Himachal Pradesh is one of the best destinations for tourists. Covered by the beautiful peaks of western Himalayas, Himachal is gem of north India. There are very few other states in the country that could match the unbelievable beauty and diversity of Himachal Pradesh. This is the place, which you will like to visit again and again.
Like the beauty of the state, the variety of handicrafts produced by the state is also laudable. People of Himachal Pradesh over the years have developed rich traditions of handicrafts, which are creative and distinctive.
Himachal Pradesh handicrafts
The various kinds of handicrafts available in Himachal Pradesh include woodwork, leather embroidery, metal wares, carpets, painting and woolen textiles. The range of handicrafts found in Himachal is unique to the state. The crafts of this state are vast and portray the artistic skill of the craftsmen.
Thangka is an intricate and brightly colored painting done on cloth –a very famous art of Tibetan artisans. These paintings mostly depict Buddha as well as other gods and goddess. This art is very popular especially with foreign tourists
Himachal also specializes in making fine shawls. Moreover, accessories, embroidery, woolen garments and leather craft of Himachal is extremely precious and popular.
Different categories of Himachal Pradesh handicrafts
Being rich in forests, wood is abundant in Himachal Pradesh and so woodcarving is still a living tradition of the state. Earlier this craft was mostly used in building temples and palaces. However, at present artisans creates intricate designs used in building houses, and also for making other things like low benches, spinning wheels, smoking pipe, cradles, low settees, boxes, serving spoon, rolling pins, wooden utensils, and much more. Moreover, other interesting things like fruit bowls, beer mugs, wooden jewellery, decorative boxes and carved images can also be found carved out of wood.
Like most other states in India, Himachal Pradesh is also rich in traditional paintings. You can see the miniature paintings in art galleries and museums in Himachal, but the true picture of the traditional paintings can be seen in most village houses. The women of the house paint their floors and walls. Moreover, they draw illustrative designs called yantras on the doorstep on ceremonial occasions. The floors are decorated with a white paste made of rice, whereas the walls are painted with colors, which they collect from daily used things such as turmeric powder, red clay, kumkum (a liquid used for make up) and so on.
Thangkas are brightly coloured cloth paintings, which are mostly used as ritual paintings exhibited during some Buddhist festivals. International tourists love these paintings. They generally depict lord Buddha and other deities as well as the wheel of life.
Like Kashmir, Himachal also produces fine and precious Shawls, which are in high demand by tourists from all over the world. These shawls are weaved in the cottage industries of Himachal and are available in plain and patterned.
Jewellery of Himachal Pradesh consists of beads and metals, which are worn by the local people with their traditional attire. These include pendants, necklaces, rings and so on
The metals used in metalwork or metal carving are brass, copper, iron, tin and bell metal. These are used to make exquisite statuettes, lamps, incense burners, low settees of silver or brass, vessels and musical instruments mostly used in temples. Moreover, some objects are also made for daily use at home.
Stone carving is another such craft, which was mostly used for temples in the early days. You can see splendid samples of the stone carving in various temples in Himachal.
Manufacturers of Himachal Pradesh handicrafts
1. The Himalayan bodh Women's Co-op. Ind. Society Ltd is a manufacturer and exporter of handloom & handicrafts in Kullu.
Address: House No. 83, Ward 7, Gompa Rd., Manali Kullu, Himachal Pradesh, India
2. Kartikay International deals in manufacturing and exporting paper bags, recycled craft, writing printing paper, paper sweet boxes, virgin craft and other handicrafts.
Address: VPO JassurTeh Nurpur, Distt. Kangra, Himachal Pradesh, India
3. Maharaja Carpets deal in manufacture of mats, carpets, woolen shawls.
Address: Plot No.-9, Phase-2, Industrial Area, Sauli Khad 175001 Mandi, Himachal Pradesh
Exporters or export industry of Himachal Pradesh handicrafts
1. Himachal Commercial Corporation is the exporter of handicrafts in Himachal.
Address: New Lands, Shimla 171001 Himachal Pradesh
2. Kangra Mahila Sabha is another organization that is associated with exporting handicrafts in the state.
Address: V.P.O. Rait, Tehsil Shahpur, Kangra, Himachal Pradesh
3. The Ganpati Handloom, Handicraft & Weavers also export handicrafts and handloom in Himachal
Address: Upliftment Co-Op. Ind.Society Ramshila, A.B.Kullu, Himachal Pradesh
The unique crafts of Himachal Pradesh are liked by one and all. There is much demand of the same in the international market. To open space of handicraft exports internationally, the state keeps doing many activities that create awareness about these products of the state. The major markets of Himachal handicrafts include UK and Canada along with countries like UAE, Saudi Arabia and so on.