RAJASTHAN - Art &
Life in the Desert
People & Customs
Music & Dance
Rajasthan is among the richest states in the country in
this field. It has created and preserved rich craft heritage
which includes fabulous fabrics in lovely prints, precious
and semi-precious stones, Kundan & Meenakari Jewellery,
embroidered leather work, hand crafted items of wood, ivory,
lac, glass, brass, silver and gold.
The Rajputs rulers have been patrons of art and encouraged
the artisans by setting up schools for the propagation of
their crafts. Each Rajput principally had his own unique
craft and to this day, every little town and village has
its share of lanes where the craftsmen can be found practicing
a craft handed down by their ancestors. Some of the popular
hand knotted woolen carpets of Tonk, Bikaner and Jaipur,
are generally based on Persian styles. The traditional cotton
durries of Jaipur, Jodhpur are, mostly in pastel shades
with geometrical motifs design. Woolen Namda of Tonk (non
woven) is equally popular.
Each area has it's own unique style. Some of the traditional
designs are rakhri, bala, bajuband, gajra, gokhru, jod,
etc. During Mughal period the Mughals brought sophisticated
design and new technical know-how of the Persians origin
and Rajasthan became a major centre for production of jewellery.
is the craftsmanship of setting of precious stones into
gold and the enameling of gold. Raja Mansingh of Amer brought
this intricate art in Jaipur by inviting some skilled workers
from Lahore and it has grown over the years. Jaipur Meenakari
is famous for it's delicacy and colourfullness. Alwar, Pratapgarh
and Nathdwara are other centers, which produce fine quality
Kundan work, a speciality of Rajasthan,
was the only form of setting for stones in gold until claw
settings were introduced under the influence of western
jewellery in the nineteenth century. The pieces, which make
up the finished object, are first shaped (and soldered together
if the shape is complicated), holes for stones are cut,
and then enameled. Lac, a natural resin, is inserted in
the back and the stones are pushed through.
Ivory was often used to make jewellery,
especially bangles, which are considered an essential part
of bridal jewellery. The bangles are often overlaid with
gold. They are often dyed in various colors. Ivory is also
inlaid and shaped into intricate items of great beauty.
is mainly used bangles and decorative items. Lac bangles
are made in bright colours. These bangles and decorative
items are inlaid with glass and coloured stone.
Feminine jewellery is more complex than masculine jewellery.
Ladies generally wear a number of jewellery right from head
to Foot.These are:
Borla, Hair pins, Nath (Nose ring), Karan phool & Jhumka
(Earrings), Champakali (necklace), Bajuband (Armlet), Chuda
(Bangles), Rings, Hathphool (around wrist and fingers),
Kardhani (around west), Rings (on the toes), Payal &
Jhanjhar (around ankle) and so on, bedecked from head to
toe in jewellery. . Tribal women wear heavy, simply crafted
for the Male:
Turban jewellery - Turbans are heavily encrusted with jewels
and fastened with a gem set kalangi or aigrette. The ornament
worn in front of the turban is called a sarpech. It was
often extended into a golden bank set with emeralds, rubies,
and diamonds. Pearls were greatly loved by the Maharajas
and they often wore double or triple strings of pearls with
pendants of precious stones round their necks. Men also
wore earrings, armlets, anklets, jewelled sashes around
their waists and several rings on every finger and continue
to wear them in rural areas. For the common man these are
made from more modest metals like silver, and gems are substituted
by coloured glass.
The world fame jootis are made from leather having artistically
embroidered uppers. These are incredibly comfortable and
sturdy. Jaipur, Jodhpur, Barmer and Jaisalmer are traditionally
known for this footwear. Leather is also an essential raw
material for making musical instruments such as the tabla,
dhol, kamaycha, used by Rajasthani folk musicians.
Bikaner is known for its painted lampshades, shields and
vases made from camel hide. Designer hand-bags, purses,
belts, hats, stools and collapsible chairs with graphic
embroideries made from leather at Tiloniya village near
Ajmer are of good craftmanship.
From palaces to huts, paintings can be found everywhere
in many colours and forms. Rajasthani paintings can broadly
be classified into Wall, Cloth and Miniature Paintings.
- Walls and Ceilings of Palaces, Havelis, even huts are
usually covered with colourful paintings. Some of the finest
paintings can be seen in havelis of the Shekhawati region
and the ancient towns of Bundi and Kota. And some of the
most humorous ones on the walls are tucked away in houses
in the lanes of Jaisalmer.
- include the phad and the pichwai (cloth hangings used
behind the deity in Vaishnava temples such as the temple
of Shrinathji at Nathdwara). Done in bright colours with
bold outlines, these paintings have strong religious traditions.
- Different schools of this fascinating art have flourished
here since the 16th century, each with its own distinctive
style, including painting on ivory. The Kishangarh School
is best known for its Bani Thani paintings - a unique style
with highly exaggerated features - long necks, large almond-shaped
eyes, long fingers and the use of subdued colours. The verdant
greenery of the Kota-Bundi region is reflected in the paintings
of that region. The rulers of Amer-Jaipur were the closest
to the Mughals and a strong Mughal influence crept into
Rajasthan's terracotta tradition date back to the Indus
Valley Civilization and has continued in all parts of the
state. A village Molela near Udaipur is fame for its terracotta
Clay is extensively used for making pots, dolls and other
objects. These are painted with various types of images
like folk divinities and are sold in village fairs during
festive times such as Gangaur, Teej and Diwali. Jaipur is
the home of glazed blue-pottery. Vases, flowerpots, bowls,
water pots and other objects are produced in traditional
geometrical and floral motifs, as well as hand-painted details
of Rajasthani legends.
is an ancient and popular form of folk entertainment. No
village fair, no religious festival and no social gathering
in Rajasthan can be complete without the kathputlis (puppets).
With their sparkling eyes and brightly coloured dresses,
the kathputlis, gives unforgettable experience.
wooden chests and boxes with brass inlay and laquer work,
together with sandalwood statues and objects, are some of
the most popular hand crafted items. There is also a wide
range of grand furniture, reminiscent of the royal era.
Tiloniya (near Ajmer) furniture also stands out for its
fine embroidery work done on leather, as also carved furniture
from Barmer region.
Rajasthani textiles come in a fascinating range of dyed
and block-printed fabric, which are further embroidered.
Each region has its own special colour scheme, design &
Hand-block printed textiles of Sanganer and Bagru near Jaipur
have won the hearts of millions at home and abroad. Jaipur's
quilts are a hot favourite with most tourists.
Tie-and-dye textiles, called bandhej or bandhani, are an
important Rajasthani craft. Different methods are used to
tie the fabric into small points and produce various patterns
like lehariya, mothda, ekdali and shikari. The best bandhej
comes from Sikar and Jodhpur, while Jaipur, Barmer, Pali,
Udaipur and Nathdwara are the other centres. Zari and gota
are lavishly used in bridal and formal costumes. One can
pick up saris or even cushion covers with this elaborate
metallic thread embroidery.