Category Archives: Handicrafts

All the crafts made by incredible hands.This category will not include weaves.



                                                Paithani- a poem hand woven in silk and gold

Paithani sari
Paithani-worn by the rich class

It has got its name from the town of its origin – Paithan, which is a town 40 kms away from the city of Aurangabad in the state of Maharashtra. The art of weaving the Paithani flourished in 200 B.C during the Satvahana era. The origin of this weave is an ancient city known as Supratishthapuram indicated in ancient texts in Marathi.A Paithani is passed down from generations to generations as a precious heirloom. Real Paithani is hand woven in silk and gold or silver threads.

Paithani weaveIntricate border and pallu with motifs of a depicting nature area specialty of the Paithani. The Paithani symbolizes auspiciousness because of the use of silk and gold, which is symbolic of purity and considered sacred. The motifs show that man should co-exist in harmony with nature and its elements. A Paithani sari can take anywhere between 2 months to 2 years to get woven. The time taken depends on the design of the Pallu and the borders.

The art of traditional weaving of a Paithani hasn’t changed a bit down the centuries. This makes it even more antique and precious with a great heritage value attached to it. The silk thread that is used in the Paithani is very delicate in nature and has to be handled preciously and very carefully.the silk is dyed in natural dyes procured naturally from leaves,flowers,tree-skins,soils and lamp-soot. Ancient technique of tapestry weaving where warp and weft threads are weaved together using handloom is practiced today which offers the weaver a complete control over every thread and thus makes the Each Paithani sari special and different.The method of interlocking is used when more than one colour is to be used.

A Paithani Weaver
A Paithani Weaver
asawali motif
Asawali Motif of the Paithani credited to the Mughal era

The motifs which are a speciality of the Paithani are usually depicting nature and have been significant and respective to the rulers who gave their patronage to this incredibly beautiful weave.Some of them are the Asawali-a flowing vine motif credited to the Peshwa period.The floral motifs are credited to the Mughal era;especially to Aurangzeb,whose contribution to help this weave flourish is unparalleled.




Bangadi-Mor Motif
Bangadi-Mor Motif


The Bangle-Peacock motif called the ‘Bangadi-Mor,where Bangadi means bangle which is considered auspicious and signifies the completeness of a woman.The Peacock signifies beauty,royalty,wisdom and dignity;it is also believed to be a guardian.The peacock also has the capability to renew its feathers every year signifying a new start in life and is associated with goddess Saraswati who represents love,kindness,knowledge and luck.

Tota-Maina motif represents the parrot who is considered as a sign of love and passion.

Lotus or Kamal Motif
Lotus or Kamal Motif

The Lotus or Kamal motif is derived from the murals of the cave paintings of the Ajanta caves which signifies rebirth and purity.



Paithani sari
A Paithani Sari



The coconut border is very traditional,as the coconut is considered as the fruit of Gods. It symbolises complete usefulness and self-less form of service to be rendered by all mankind to others.

The weavers literally weave a legacy very painstakingly, sometimes foregoing their vision and bones due to sitting for many hours continuously weaving the Paithani.



Long Live The Paithani!



bidri 2

The art of Bidriware today is an purely Indian innovation of an age-old Persian art.It originated in the Deccan region  of southern India which comprised of  parts of the present day states of Karnataka,Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.

bahamani kingdom

Bidar was the epicentre of this craft as it was the once the capital of the Bahamani sultanate which was established by Alauddin Hassan Bahaman Shah  who was possibly of a Tajik-Persian descent. Persian craftsmen used this while doing the forts and palaces of the Bahamani rulers.

The art of Bidri is divided into 3 forms depending on the depth of embedding done on each product and also on the material used for embedding.First form is called the Nashan or deeply cut work,second form is the Zar Nashan which is the raised work and thirdly the Tarkashi which comprises the wire inlay work.

The raw material used is an alloy of zinc,copper and other non-ferrous materials.This alloy is then melted at nearly 800 degrees Fahrenheit.This molten alloy is then poured into a desired mould.You then get a roughly casted piece which is smoothened with filers and sandpaper.

A solution of Copper sulphate is then applied to the cast so as to enable the artist to draw a visible design over it with the help of a sharp metal stylus. After the designing is done,the pattern is engraved by hand using steel chisels.

artist at work
A Bidri artisan at work


The inlaying work is done at this stage which is an extremely intricate process.Silver wires are hammered expertly into the engraved grooves of the design.This cast is then soaked in a solution of sal ammoniac mixed with the soil of the Bidar forts which has special oxidising property.Due to this the zinc-copper alloy background turns into a deep black leaving the silver inlay work intact to contrast incredibly well with the black background.

Finally,coconut oil is applied to give the product a lustrous shine.

The Bidriware range is exhaustive ranging from boxes,vases,goblets,hookahs,jewellery,ashtrays table stationery to animal figures and more…these products are sold extensively through the state owned Cauvery Emporiums at reasonable prices. You will come across many other stores selling Bidri products via online stores too.


sari pins
Sari Pins


It is a beautiful craft which needs to survive for itself and for the many other incredible hands who give it a form and life.Let us support it too.




toy3photo (2)Toy 1 Toy 2

As you travel towards Mysore by road on the Bangalore-Mysore highway, some 60 kms away you will come across a huge big hoarding across the road inviting you to the city of toys, Channapata.

You just cannot miss the shops dotting both the sides of the highway. They seem to be bursting with life with all the brilliantly coloured toys!

Channapata, in its native language Kannada is also called ‘Gombegala Ooru’ which means toys town in English.

 We stopped at one of the shops and were amazed to see the variety of toys. There were dolls, horses, butterflies, and educational learning kits for toddlers, which included abacus, numerals and alphabets too and all beautifully hand crafted in wood. The wooden bangles, belts and necklaces caught my eye; they were unbelievably crafted into different shapes and sizes, which amazed me. The list is really exhaustive! I forgot they crafted furniture too!

 The shopkeeper Kumar informed us that these were made using ‘Doodhi wood’ which was favoured because it is light in colour and hence the colour dyes would be rightly reflected and also this wood could easily carved because of its softness. The dyes used were all vegetable organic dyes- Turmeric is used for the colour yellow, indigo powder for blue, and Kanchi kumkum powder for orange and red colour. So that made these toys very child friendly and safe. The high glossy shine, which the toys imparted, was not due to any varnish being used but the toys were polished with a particular blade of grass, which had the right abrasive qualities.

 This craft form was dying because of onslaught of the Chinese toys in the market but thanks due to the timely intervention of the Karnataka government, designers who supported this craft with designs promising a better utility to the customers and of course the e-commerce websites which sold these incredible toys at competitive rates, which has lead to better tidings to this toy-making industry.

 I bought a few key chains, pen-holders, a belt ,a necklace and bangles before I resumed my journey towards Mysore.