when it is surrounded by contemporary furniture. It is advisable to keep only one vintage piece in each room decorating it with bright clothes, plants or even flowers.

    If you are a lucky one who inherited treasured old ceramics, silver plates, paintings, mirrors or clocks, don’t get discouraged. Do your best mixing vintage objects with contemporary ones and exploring new color and textile combinations.

  • Five Ways to Differentiate between Fake & Authentic Handicrafts and Artworks

    Each year, hundreds of artists and craftsmen go out of business. Marginalised by intense competition and a lack of sufficient administrative support, these unrecognised heroes who have played a significant part in the preservation of the cultural heritage that the Indian people are so proud of are losing out. Counterfeiting and the mass production of cheap imitations have also hurt the industry.  You can make a difference - support the artists and craftsmen preserving India’s culture by purchasing authentic art and craft.

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    1)    Chikankari

    This beautiful craft comes from Lucknow, a royal city located in Uttar Pradesh, and is used to signify femininity and royalty. The pastel colours and detailed embroidery. When shopping for authentic handmade Chikankari, look for shadow stitch, crisscross embroidery and French knots. If there is any unevenness in the fabric or lose threading, it hasn’t been handmade. This also applies to most hand weaved and embroidered fabrics.

    2)    Silk.

    At times, it is possible to differentiate real silk from artificial silk by rubbing it in your hands if it emits a clear sound, it’s most probably real. Real silk is also highly susceptible to wrinkling. Crumple it up and release it, if the fabric doesn’t spring back to its original state quickly and wrinkles, it’s likely that it is silk. Burn it. You could take a small piece of the fabric from the fringe or pull a knot if the item is a rug, burn it. Take care to note the smell of the smoke and colour of the residue. If the sample is authentic silk, the ash should form a crisp black ball of ash and the smell should be similar to that of burning hair.

    3)    Gold

    For any handcraft made from gold, make a small indentation on the surface and add a drop of liquid nitric acid. If the area turns green, then whatever you're about to buy is not real gold. If it turns milky, then the product is made from over sterling silver. Only pure gold will not react with nitric acid.  Though effective, these tests do have their weaknesses. Besides the tests, it is often advisable to seek the advice of a professional before acquiring gold handicrafts.

    4)    Silver

    When silver is tapped with a metallic object, it produces a clear ringing sound, cheaper metals will only produce a dull sound. As with Gold, it is always wise to seek the qualified opinion of a certified professional before making a purchase.

    5)    Paintings

    For paintings, the buyer must know the artist and their style of work. Watch for inconsistencies in the framing and signature. Observe the colours in the painting. Not all the colours available today were possible in the past. Art enthusiasts often use colour charts to identify a colour that didn’t exist at the time the painting was supposedly made. Turn the painting over, what kind of surface was it painted on. Does it look and feel aged enough? Considering these factors could help avoid paying a small fortune for an imitation.

  • Celebrating Spirituality of Lord Krishna with Sanjhi Art

    Sanjhi is a traditional art form from Mathura, the hometown of Lord Krishna. Widely appreciated for its spiritual outlook that conveys much more than aesthetic beauty, it is rightly recognised as one of the greatest forms of spiritual expression. The art form rose to prominence in Indian culture in the 16th and 17th centuries, when the floors and walls of the places of worship were adorned with Sanjhi inspired motifs and designs. The word Sanjhi comes from the Hindi word sandhya. This was chosen as a name because it refers to the period of dusk which Sanjhi artists often portray in their paintings. The art form often portrays stories from Indian mythology often focusing on Krishna’s Leela. Folktales suggest that the first Sanjhi art designs were made by Radhe who used flowers, natural colours and pigmented stone to make Sanjhi rangolis. Others soon copied his initiative, creating detailed designs to please Krishna. According to the tale, Sanjhi art became popular from that time on. The influence of the Mughal era added a contemporary outlook to the art form.

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    After the ancient tradition of Sanjhi art was adopted by Vaishnava temples in the 15th and 16th century, it was developed further into a highly complex form of a painting by uniquely trained Brahman priests. Sanjhi art can mostly be seen in the temples which are made using dry colours applied onto an eight-sided earthen platform to symbolize a lotus with eight petals. The heart of the design symbolizes a seat for the divine couple. A detailed design in the sanctum sanctorum will often portray complex interlocked diagonal patterns meant to expand divinity in all eight directions. The modern Sanjhi art piece is created using stencils made from specially designed scissors. The stencils are placed on a level surface where the Rangoli is to be applied. Dry colours are then sifted onto the stencil. Horses, peacocks, trees and butterflies are some of the most common designs. Sanjhi artists' attention to detail is meant to signify intimate love and devotion to Krishna.

    Modern Sanjhi art is popular all over India. It is displayed in public areas such as train stations and is used in interior decor. Recently, Sanjhi art also featured in the pictograms used for the commonwealth games.

  • Gond Art Tribal Vibes

    Gond painting is a tribal art form practised by one of the biggest tribes in India of the same name. The word Gond is derived from an expression in a Dravidian language known as Kond, meaning the green mountain. Though Gond art is perceived as exclusive to Madhya Pradesh, it is also practised in areas such as Maharashtra, Odisha, Chattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh. Gond art is ancient-The Gond people have lived in India for nearly one and a half millennia have practised this art form for the entire duration of their existence. Some sources suggest that the art form itself may be much older as the gonds could have simply imitated cave paintings made by their ancestors in the Mesolithic era.

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    The gonds believe that all naturally occurring objects, such as trees, rivers, rocks or hills are inhabited by a divine entity and that they are consequently sacred. The Gond, therefore, make paintings of them as a way of showing reverence and respect. Viewed this way, the Gond art form is a unique but accurate example of the closeness between man and his natural environment.

    Besides nature, Gond artists get inspiration from traditional Indian mythology and folklore. Some painters focus on scenes from daily life and abstract ideas such as dreams, imaginations and emotion. The style is often categorised as a form of line art. When making paintings, Gond artists draw inner and outer lines with great care to achieve a level of perfection and detail that is bound to draw the user's attention. Dashes and dots are utilised to add a greater sense of motion and detail. Artists utilise vivid colours such as yellow, red and blue on and white. Dyes are obtained from plant sap, animal manure, coloured soil, leaves and charcoal. Brown and yellow are derived from a type of locally available sand.

    Gond art was typically applied as a finishing for newly built houses. But starting in 1980, talented painters transformed this ancient style with a new narrative and figurative ideas using various modern media such as ink, acrylics, animated film and silkscreen prints. Rich in humour, colour and mystery, Gond paintings effectively make use of modern media to evoke the primordial psyche.

  • The Timeless Art of Wood Carving in India

    Woodcarving has been one of the most universal handicraft techniques around the world. Be it intricate pulpits inside Gothic churches in Europe, delicately carved panels in Persia or massive columns from Japan depicting aquatic plants, wood carving is an eternal, timeless craft appreciated across the world.

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    India itself has a rich wood carving history and contributes prolifically to the array of carved handicrafts produced in wood. Being a climactically diverse nation, India is blessed with a variety of soft and hard woods — each being used to produce a different family of wooden crafts. Moreover, the cultural, lingual and religious diversity is reflected in the different handicrafts that emerge from different regions. In Assam, they are reflected in the unusually carved thrones in the shape of peacocks which are called ‘namghar’ or ‘kirtanghar' and the figures of the one-horned rhinoceros. In Uttar Pradesh, we see elegantly chiseled screens or ‘jaalis’ patterned with floral and vine-like details reminiscent of the Kashmiri origins of the craftsmen who first brought them here. Large, chests called ‘pataras’ carved out of rosewood, teak or sandalwood in Gujarat are part of wedding trousseau for brides to this day.

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    Although wood carvings in Tamil Nadu come in a variety of themes such as animals, mythological creatures and dance forms, one of the most prominent of these themes is the depiction of mythological scenes with gods and goddesses mounted on their chariots. From doors to wooden brackets and panels, one can find this theme running across different handicraft items produced in the state. Idols of Lord Shiva, Lord Ganesha, Dashavtara idols of Vishnu are some of the most highly demanded products in the region.

    When creating a wood carving idol, the artisan begins with a single large block of wood. Designs are first drawn on paper which is then imprinted upon the wooden block. Then, using a hammer and chisel, the artisan carves out the wood from the appropriate places in the design, layer by layer. Soon the idol begins to take shape. When the artisan is satisfied with the carving, he buffs the wood so that its natural shine appears. Then it is painted or polished suitably and is ready to go on the market. The whole process takes days and even months depending upon the complexity and size of the idol. Rosewood and sandalwood is most commonly used for creating wood articles produced in Tamil Nadu.

    Over 2 lakh artisans in Tamil Nadu work behind the scenes to uphold our cultural heritage through sheer hard work without proper recognition and appreciation. Poompuhar, in collaboration with the TN state government is proud to be observing March 5 as Artisan’s Day in order to bring these gems to the forefront in the handicraft making process. The video of artisan P Subrayan below is just a small initiative in that endeavour.

  • Best Indian Art and Craft Items That Will Make A Great Wedding Gift

    In most regions of the world, a wedding is a ceremony celebrated with lots of style and cheer. All guests are treated with utmost respect, and all parties involved usually strive to make the occasion a success. An age-old wedding tradition, 'Gift giving' is a crucial part of the ceremony. In most cases, gifts are given only to the newly wedded couples. But in some traditions, they are also exchanged between the hosts and guests as an expression of gratitude and joy. Choosing the right wedding gift for a close relative or friend can be quite a challenge. Here are some of the best Indian art and craft items that will make a good wedding gift for your loved ones.

    Jewellery

    Women and jewellery are nearly inseparable. In India, the brides are gifted valuable ornaments by relatives, parents and even friends. In India, it is believed that gifting a high-value item will help newlyweds to add few assets to help start their life together and hence gold jewellery is very common. Jewellery also serves the very important purpose i.e. making the bride look pretty.

    All cities in India have skilled jewellers offering both traditional and modern jewellery. Indian jewellers make their ornaments out of semi-precious stones such as garnets, emeralds, turquoises and rubies or precious metals such as silver and gold. Gold jewellery is arguably the most popular in India and is considered a status symbol.

    Sari

    Handmade from silk or cotton fabric, the sari is one of the oldest unstitched garments that are still in use to this day in India. Over the course of time, the sari has grown from being a regular wardrobe item of the Indian woman to a fashionable attire popular across the world. Handmade series are beautiful, elegant, and unique and would make a great wedding gift for the bride. Sari fabrics are decorated mostly using traditional methods such as raw thread embroidery, Zari, Naqshi and Dabka. Silk is preferred over cotton as it adds an exquisite sheen to the fabric making it look exotic and expensive.

    Home décor items

    At times it is the things that seem small and insignificant that turn a house into a home. A gift of one or more home furnishings such as paintings, lampshades, Kalasam and murals could make a really good impression. Decorative oil lamps, also known as diyas, made from copper, gold or silver will surely impress the couple who will receive them as a gift. Handmade carpets and rugs could also be considered.

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    Check out more gift ideason our online Poompuhar store and impress your loved ones with fascinating keepsakes.

  • 10 must have beautiful items from Poompuhar collection to welcome New Year

    It is almost New Year!! As we step into 2018 with all the experiences from 2017, we are bound to feel happy and nostalgic at the same time. It is time to celebrate the new beginnings while saying farewell to a great year. If you are someone who likes to express yourself with gifts or souvenir, then you can browse through the vast handicraft collection on Poompuhar website. There is something for every occasion with a promise of quality on each product. Indian handicrafts have always been mesmerising so why not start a new year with a great gift for you and your family or friends. Here is a glimpse of a few popular and new handicraft items available at Poompuhar –

    Krishna Leela Green Stone

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    This delicatestatue is made of green stone andexhibits an enthusiastic display of excellentartistry. It has ornamental carvings to enhance its fine work.  The statue is four inces and suitable as a gift.

    Granite Stone Elephant

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    This granite stone made elephant statue is available in different variants in terms of weight and height. The statue is of a walking elephant and can be used for decorating purposes.

    Thanjavur Painting RadhaKrishnar

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    This Thanjavur painting of RadhaKrishnar is suitable for worship home as well as for decorative purposes. The God is portrayed as sitting and offering blessing. The painting dimensions are 142*110*8 and it weighs almost 70000Kg.

    Sandal Wood Arch Ganesh

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    This is a rare and beautiful sandalwood figurewill fill your home with never-ending aromaof sandal wood. It is a graceful idol of Lord Ganesh and will add serenity to your home.

    This original work made of superior sandalwood is a gem that can be appreciated for a very long time. Its dimensions are 9*6*2 and it weighs approximately 300 Kg.

    Ashtrotra Deepam

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    Lighting an Ashtrotra Deepam on New Year eve will help you attract positivity and happiness in future. This Lamp is elevated from the base and has four branches which are tailored with five small hanging spouted thagali. The top of the lamp has a statue of Goddess Laxmi,sitting on a Lotus. The lamp is made of 60% copper and 40% zinc and weighs around 13 kg.

    Thanjavur Art Plate Ashtalakshmi

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    Poompuhar is offering this beautifully crafted Tanjore Art Plate to the art-lovers which is accessible in numerousschemes and patterns. This plate is an example of latest fashion trends and is meticulously designed by famous artisans. The material used in making this products are of high quality and modern techniques have been used to give the fine details. This art plate represents the Astalakshmi concept i.e. it denotes eight forms of Goddess Lakshmi. This plate is ideal for pooja and ornamental purpose or as gift items.

    IllamThorumValluvar - ThiruvallurSripam 3D Printed

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    Thiruvalluvar, also known as Valluvar, is a renowned Tamil poet and philosopher. This statue is to honor his teachings. His contribution to Tamil literature is called Thirukkural which is about ethics.  It represents one of his saying - “Do not lose hope follow the Thirukural and blessed life.”

    Maha Meru Stone

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    Maha Meru or Sumeru is a sacred mountain which isrespected indifferent cultures in India like Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism. The highest point or the last bud on this six foot pyatthat signifies Mount Meru

    Wall Hanging Lamp Shade

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    This 200Kg leather lamp shade is perfect for decorative use as well as gift. It has fine details and is of high qyality.

    Balaji with Lakshmi Thanjavur Painting

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    This Thanjavur painting showcases a sketch of Lord Balajion a dark-background with His divine companion Goddess Mahalakshmi. It has cheerfulwork of gold foil and kundan stones.

    I have already decided what to add to my art collection, have you? Have a great year ahead!!

    Happy New Year…

  • The Popular Arts of Jammu and Kashmir

    Jammu and Kashmir is one of the most attractive destinations in India. The craftsmen of Jammu and Kashmir have mastered the art of making some of the most intricate and artistic items.

    There are a variety of items made in Jammu and Kashmir:

    • Shawls
    • Carpets
    • Papier mache
    • Wood carvings
    • Chain Stitch
    • Khatumbandh
    • Basketry
    • Namdas
    • Basketry

    These are some of the 5 popular art pieces:

    Kashmiri Shawls

    Are you looking for comfortable and stylish shawls? The Kashmiri shawls are soft, fashionably elegant and sophisticated. The precision and concentration invested in the making of the shawls make them a sought-after commodity in the international market. These shawls are made of three fiber, wool, Pashmina and Shahtoosh. The shawls are unique with very interesting designs.

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    Kashmiri Carpets

    Kashmir’s art is renowned for its hand-made Kashmiri carpets. These carpets are unique because they are hand-made. Artisans mostly use silk yarns or wool to weave the carpets. The carpet has fine finishing with intricate designs, making them distinct from any other carpet.

    Papier Mache

    Papier mache is an old form of handicrafts in Jammu and Kashmir. It is made up of the pulp of paper and adhesive solution.

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    The paper is soaked in water for a few days then mixed with an adhesive solution. It is then molded, painted and polished. The art of papiermache uses original gold painted items making it quite expensive.

    Woods Carvings

    Wood carvings is one of the oldest arts practiced in Kashmiri. The craftsmen carve some of the best intricate wood designs. The art of carving furniture and other decorative items requires a high degree of skill and craftsmanship.

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    The craftsmen use wood from walnut and chinar of Kashmir. This is because the wood has fine texture and pattern. The popular types of carving practiced in Kashmir are raised, engraved, undercut and plain.

    Chain Stitch

    Chain Stitch is natively known as jalakdozi. It is a stitch done with a hook. The rugs are made of hand-made cloth or hessian cloth.

    The embroidery is done on traced designs, ranging from floral patterns to animal and human forms. This stitch is done on rugs, wall hangings, cushion covers, and duvets covers.

  • The Art of Pottery in India

    The art of making decorative vessels using clay is one of the oldest forms of art. In India, it is one of the oldest crafts that is still being practiced. Pottery adorns majority of Indian homes because of its exquisite and elegant features.

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    Pottery is the art of making earthenware using moist clay and then drying them. Drying is done either by exposure to the sun, fire, baking in kilns or ovens.

    Indian pottery comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. This craft is used to make every type of earth-ware like cooking vessels, food bowls, storage red pots, urns, flower pots and decorative pots.

    The raw materials used in making pottery are clay and water which can be found throughout the country.

    Image Credit - pixabay Image Credit - pixabay

    There are two popular methods of making pottery in India. They either use their hands or wheel to makes pottery. There are different styles or types of pottery in India.

    • Glazed pottery
    • Unglazed pottery
    • Terracotta
    • Papier-Mache

    Unglazed Pottery

    This is one of the ancient forms of pottery in India. There are three different types of unglazed glazed pottery.

    • Paper thin pottery with makes use of incised patterns.
    • Pottery made using the scraffito technique, which involves polishing and painting intricate patterns.
    • The third is polished pottery, which makes use of stylized patterns of arabesques.

    Glazed Pottery

    Glazed pottery is popular in many states in India. This kind of pottery has a white background and the patterns are green and blue. Delhi and Khurja are renowned for the blue pottery. This pottery does not use clay, instead, it is covered with finely ground glass and then fired.

    Terracotta

    This style of pottery is mainly involved sculptures. This form of pottery is commonly displayed in places of worship. In the rural parts of India, women make decorative sculptures to adorn their homes. During festivals, they also use clay to make idols of their gods and goddesses.

    Papier Mache

    Papier Mache is an old form of pottery in India. It makes use of pulp paper and adhesive solution. After soaking the paper in the solution for a few days, the paper is molded and painted.

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