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    The word ‘Kathputli’ is derived from two different words ‘Kath’ meaning wood and ‘Putli’ meaning doll with no life or a toy. The Kathputli is one of the most ancient and prominent art form of Rajasthan. In fact, according to some historians kathputlis or puppets have existed for more than a thousand years now.

    Kathputli as the name suggests is basically a puppet which moves on the fingers of the puppeteer. This art is not only famous and practiced in Rajasthan but can be witnessed across the country. The level of influence of this art form is such that no traditional fair or festival is complete without this dance. As surprising as it may sound, Rajasthan’s kathputli dance is one of the world’s first art involving traditional puppetry.

    Image Credit - wikimedia Image Credit - wikimedia

    Started as a tradition by some Rajasthani tribes, the puppeteers would travel to different villages carrying self-made puppets and entertain the local audience in fairs and festivals. This was the sole medium of earning money for these tribes. Slowly news about this traditional art form spread across the kingdoms in Rajasthan and the puppeteers were invited to the royal courts to entertain the nobles. They received great honour from the royal kings and queens in the royal courts.

    Today, the puppets are made of mango wood and stuffed with cotton. They are highly ornamented with colourful clothes, sharp facial features and attractive make up. Elongated and stylized eyes are an important feature of these puppets. Oil, colours, pipes are all used in making of the puppets. Finally, the strings are attached to the hands, shoulders and back of the puppets to them dance. While it may look enjoyable and fun, but making the puppets dance on your fingers is not an easy task. It requires years of practice to perform and perfect.

    Other forms of puppetry also exist across India including the famous shadow puppetry, rod puppetry and glove puppetry.

    The traditional Rajasthan Puppetry is one of the most marvellous piece of craft and talent, it has been kept alive till date by the ‘Bhat’ tribe of Rajasthan even today. For the Bhats, puppetry is like worshipping God as it’s the main source of their livelihood.

    While you can catch a glimpse of these kathputlis or puppetry across the nation in fairs and during festivals, there are places and museums where you can find the best work. Some of these places are BhartiyaLok Kala Mandal(Udaipur), ChitrakalaParishad(Bangalore), Crafts Museum(New Delhi) and Jagmohan Palace(Mysore).

  • Celebrating India’s Amazing Handicraft

    India and its citizens have since the beginning of time been creators of several art forms, reflecting their culture, heritage and fulfilling several necessities of the rich and the poor. India’s handicraft ,too, is second to none, with variety of  cultures and sub-cultures existing and varying from each other, it is no wonder that its handicraft sector has given birth to globally famous genres of handicraft. We would like to give a brief introduction to some famous and amazing forms of handicraft which not only adds to the richness of this country’s culture but also is a celebration in itself!

    Madhubani: Madhubani painting is also known as Mithila painting. Natural dyes and pigments are used to create it. With five distinctive and equally impressive styles, namely - Bharni, Tantrik, Nepali, Katchni and Gobar, this art form uses natural dyes and pigments. With time, the Madhubani art form has increased in popularity and is even replicated in various other decorative forms.

    Madhubani paintings in india Image Credit - Wikipedia

    Phulkari: Tracing its root to the women-folk of Punjab, Phulkari, was started in the 19th century. The name “phulkari” translates to flower work in Punjabi, and as the name suggests the art form resembles, the bright colors of flowers and reflects the fertile colors of the fields of Punjab. The appeal of the phulkari is such that it is now a must-have in Punjabi households.

    Phulkari handicrafts from India Image Credit - Wikipedia

    Channapatna Toys: Situated 60kms from the hustle-bustle of Bengaluru, is situated a small town called Channapatna. In the local Kannada language, this town is called Gombegala Ooru, which translates to ‘toy town.’ The artists residing in this ‘tow-town’ make wooden toys, colored in organic colors, in front of the customers. Now, a major tourist destination, 80 % of the population of the town rely on this business for their livelihood

    Channapatna Toys handicrafts from India Image Credit - Wikipedia

    Brass Utensils: A symbol of prosperity, wealth and honor since humans started settling. The Lohars or the early blacksmiths from Rajasthan bought brass sheets from Ahmedabad and created the first brass utensils. Once, a dazzling element in the royal kitchens, they are now found in museums or handed down through generations as family heirlooms.

    Brass Utensils From India Handicrafts

    Kantha : The soft and comfortable material used, makes this a favorite among many.It all began decades ago when grandmothers would sew their old sarees as patchworks and make kanthas. Today, it is done on a larger commercial platform, and with much brighter colors.

    Kantha Handicrafts from India Image Credit - Wikipedia

    Dhana Murti: Mundas - This ethnic tribal group in the Chota Nagpur plateau region use unhusked rice grains to make idols. Rice grains, bamboo slivers, and colored threads are used to make beautiful idols of Indian gods and goddesses like Ganesha or Lakshmi.

    Image Credit - Gaatha.com Image Credit - Gaatha.com

    Ranidongri Baskets :  These popular products trace their origin to Ranidongri, a small town in Madhya Pradesh where local men and women weave baskets as a means of livelihood. Woven in almost every household in Ranidongri, these tokris or baskets are found in different shapes and sizes.

    Ranidogri-basket-handicrafts-india Image Credit - Gaatha.com

    Lappe Ka Kaam: Also popularly known as gota patti or zardousi, is a fine example of Rajasthan’s rich and centuries old royalty. It is a type of applique embroidery - a needlework technique in which patterns or representational scenes are created by the attachment of smaller pieces of fabric. Lappe ka kaam is seen a lot in bridal clothing these days.

    Lappe Ka Kaam handicrafts india

    Blue Pottery: This extremely time-consuming and tedious form of handicraft is worth every second and time. Blue pottery, as the name suggests is due to blue dye that is used. It is the only kind of pottery which does not use clay. A mixture of quartz stone powder, powdered glass, multani mitti, borax, gum and waterform its main composition. The Pink City – Jaipur is known and celebrated for its blue pottery .

    Blue Pottery handicrafts from India Image Credit - handicrafts India

    Kathputli: The famous mascot of Rajasthan, standing one-and-a-half feet tall, are manufactured in Sawai – Madhopur, Bari and Udaipur. They are commonly seen in puppets shows across the country.

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