Rajasthan is a desolate desert landscape painted with mainly Rajasthan is a desolate desert landscape painted with mainly monochrome – golden yellow and shades of brown. To make up for the absence of color around, the Rajasthani folk have a vibrant and vivid color palate when it comes to their dresses and everything else they use. Rajasthan has a rich heritage of arts and crafts. From grand palaces and gardens to clothes, shoes and ornaments and carpets everything is so beautifully crafted here that Rajasthan has earned the title ‘treasure trove of Indian handicrafts’.
While walking in the bazaar next to the famous Hava Mahal in Jaipur, you feel like Alice in Wonderland. It is a treat to the eyes. You see such flamboyance of bright colored textiles with gorgeous stripes of Laheriya print or striking ‘tie and dye’ Bandhani prints. You also see hand block printed textiles with traditional motifs. Their color combinations are sometimes very unusual, but the effect is always dramatic.
Rajasthan is also famous for its jewelry, mainly in silver and Kundan (Pure gold foil). Rajasthani Meenakari is world renowned. The craft of fusing vibrant colors in the grooves of silver ornaments was brought in from Persia in the 17th century and has flourished here. Alongside the traditional Zumkas (dangling umbrella shaped earrings) you will find contemporary shapes and designs fit to go with any western attire. The semiprecious gemstones jewelry here is exquisite. Starting from Cat’s eyes to Moonstone to amethyst to emeralds and rubies, every kind of gemstone is available here. You also get a wide range of design options. Making a choice can be a tough but very pleasurable task. You get a large variety of earrings, bangles, bracelets, finger rings, toe rings, and anklets.
Carpets and dhurries from Rajasthan are well known too. Carpets are woolen and hand knotted. The dhurries are like cotton quilts. They are so beautifully made that you can easily consider putting them up as wall decorations. You find a great variety of hand embroidered wall hangings, typically using a Mochitaka or chain stitch. The color combinations and intricate designs in all these items come with a high-quality finish of each tiniest detail. Once again you do get choices of traditional designs and motifs or more contemporized ones.
Rajasthani Juttis or Mojaries (shoes) is another ‘must have’ for both, men and women. Juttis are usually made of camel leather, with a typical pointed front, and plain or embroidered in lovely colors and golden and silver threads. These are both dressy and extremely comfortable to wear.
Marble and ivory craft from Rajasthan is world famous. The intricate carvings and designs on the smallest boxes to table tops are a real treat to the eyes. The designs are exquisite and just looking at them is extremely rewarding. You can choose from a variety of showpieces and knick-knacks like coasters, paperweights, pin cushions, curtain rings, and tonnes of other tiny useful items. Wooden dolls dressed beautifully can be used as hangings or like puppets to tell stories. The puppet shows are very entertaining.
Rajasthani miniature paintings, murals, and frescos are wonderful too. Each painting will have a story to tell. The stories are mainly from Krishna’s life- his love life. But you will find snapshots of Ramayana, and Mahabharata as well. Wildlife is another common theme in these paintings.
Blue pottery brought from Persia a couple of centuries ago is mesmerizing. Made from Multani mitti (clay), quartz and sodium sulfate the blue pottery offers a wide range of items from vases to boxes of various sizes.
Just one round of the Jaipur bazaar and you know why Rajasthan is the Trove of the treasure of Indian Handicrafts.