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Arts and Crafts in Telangana

Telangana in South India is a powerhouse of creativity that is prevalent in the arts and crafts collection. The 29th state of India, Telangana, was newly formed on the 2nd of June 2014. It is the youngest state in India and is known for its prominent artworks, handicrafts, rich cultural history, and scenic beauty. The treasure trove of handicrafts and arts, Telangana, is also one of India's wealthiest economies, but still, many inhabitants rely on the handicraft industry. Telangana retains the title of one of the best destinations in India for the art shopping experience. Every district of Telangana has its roots associated with intriguing arts and crafts. To promote tourism, Telangana State Development Corporation Ltd was established in the state. After its establishment, Golkonda Handicraft is the official brand of arts and crafts of Telangana.

The effort behind this is Telangana State Development Corporation Ltd wants to expand the reach of artistic handicrafts and make it as wide as they can. The idea was initiated to preserve the artistic values of Telangana’s inhabitants living and working in different craft pockets of Telangana. The joint capital of Telangana, Hyderabad, which is a 2-3 hours ride away, has a strong presence of handicrafts in the market. Guests can shop various arts and crafts from all over Telangana’s different regions in Hyderabad. All these efforts constitute that Telangana society has a great enthusiasm to promote their artisans and handicrafts.

What Sort of Arts and Crafts Are Found in Telangana?

Looking from the historical lens, several dynasties once used to rule here. It has the influence of Buddhists, Mughals, Persians, Britishers, and Indians as well. The blend of influences of different dynasties in Telangana could be observed in the artistic temper of the arts and crafts villages in Telangana. Its artistic values come from the different tribes and regions of Telangana. The inhabitants use traditional creation methods, from paintings to wood and metal handicrafts, including international repute textiles. Hyderabad, the joint capital of twin states - Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, is the cornerstone of crafts and arts. Over many decades, Hyderabad has listed itself as one of the best handicrafts hubs of India. Once you visit it, you will understand why the newly formed Telangana is also celebrated for its traditional roots.

A few of the famous handicrafts globally known in Telangana include pearl jewelry, intricate stone carvings, and hand-printed cotton curtains. There is something undoubtedly magical about the arts and crafts of Telangana as they are unique, eye-catching, expressive, and intricate. A visit to Telangana will reveal to you how the artisan crafts have been around for centuries and passed down to families, from generation to generation.

We present to you why you must forget ubiquitous handicrafts emporium.

Here are the 12 best arts and crafts of Telangana:

  • Bidri Craft

Bidri Craft or Bidriware is a unique art of silver engraved on the metal. It is a craftsmanship that is inspired by metal handicraft. Easily found in most handicraft shops in Telangana and Hyderabad, this is a unique metalwork technique of decoration used to create design and pattern. In the process, silver inlaying constitutes a blackened alloy of zinc and copper. As a result, the contrasting color effect is striking. History states that Bidri Craft was first incepted in Persia, but it was the Indian concept of introducing zinc as the craft's primary metal. Its history dates back to the 14th century AD under the sovereign power of Bahamai Sultans. For many locals, tourists including domestic and international, Bidri Craft is the symbol of opulence and wealth. A few decorative items made by this art are a flower vase, and jewelry, and bangles. Bidri Craft has originated from the nearby town of Bidar in Karnataka. You can go on a guided trip to or from Bidar to attend the workshop to see how and where Bidriware is made.

  • Banjara Needle Crafts

As the name suggests, this craft has been inspired by the nomads of Telangana. These tribal Banjaras are known to be the descendants of European Gypsies who migrated to the deserted area of Rajasthan in the erstwhile era. The key element that makes Banjara Tribe different is their vibrant color attires and jewelry. The people from this tribe are extremely perfectionist in embroidery and mirror work on tapestry. The combination of original fabrics, simple needles, and embroidery threads, when combined together, comes up with an outstanding art piece. As we mentioned, Banjara Needle Crafts was incepted in India's northern part, Rajasthan; the tribal Banjaras migrated to Deccan Plateau during the 17th century, under the sovereign powers of Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb. Since then and has now, the nomads have scattered all around the Deccan Plateau and live in the villages, which in the local language is called “Tandas.” Colorful Ghagra, choli, and odinis have intricate embroidery following the geometrical patterns like square, diamond, and triangle. They use colorful threads in embroidery, which signifies the vibrancy in the lifestyles of Banjaras. Their craft is widely sold across India and purchased by both Indians and foreigners. The different sets of products on which these tribal nomads do the embroidery include bags, blouses, cushions, wallets, and skirts.

  • Dokra Metal Crafts

Highly aesthetic in nature and a collector’s delight, the products made from this craftsmanship incorporated brass elements without any joints. The whole artifact is prepared with a full handicraft technique. This craftsmanship is practiced by the inhabitants in the Jainoor Mandal, Adilabad district of Telangana. In this craftsmanship, artisan makes brass metal art objects with an excellent lost wax technique for metal casting. Also called lost wax casting, the technique is in prime use in India for over 4000 years (approx.) till today! The Dokra Metal Craft is a testament to one of the most ancient arts and crafts in India because there are a few Dokra Metal Crafts that are recovered from Mohenjo-Daro. The handicraft prepared with the lost wax technique is unique because the mold is used only once and broken, making the product stand out in the handicraft markets of Telangana and across the other states. Dokra Metal Crafts are a combination of metallurgical skills.

  • Pembarthi Brass

Receiving the prestigious geographical indication, Pembarthi Brass is indeed an honor for the craft. Considered as essential artifacts in every handiwork exhibition, Pembarthi Brass has become synonymous with Telangana’s Artistic Heritage. This popular metal handicraft has a history of Warangal district with a history of metal engravings and artifacts more than 800 years. This village flourished under the Kakatiya Dynasty for over 500 years. During the reign of the Kakatiya Kingdom, several Hindu temples and statues were built in Telangana. Since then, one can witness the statue of almost every temple in Telangana inspired by the signature style of Pembarthi craftsmanship.

The erstwhile metal workers, also called “Vishwakarmas,” were outstanding in what they do! Therefore, still, the village has a rich history of outstanding metal sheet workmanship. ust when the Kakatiya Kingdom finishes, the advent of Muslim rule started. But it hardly made any difference because the craftmanship, including art style and decorated souvenirs like perfume containers, or Ittar pots, and hanging chandeliers during Muslim rule, evolved greatly. Even after surviving the political distress during the independence era, a sudden revival of this art remolded according to changing patterns and advancements in society.

  • Pochampally Handlooms

Besides the states like Gujarat and Orissa, Telangana’s Ponchampalli village in Yadadri Bhuvanagiri district is also the famous and ancient Ikat weaving center in India. The popularity of this is that the Indian government’s official - Air India’s hostesses wear Pochampally sarees that show that Pochampally Ikat has a strong command over the Indian saree market. The weavers of Ikat Sarees and other dress materials craftsmanship have given Pochampalli the graceful space in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Ikat is a weaving form, which constitutes wrapping and weighting. Before creating any design on the finished fabric, both are tie-dyed. To tie the resistant areas with water repellent material, the weavers take great care. Once the process of wrapping starts, these warp threads are dyed. Once the unwrapping gets completed, the space under these ties retains the original color. Post retaining the original color, plenty of colors are added. The Ikat design pattern in Pochampalli has unique craftsmanship and design unique from the rest of India’s Ikat production center.

One would be amazed to know that around 5 thousand looms produce this textile in Telangana’s Pochampally village. Threads and colors are made by skillful weavers to produce beautiful sarees and other sorts of dress materials. The key fabric used is silk, sico, and cotton, a blend of cotton and silk. In Pochampally Handlooms, the durability of colors that are used in the yarn is the significant highlight. This form of sarees is famous for its intricate geometric design mastered by skilled weavers in Pochampally region villages for decades. Most craftsmen create customized designs upon the special request of customers. The best nearby weaving places around Pochampally include Chowtuppal, Galterppala, Chuigottala, Sripuram, and Koyalgudam. You can plan your day hopping activity at any of these villages to meet the master weavers.

  • Nirmal Art

As the name suggests, this sort of art has its roots associated with Nirmal village in Adilabad district of Telangana. It is a 400 years old rich tradition that portrays rustic ethos and an explicit array of expressions in myriad colors on Nirmal products, including paintings, toys, bowls, and other decorative items. Under the legacy of Hyderabad Nizam’s, this art flourished. It was ‘Naqash’ - the migrants who brought Nirmal Art here from Rajasthan in the 17th century. However, the art was being practiced by them during the 14th century. During the initial state, Naqash produced toys from various softwood, mainly including white sander and poniki. With the advent of the boom in their craftsmanship, they started using herbal extracts and rich oil colors to paint the toys. Such was Nirmal Art's enigma during the Mughal dynasty that they also patronized Nirmal Art's open heart. You will also get enraptured by the Nirmal Arts, which includes paintings, furniture, toys, and handicrafts.

The excellent craftsmanship of Naqash has made Nirmal Art world famous. For craving work and living space, the Nirmal Art products are famous across India and the foreign. Talking about Nirmal Art paintings, they gorgeously depict the traditional art scenes associated with Hindu’s two great epic - Ramayana and Mahabharata. The major pull of inspiration behind Nirmal Art paintings is the Indian Society of Art. Moreover, its evolution could be traced back to the erstwhile era of the Kakatiya Dynasty.  

  • Bronze Casting

You would be hard-pressed to know that India's newly created 29th state, Telangana, is world-famous for its bronze casting work. It is the process of pouring the molten bronze into a mould to make the sculpture of idols. This type of casting is not everyone’s cup of tea, requiring special skills for creating idols. To make the idols' aesthetics perfect, the craftsman goes through the complete study of ‘Shilpa Shastra,’ which helps them make the idols according to their physical measurements and artistic symbolism.

  • Lacquer Ware

The term lacquer derived from the Portuguese word “Lac” implies a kind of resin that radiates from specific creepy crawlies. The items that are quoted with lacquer is called Lacquerware. This kind of art is famous in and around Hyderabad and Telangana. It bears the smell of India from very ancient times. The mention of Lac is found in Kalidasa's poem during the period of Vikramaditya when lack was used by women for makeup, mainly, lips and feet. It is now widely popular art across India as women wear ‘Lac bagels’ in a wedding function. In this craft, lacquering is done either manually (with hands) or with the machine. If done manually, the hand-lathe is considered to provide shape to the fragile or delicate items. When the object gets arid, lac is applied. The process is followed when a black stick is hard-pressed against the woodenware meant to be lacquered. The colors stick when friction heat is generated. Thus, lack softens, which helps color to get the stick. Post this, designs are painted on the figures, objects, and toys! You will find Lac ornaments or items at various handicraft stores in Telangana and Hyderabad.

  • Silver Filigree

One of the best arts and crafts of Telangana, this art had lured Nizams of Hyderabad to such extent that they commissioned several products for their personal use. Silver Filigree could be traced back to Indian and French metalwork of the 17th to 19th century. This delicate craftsmanship is extremely famous in the Karimnagar district in Telangana. The highlight of Silver Fiigree's artwork is it represents metal work on delicate jewelry. In this artwork, twisted threads and tiny beads constitute the artistic combination. If you talk about the items made by Silver Filigree art, it includes ashtrays, perfume bottles, and cigarette cases. Knowing its worldly popularity, Silver Filigree art had received the status of Geographical Indication back in 2007. On your Telangana trip, you can see this fantastic art at Lepakshi Handicrafts.

  • Gadwal Handlooms

Gadwal Handlooms is an art that is practiced in the Gadwal district in Telangana. The inhabitant weaves in the village are experts in designing handloom zari sarees attached with silk borders or “Saree Pallu.” The design and craft of this art is taken after getting inspired by nature and temple architecture. Also called Gadwal sarees, the fabric used is cotton, while the border is made of silk. You will be bewitched with the intriguing shapes and designs which adorn the border and whose saree body. Gadwal sarees' production has increased because now these sarees have become popular in the international market. For the creation of each saree, the weavers require 4-8 days of effort. The process goes on with cotton yarn dying or dyeing of silk. When yarn is dipped in the boiled color water at a high temperature, the process of coloring (dyeing) starts. Afterward, weavers apply the colors on the customization request from customers. Talking of its origin and history, Gadwal sarees or handlooms is a hand-woven process for many decades, scattered from the outskirts of Telangana like Arunachal Pradesh. The excellent weavers in the bygone era were sent to Benaras by the dynasty king to learn and adapt the weaving art.

Talking about the occasions to wear the Gadwal sarees, you can wear them in every function, including family, corporate, and even weddings. The zari work done in sarees is of gold and silver and blue hues, which gives sarees the elegant look. Reason? The cotton material is considered one of the best fabrics for all sorts of occasions and environments. Even the base of the Gadwal saree is perfect for summers and winters. The experts' weavers in Karimnagar district in Telangana fold the sarees to fit within the matchbox.

  • Narayanpet Handloom

Eight sarees are made in one go on the loom in Narayanpet Handloom art. Deriving its name from the region in Mahabubnagar district of Telangana, Narayanpet village or art history dates back to the Maratha Ruler - Chatrapati Shivaji 1630 AD where the brave Maratha warrior traveled to Narayanpet region with his battalion. A few weavers stayed in the Narayanpet region who later started producing silk sarees with unique design and style, which came to be known as Narayanpet silk sarees. In simple words, it was the weavers who migrated from the Maratha region to the Narayanpet region in Telangana. This is the region, you will see a massive influence of Maharashtrian appeal in the silk sarees of Narayanpet. The design of the sarees is a checked surface with embroidery. Talking of its “pallu” or border, most of them are inspired by temple designs. You will get to see the contrasted look with small zari designs.

  • Pearls

Pearl is regarded as one of the best marine jewels that come straight out of nature’s lap. Its history dates back to 5000 years, as the pearl is one of the precious jewels used for adornment. The Nizams and Qutub Shahi rulers in Hyderabad greatly encouraged this art and craft, which gave Hyderbard the status of “the Pearl city of Deccan Plateau'' due to the lucrative trade of pearls. Places like Hyderabad and Telangana are world famous for the drilling and grading of pearls. The process seems out to be the toughest as it requires remarkable craftsmanship. On your visit to Hyderabad, make sure you visit Chaarminaar’s Laad Bazaar, Jagdamba Pearls, and Mangatrai Pearls. From necklace to multi-strand bracelets, you will find similar items.