“….India is full of gold and silver, diamond and ruby and emerald and tin and iron and steel and copper , and quicksilver, etc., and of the plants which grow there are those fit for making wearing apparel, and aromatic plants, and the sugar cane, and it is a whole country which is always green and verdant, and the whole aspect of the country is pleasant and delightful.
– Malfuzat-i-Timuri , the memoirs of Emperor Timur
Our nation is dotted with in-numerous varieties of matchless craft forms and cultural treasures with each craft speaking proudly of the rich heritage of its city, the astounding tale of its evolution and the brilliance of our artists and craftsmen. Each piece of craft, be it from any corner of the city , forces you to think what must have gone through the making of this masterpiece. From the radiant and scintillating Banarasi weaves to the handcrafted puppets of Rajasthan which makes your soul dance with happening and joy , every craft finds its emergence from its vaunted cultural life and the lifestyle of that city.
Let us know more about these cities full of craft and cultural treasures through this listicle:
- Kolkata – The Cultural Capital of India
West Bengal is made up of teeming Kolkata, its vibrant and bustling capital, and rural areas steeped in traditional ways. Cultural practices largely help the folk crafts to survive and flourish, particularly in the festive seasons.
Fabulously decorated clay and straw images of the Goddess Durga, steaming tea served in tiny earthen wares, ivory bangles for the bride, the crisp handloom cotton sari or dhoti , colorful masks for traditional dancers, bamboo mats and baskets are all an integral part of everyday life for the people of Kolkata.
There is hardly a festival, a celebration, a dance performance, or even political slogans painted on the walls that does not reflects Kolkata’s enduring artistic traditions.
2. Gwalior – The Music Capital of India
Due to its location in the heart of the Indian subcontinent , Gwalior has always been a melting pot of cultures and civilizations. Considered the music capital of India in the 18th and 19th centuries, Gwalior was comparable with Vienna in musical excellence. Perhaps better known as the birthplace of the legendary Miyan Tansen , the town has the distinction of being home to 16 of the 36 musicians in Akbar’s court.
Apart from its musical tradition, Gwalior has some of the India’s finest examples of medieval architecture , The Gwalior Fort, towering 300 ft above the town, dates back to the eighth century and reflects in its development the myriad history of the region.
3. Jaipur – The Pink City of India
A desert state, Rajasthan tends to be monochromatic. But it improvised beautifully and made up for what was denied by the nature. The skirt of the village woman, the swirl of an odhni, the ghunghat – all in rich tones that splash the barren desert with colors. Name a shade and it’s there in the dress, the jewellery and even in the decoration of the houses.
Jaipur is a rich textile centre with a vast repertoire of ancient crafts that have been preserved – thanks to astute rulers who knew how to make peace with successive conquerors. As a result, Jaipur enjoyed a sophisticated court culture with discerning patrons who promoted art, architecture and music.
4. Varanasi – The Religious Capital of India
Varanasi aka Kashi, fascinated by the flavors, colours and unique energy, makes it a place of discovery and learning. The weavers of Varanasi are internationally renowned for creating some of the most beautiful masterpieces. The Sarai Mohana village is the weavers’ village is well known for its silk weaving. The Banarasi sarees made by these waivers are among the finest saris in India. Known for their gold and silver brocade or zari, fine silk and opulent embroidery. These saris are mostly used by Indian bride. The city is widely famous for its silk saris and ornate jewels, visit the local market to explore the plethora of colours, intricate pattern and elaborate design.