Kalamkari Works on Fabrics
Handicrafts In Andhra Pradesh Shows Its Creative Side
Arts and crafts in Andhra Pradesh is one of those things that has made Andhra Pradesh famous world over. Right from earlier ages, craftsmen of the state have earned name and fame for their exceptional skill in various areas of craft making, and the magic of hands have been passed onto the present generations from their forefathers. When the skills were transferred down the ladder, with every era, new styles and designs got imbibed in the making of these craft items and due to this, not only do we get the contemporary items, but one can still see the age old works in one form or the other.
'Banjara' literally means nomads. Banjara people who today live in a community called 'Tandas', were once the nomads of yesteryears. Their crafts has been influenced by styles and methods of many communities with whom they have come in contact. And now that they are settled, their crafts have taken a bold shape and carved a different niche for themselves. Women in the group wear huge ivory bangles that must be weighing more than their hand itself. Along with the tattoos on their hand, they always carry their art with them. They stitch some magnificent pieces of cloth studded with impressive mirror work making the clothes, the most exuberant part of their craft culture.
The start of painting in Andhra Pradesh has the most interesting legend behind it. It is said that Lord Narayan was meditating when celestial dancing girls tried to disturb him with their beauty and grace. To teach them a lesson, Lord painted a portrait of a nymph. The portrait was so beautiful that no woman in Heaven and Earth can match the beauty of the lady in the painting. The Celestial dancers were all put to shame when they saw the painting. Lord Vishwakarma was then instructed on art so that he can impart the knowledge to earth people. The earliest paintings were all related to mythology and religion which slowly started to change with time. Though tough to find now a days, long painted scrolls are the most prized possessions of an art lover. You can find such scrolls in Cherial in Warangal District.
Kalamkari and Block Printed Fabrics
Kalamkari is the art of painting on fabrics using a pen. The name Kalamkari is derived from 'kalam' meaning pen and 'kari' means work. Like all other art forms, this too started with designs of religious importance such as images of Gods and scenes from mythology. The art also flourished under the temple guardianship where it was kept alive. Earlier the colors for the designs were extracted plants like indigofera anil and rubia tinctorum but now artificially synthesized indigo and alizarine are used. The main areas in Andhra Pradesh where Kalamkari is done are Machilipatnam and Srikalahasti.
Wood Carving is among the most complex forms of arts and crafts. Not only does it require high level of skills, a carpenter needs to have a lot of perseverance and hard work. In Andhra Pradesh, idols of Gods and mythological figures are the main pieces. However, wooden balustrades, arches, even combs trinkets and musical instruments are also made. There are no specific areas in Andhra Pradesh that are famous for wood carvings. You will finds wooden craft items in all parts of the state.
Hyderabad is one city that is extremely modern while still keeping its age old culture and traditions alive. Pearls in Hyderabad have been a part of Hyderabad since the time of Nizams. The rich Nizams got interested in Pearls and brought in the most expensive and exclusive pearls from all around the world. Since then Hyderabad is famously referred to as 'Pearl City of India'. There are different types of pearls which are distinguished according to their shape and luster. The pearls are then used in various ornaments like bracelets, necklaces, ear rings, rings etc. You can pick the best pearl studded jewelery for yourself from the many famous pearl shops in the Charminar shopping market which have been in operation since many years.
There are different types of metal works practiced in Andhra Pradesh. Bronze works and brassware done in the state are famous all over the country. Statues of gods and goddesses are made of bronze and for other metal crafts, brass is the main metal. There is a form of metal work called Dokra which is prevalent in a small village called Adilabad. It is famous for the fact that no two items are similar and each has its own speciality. Statues of tribal gods and figures of many animal are the main features of this art form. Another uniqueness of Dokra is that although it is primarily made of brass, it has a clay core inside the metal casting. Pembarthi is another small village in Andhra Pradesh that is known throughout India for its exquisite brass handicrafts.
There are not many states in India that come close to giving the same kind of variety and same level of quality. The culturally rich past of Andhra Pradesh is still very evident in the arts and craft items, which gives a very exclusive feel to it. Tread through the traditional markets of Andhra Pradesh and gift yourself some exquisite memorabilia to take back home.