There is no doubt that Indian handicrafts have a high demand in the market. Not only do they appease the foreign tourist, they also make for beautiful decor elements in our homes. They are often unique, intricate and expressive. Each handicraft is reflective of the life and culture of their place of origin as their shape, form, raw materials and original use are clearly defined by where they’re from. It is obvious then that in a diverse country like India, there is a huge variety of choice available in the art and craft segment.
For those looking to buy or even just explore what is available, Traveller suggests the Top 5 places to buy Indian handicrafts:
Dilli Haat, New Delhi: An extraordinary government initiative, Dilli Haat right in the heart of India’s capital has been purposefully designed to imitate a traditional weekly village market. Across this haat or market, there are stalls which are rented directly by local craftsmen from all the different states in the country. The end result is an exciting blend of all inexpensive handicrafts from all over India. As an added bonus, there are stalls dedicated to each state which sell the local cuisines. More often than not, you will realize that there is a festival underfoot giving you the chance to further partake in local cultures in terms of music or dance.
Khazana, Taj Hotels: Moving from the grassroots to the highly elite; the Khazana boutiques found at many of the Taj Hotels across India. The Khazana boutiques carry an elaborate collection of premium handicrafts from leading and emerging artisans in the country. Some products that can be found here include woven silks and saris, shawls, jewellery made of semi precious stones, silver trinkets, evening bags, painting and home furnishings.
Anokhi, Jaipur: One of India’s most appreciated handicrafts is the block printed textiles from Rajasthan. Anokhi which is known for its high quality block printed garments was founded in 1970 and has become so successful that it now has outlets in many major cities across the country. The key to Anokhi’s success is the innovative manner in which they blend tradition block printing techniques with modern fashion. If you’re further interested in this particular craft, the Anokhi Museum near Amber Fort in Jaipur has daily block carving and printing demonstrations as well as slideshows and short film documentaries on printing and dyeing.
Kala Madhyam, Bengaluru: Dedicated to supporting and empowering traditional Indian artists and artisans, Kala Madhyam is a social entrepreneurship initiative to bridge the gap between rural crafts people from all across the country and the urban markets. The store has exquisite paintings from over 15 tribal paintings and folk art forms, a wide repertoire of handicrafts, apparels and specializes in wall murals. They have a 10 day annual mela (fair) held in Bangalore to give the craftspeople a chance to interact with buyers directly.
MESH, New Delhi & Hyderabad): Nothing should give a shopper greater satisfaction than getting value for money in their product while knowing that they are supporting the underprivileged. MESH works hard to provide sustainable employment to artisans who are disabled or afflicted by diseases like leprosy. Their product range is wide, starting from scarves and stoles, bags, jewellery to bed linen and kitchen ware. They also make various gift items, paper products, eco products, toys and games. It’s a must to at least check them out.