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A Look at India's Crafts

India is rich in artistic works. It is often confusing for visitors to this country to decide just which crafts they will carry home with them. The choices are many, widely varied and often inexpensive. The finest quality merchandise can often be found in the bazaars that populate larger cities such as Delhi, Munbai in Bombay, Kolkata in Calcutta and Chennai in Madras. Literally thousands of places, from quaint shops to roadside stands, sell crafts to visitors. Rajasthan and Kashmir are the two largest producers of crafts made for mass distribution.

In Rajasthan, you will find bargains on fabrics, jewelry, glass, pottery, rugs and camel-hide products. Carpets, shawls and embroidery dominate the products produced in Kashmir. These are often considered to be of the finest quality available. The many tribal communities of India produce unusual crafts that are popular with tourists. These crafts include wire animal tarakashi of Orissa and large bronze sculptures in Nagaland.

The Himalaya areas produce a vast amount of silver, turquoise and coral jewelry. Indian jewelry shops specialize in bright, 22-carat gold items. Many of the local tribes trade in their traditional silver jewelry for the more widely preferred gold. Often jewelers have bags of silver jewelry for sale by the pound. Brass and copper are worked into trays, cups and plates. The best of these can be found in Varanast. No mention of India's crafts would be complete without a mention of Bidriwork, a specialty of Aurangabad and Hyderbad. This craft is a matte gunmetal alloy finely inlaid with silver and gold. It is then used in making boxes, vases and huggas, or water pipes. These are sure to be treasured by all who obtain one.

This article only touches on the rich craft culture of India. Spend plenty of time looking at the variety and choosing. You are bound to find the perfect souvenir of your trip to India.


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