Shopping is an art and it is best developed in countries as diverse as India. Indeed, a paradise for shoppers, India boasts being one of the most dynamic retail industries in the world. Ideal gifts to take home from India would be something that comes from its unique handicraft and handloom traditions. The handicraft and handloom reflect the best of India; the fine craftsmanship, intense labour, appropriate usage of local resources and the creative bend can clearly be witnessed from variety of Indian-made products. In other words, one can be spoilt for choices as each state and province in India specializes in making range of items. Taking one of these items is like taking slice of India home. Yes, there could be constraint over the size and weight of the product allowed in the luggage, therefore one has to be careful while choosing a gift from India.
India is the land of cultural exuberance and composite tradition that marks this blend has found full express in heart-warming creations of master crafts persons. India is also a country where time honoured tradition co-exists in perfect harmony with the best of modernity. The luxurious five star hotels, huge shopping arcades and emporia somewhat akin to the ones in New York, London or anywhere else in the world, demonstrate all this very well.
The crafts persons of India not only shined in enameled Jewellery but also enameled utensils such as wine-cups, finger bowls, pillboxes etc., in both gold and silver, sometimes studded with jewels. Ideal Place to Shop.
India is the largest brass and copper-making region in the world. For articles made out of one or more pieces of metal. In most form use of ornaments, utensils and showpieces.
Metal ornaments have a rave in all ages and times. The attractive contrasts in colors and textures of metal has led to evolution of metal ornamentation through techniques like inlay, overlay, appliqué, fixing of colors.
Enameling is the art of coloring and ornamenting the surface of the metal by fusing over it various mineral substances. The beauty of the article depends on the skill and resources of the worker and the excellence of the material employed. The range of the colors obtained on gold is much greater than that on silver, copper and brass.
Skillful potters of India are famous for their eye-catching articles of functional and decorative value. Surahis, large sized containers, jars, stools, tiles, earthenware dipped in vegetable colors are some of the famous pottery work of India. Beautiful pottery and other ware made of ceramics, is also one of the famous Indian buys.
Indian craftsmen are skilled in making cut, shaped, polished beautiful objects from odd blocks of stone and marble. The range of items include tableware, plates, bowls, food containers, candle stands. Models carved in marble of the Taj, vases, boxes, lamps, plates, bowls and pitchers are some of the popular items produced here.
Painstakingly carved and inlaid, the wooden articles of India are quite a rave with all lovers of woodcarvings. The range of designs includes vine leaf patterns, floral, geometric and figurative decoration, in addition to the traditional anguri and takai carvings, jali, brass, copper and ivory inlay work. Woodcarvings made out of sandalwood and rosewood is famous in India.
Lacquering on the wood products add color, sparkle, and smoothness thereby imparting lustrous finesse. India is well known for ornamental lacquering involving intricate patterns like zigzag and dana work, atishi, abri or cloud and nakashi.
Apart from marvelous prototypes of various gods and goddesses, the wall plaques, statues and toys made of rosewood; sandalwood and teakwood are famous artistic woodcarvings of southern India.
The land that spells royalty is the home of the nameless precious and semi-precious stones like mother of pearl, diamonds, emeralds, rubies, sapphires, lapis lazuli, aquamarines, amethysts and others. The process of transforming a rough stone into a shapely object needs great skill in which Indian craftsmen are adapted to the core. Ideal Place to Shop: Kashmir, Rajasthan and Mumbai.
India is one of the most important countries for the manufacture and export of costume Jewellery. It has the largest production base for glass beads. Varanasi, Purdilpur and Mathura are famous for glass bead, stringing glass and wooden beads necklaces, Ferozabad is rich in lightweight beads, German Jewellery is found in Agra, Meerut for metal Jewellery, silver ornaments in Rajasthan and Haryana, Rohtak for peasant Jewellery and head ornaments in Maharashtra.
India’s tribal Jewellery is major attraction within the country as well as abroad. The adornment fashioned from flowers, leaves, stones of creepers are unbelievably charming, shells, seeds and berries being the most celebrated
The origin of painting is traced to a moving legend recorded in the Chitralakshana – the earliest Indian treatise on painting. The Chola rulers in the south, made extensive use of Kolam, floor designs. Only women do these decorations.
The paintings on walls have deeper themes, also narrative in a series of panels. Wall paintings are usually made at festivals and special occasions like marriages. Folk paintings attain a high standard and artists won a great fame in this art.
Of all the art forms in the Mughal period, miniature paintings are painstakingly painted creations that depict the events and lifestyle of the Mughals in their magnificent palaces.
Extreme softness, vivid colors and translucent texture characterize the silk weaving of India. The brocade or kinkab (superb weaving in gold and silver) has wide variety of techniques and styles. The brocades are distinguished by poetic names like chand tara, dhupchaon, mazchar, morgala, bulbul chasm.
The stitch by its sheer provides ornamentation to the material. The charm lies in the minuteness of the floral motifs. Stitches used are satin stitch, button stitch, hole stitch, dar stitch, netting and appliqué work which brings a charming shadowy effect on lace. The heavier work is called zardozi while the embroidery done in metal wire is called zari work.
Hand block printing in India was the chief occupation of the chippas – a community of printers. They use metal or wooden blocks to print designs on the fabrics by hand. Ideal.
As India is a land of various communities, one can fall into temptation of buying at least half a dozen ethnic dresses from various parts of the country.
India offers a superb selection of baskets made of moonj grass. Durable and decorative cane furniture and other articles made here are a major draw as items of export.
Patra furniture is plated with white metal is intricately carved and engraved. This type of furniture is famous even today as it was once adorned in palaces. Lac furniture is also exquisite in variety and embellished with workmanship called Sankheda.
The carpets of India are universally admired not only for their original patterns, fine wool and rich colors, but also for being produced in sizeable quantities of acceptable commercial quality. High quality carpets are produced mostly in three varieties – Persian, Turkoman and Ambusson.
The brilliantly colored durries are also an statement of the imagination of the craftsmen of India. Exciting colors, forms, shapes and vibrant images characterize this delightful art form.
The craftsmen of West Bengal have made use of this product extensively in an exquisite manner to create several l types of floor covering with several hues, sizes and designs, which represent Indian skills par excellence
Shops and offices are generally open from 1000 hrs to 1800 hrs with a lunch break Monday to Saturday. From traditional Sari, Antiques, to Precious Gemstones; India has a plethora for unique shopping. From local bazaars, boutique style handicraft shops to large shopping malls in modern cities. Export of certain antiques is not permitted. Make sure you are aware of relevant custom regulations of your home country.
Buying items containing animal products and support efforts to stamp out trade in wildlife may be regarded as illegal products in your country. Fake reproductions are common. Make sure you know what you are buying especially in the case of antiques or precious gemstones. Feel free to ask our guides in case you wish to know where the genuine handicraft stores are located.
So go ahead, shop to your heart’s delight and take home an exquisite, piece made in India, treasure it whilst on your memorable visit to India.