15 Otherworldly Gujarati Handicrafts Definitely Worth A Bargain!
You can never go wrong with handicrafts, because they never go out of style! In India, culture and traditions breathe through these quirky hand-made articles. Every state has its own specialty. In this blog, we cover Gujarati handicrafts!
“And I’m proud of its rich and varied heritage.” When was the last time you said this out loud? Back in school when we all took the pledge of India, right? And giggled at the bit, “All Indians are my brothers and sisters.” Well, well! Our brothers and sisters from a timeless era have not only passed on to us the funny bones, but also a vibrant cultural heritage. And could we be any more proud? Read on to uncover the best of Gujarati handicrafts.
Gujarati handicrafts reflect the life of Gujarati people and their culture. From exquisite tie-dyes to intricate hand block printing, a lot goes into these sophisticated unique items. Colours, patterns, stiches, embroidery and more together become art and craft, here in Gujarat.
Bandhej or bandhani fabric is produced from superfine cotton – mulmul (muslin), on which the tie-and-dye technique is used. It’s famous for its detailed design and patterns that show glimpses of Gujarati culture. Jamnagar, Mandvi and Bhuj are the places to get your hands on best of the bandhani.
The Salvi community in Gujarat make the hand-woven Patola sarees. A unique tie-dye method (ikat) is used to make identical patterns on both sides of the cloth. There are mainly four designs of Patola sarees and you can find the best ones in Patan, Gujarat.
#3 Bead Work
A fine artwork that is created by joining two to three beads together, this Gujarati handicraft is a must have! Clothes, artefacts, necklaces, motifs, bangles, earrings, patterns, torans and more are decorated by using the beadwork technique. The artistic tribal community (kathis) of Vadodara, Dahod and Panchmahal specialise in this distinctive craft.
Zari embroidery dates back to the Mughal era, making it one of the oldest Gujarati handicrafts. Zari sarees and other zari-worked materials like laces, ribbons, borders, fringes, edges, trims and more are produced on the largest scale in Surat, Gujarat. Here are different types of zari work.
Tilla or Marori work
#5 Hand-block Printing
The oldest block printing centre in the world, Gujarat, is where you will get different and the most beautiful hand-block printed fabrics. Abstract designs, flowers and leaves, stars, forests, vegetables, and tombs with unique colour combinations are amongst the most renowned patterns. Here are few types of patterns and where you can find them in Gujarat.
Ajarakh printing in Kutch
Vegetable prints in Ahmedabad and Kutch
Batik prints from villages of Kutch
Saudagiri Prints from Ahmedabad
Hand-carved wooden furniture, wooden chests and boxes and other quirky woodcrafts can be found in the southern parts of Gujarat. You can witness this ancient art in its finest form in many temples and old homes of Gujarat. Surat, Saurashtra and Kutch are famous for exotic furniture carvings Rajkot for its Minakari and Sankheda for its lacquered furniture.
#7 Embroidery Work
This has to be on the top of your Gujarati handicrafts shopping list! Every part of Gujarat offers its own unique embroidery designs in terms of colours, stiches, patterns, shapes, thread-work and more, making this craft quite diverse. Gujarat is world-famous for its huge variety and styles of embroideries. Here are popular types of embroidery work.
Mahajan, Kathipa, Rabari and Kanbi embroideries from Bhavnagar, Jamnagar, Rajkot, and Junagadh regions of Saurashtra
Ari and Soof embroideries from the district of Banaskantha
Banni, Ahir, Soof, Neran, Mutwa and Kharek and Kutch embroideries from Kutch
#8 Applique & Patch Work
Applique is one of the most vibrant and oldest Gujarati handicrafts. These are crafted by Bharwad women, who use scrap and waste materials to create different patches and patterns. Colourful patchworks, jigsaw styled designs make the fabrics unique and graceful. These creative designs can be found on wall hangings, apparels, quilts, camel saddle covers and more. Saurashtra, Patan, Banaskantha and Kutch are famous for applique and patch-work fabrics.
#9 Clay & Teracotta Work
Indian pottery is famous worldwide and a major contribution comes from the state of Gujarat. Pots, figurines, and toys like horses, bulls, cows, and buffaloes are the perfect examples of Gujarati clay art form. An interesting fact is that a community in this state called ‘Dangi’ worship their own clay gods. You can visit Kutch and Chhota Udaipur to purchase the best clay and terracotta figurines and toys.
#10 Tangaliya Work
Only found in the Surendranagar region in Gujarat, Tangaliya is a 700-year-old hand-woven textile craft made by the Dangasia community. This unique pattern is used for making duppatas, shawls, dress material and products of Home décor and more.
#11 Warli Painting
Warli Painting is not just any other art form; it is really a way of life. The tribal community who resides in the border area of Gujarat create these marvellous paintings, which reflect the many facets of Gujarati traditions, cultures and their day-to-day life. Today, you will find Warli patterns not just on walls, but also on sarees, dress materials, shawls, bags etc.
#12 Rabari Embroidery
Rabari community from Kutch practices the Rabari embroidery that involves intricate work of mirrors in various sizes and shapes. The design depicts significant events, rituals and life values. Clothes, purses, pillow covers, wall hangings and more are decorated with Rabari patterns. Most of the arid regions of Gujarat have markets where you can find these special Gujarati handicrafts.
#13 Leather Work
There are many leather items you can purchase when in Gujarat like mirror frames, batwa (a kind of purse), mojdi (traditional footwear), cushion covers, bags and more. All these are adorned with beautiful embroideries, mirror work and colourful tassels. People of Meghwal community have mastered this craft over the years. You can get the best leather items in Khavda village of Kutch.
#14 Rogan Painting
Rogan painting is a special technique by which a cloth is embossed with detailed lacquer-work designs. This craft that showcases the true spirit of India is made by the communities of Niruna village, near Bhuj. Interestingly, Rogan paintings find its origins in Iran. This craft is available in the form of tablecloth, wall hangings, sarees, curtains, skirt borders and more.
Last but not the least on the list of Gujarati handicrafts is the state’s traditional jewellery. Precious stones embellished in gold, silver, iron and other metals make for antique jewellery like necklaces, bangles, earrings and more. Each village and each of its community have their own designs and patterns. You can go on a jewellery shopping spree in major cities like Surat and Ahmedabad.
So, what are you waiting for? Hop aboard The Deccan Odyssey and don’t just explore this lively state but also indulge in a retail therapy of Gujarati handicrafts.
About The Author
Lost in the books of CA, Khushboo Sikawat always wondered how it would be like to travel and write for a living; for after all, she wasn’t a number person. Finally, she decided to make her dream a reality! A travel writer now, she finds adventure in exploring new places and encountering different cultures. Apart from that, she also loves binge-watching animated films and reading books 😀 You can follow her on Instagram @sparklingwords