Gujarat - The Heart of Art
A confluence of art, Gujarat offers a wide variety of hand-made artifacts and textiles. Here are some you could look out for on your visit to the State:
Used to decorate entrance to homes, these horizontal strips embroidered in various geometric and floral motifs makes an ideal gift for friends and family. The best work is to be found in bazaars of Bhuj where you can buy it directly from the artists.
Popularized by Bollywood films, as -cholis - these heavily embroidered backless blouses traditionally worn by Rabbar women make for a flamboyant fashion statement, available across Gujarat.
Stitched together in geometric shapes of varied textures and colours interspersed with embroidery patchwork quilts of Gujarat are simply unique. Also available as wall hangings, bed-covers and tablecloths. If you don't have one, pick up one.
They say that no one weaves brocades better than the weavers of Mehsana district. Drop by here to talk to the weavers and pick up an item or two. If old brocade is what you are looking for try the shops at Sonapur Road in Surat for bedspreads, wall pieces and tablecloths made from discarded old brocade pieces.
Used on blouses and skirts worn by women in Saurashtra and Kutch, this exquisite craft of melding cotton with silk can be found in Mandvi, Patan and the Bombay Market in Surat.
Dating back to 17th century the art of block printing is one of the most popular art forms in Gujarat. Printed with vegetable dyes, the fabrics offer an exciting range of soft furnishing and dress material including saris. Look out for the prized Ajrakh range of prints dyed in indigo or deep red colours. Available in old Ahmedabad, east of Sabarmati river.
Bandhini or tie-dye is one of the oldest crafts of Gujarat. One of the most popular centers of bandhini work is Jamnagar, Gujarat, where one can buy shawls, bedcovers, dupattas and saris.
Home to metal work, Gujarat, as one of the most exciting range of traditional metal work available anywhere in India. Look out for the brass utensils, pataris (brass, copper and silver boxes), solid cast chains for swings, betel boxes, cowbells, nutcrackers, trays, tablets and ornamental doors.
The art of weaving double ikat surviesin the small town of Patan where to this day you can pick up saris in traditional designs such as Nari Kunj, Rattan chowk, Parnetar and Chatri. Ask for Salvis they are the most famous weaver family of Patan. The saris are costly, ranging anything from Rs.3,000 to 20,000 but worth you every paisa.
In ancient times, the leather workers would craft leather saddles and boots for the army today they make exquisite toys, bags, mirror frames, shoes and slippers. Decorated with stitch embroidery and mirrors these colourful items can be found in Kutch district of Gujarat.