Gujarat has an ancient history and a glorious cultural heritage. The age old crafts of the place have survived till date. The art and crafts are preserved and are even practiced widely across the state. The handicrafts of Gujarat are famous for their color scheme, detail and intricate work and artistic appearance. These handicrafts are a product of skilled craftsmanship of India. There is a wide variety available in handicrafts. One can choose from silver jewelry, embroidery, furniture, clay items, handmade durries (carpets), stone crafts and other materials.
Brass and Iron Items
One of the popular craft of the region is items in Brass and Iron.
These items are best found at former princely state of Saurashtra and
Kutch. The items available here are fine beetle nut crackers, copper
coated iron bells, knives and cutlery. These are made by descendents of
the erstwhile court sword smiths and jewelers. Brass items are also
manufactured at a large scale here. The brass industry of Jamnagar is
one of the largest in India. The items offered here are brass and iron
utensils, cutlery, knives and scissors. One of the best places to buy
such stuff is Anjar.
Pottery is one of the oldest handicrafts of the state and is being
practiced since the ancient times. The creativity of the potter in
molding the clay in a well proportioned utensil is just amazing. Later,
these utensils are painted with vibrant colors to make them attractive.
Potters in the Kutch region also make beautiful Terracotta toys. Those
in the Aravallis and Chhota Udepur tribal lands are proficient in making
long necked terracotta figurines of the Gora Dev (tribal Horse-God).
Another place to buy good decorative pieces of terracotta is Poshina.
You can pick a host of other items from Kutch, like mud wall paintings,
plaques, inset with mirrors, etc.
The art of making wooden furniture is practiced primarily in southern
Gujarat. Sankheda, near Vadodara, is known for its lacquered wooden
furniture. The craft of making wooden items includes rounding the wood
with tools. This is followed by painting it with floral and abstract
designs in bright shades of gold, silver, maroon, green, vermilion, and
brown. This is done with the help of sticks dipped in a colored mixture
of dyes, powdered zinc, lac and resin. Mahuva, Surat and Kutch are also
famous for making lacquered furniture similar to that of Sankheda.
Apart from this, the artisans at Surat, Kutch and Saurashtra are
skilled at making beautiful designs and intricate filigreed appearance
of lace on wood. Rajkot is famous for its Minakari furniture and offers
attractive low slung chairs, Indian style sofa sets, chairs, centre
tables and settees. Wood work is also practiced at places like Jetpur,
Kutch and Pethapur village of Gandhinagar district. Here you can buy old
wooden blocks used for printing fabrics which can be joined into a table
top, decorative screen or a partition or used as door knobs, ornamental
pieces or paper weights.
Embroidery is one of the most delicate handicrafts practiced in
Gujarat. The art of embroidery is primarily practiced by the wives of
herdsmen, nomads and agriculturists, as a second source of income. The
patterns vary with the community and region. There is a wide variety to
choose from, like Bavalia embroidery, Banni embroidery, Rabari
embroidery, as well as the embroidery done by the communities of Ahir,
Jats, Sodha Rajputs, Mutwa and Mukka. Apart from the usual embroidery
work, the state is also famous for the Gold embroidery done on fabrics.
Gold Embroidery is an ancient craft, practiced since the ancient times.
The Zari work (gold embroidery) of Gujarat dates back to the Mughal
period. Surat is the biggest and the most significant zari manufacturing
centers of India. The Zari work is practiced mainly in gold and silver
threads. It is a detailed and meticulous process. The items available in
the market range from decorative boarders, shoe uppers and evening bags
to accessories. One of the most popular items here is Kinkhab, which is
woven using gold and silver threads.
Dhurries, carpets, blankets and rugs are still woven on primitive pit
looms in the villages of Kutch. The artisans weave the designs with
their hands and work on the machines operated by foot pedals. These
carpets are known for their beautiful patterns, contrasting color
schemes and intricate weaving. The durries available here are made from
wool, goat hair and cotton. As a result, handloom weaving is an
important occupation in villages, situated on the Ahmedabad - Bhavnagar
Silver jewelry is the specialty of the state of Gujarat. The premier
centers of silver ornaments are Rajkot and Ahmedabad. Other than this,
Kutch is also known for silver engravings and ornaments. You can also
pick tribal jewelry in silver from Poshina. Some nice daggers and knives
with beautiful sheaths and hilts can also be bought from here. Khambhat
(Cambay) is known for the ancient craft of stone cutting and bead
making. Many precious and semi precious stones are cut and polished here
along with Agate. It is mined in the hills along Gulf of Kambhat. They
are finally converted into polished ornaments and utensils.