Arts & Crafts of India
Banjara Needle Crafts (Embroidery)
This art form belongs to the nomads and gypsies of Andhra Pradesh. The embroidery of this form is live and vibrant. Banjaras in Andhra Pradesh display their colorful lifestyle through their exuberant clothes.
This is the most well known handicraft of Andhra Pradesh- a metal craft that derives its name from Bidar, the hometown of this exquisite craft. It is an art of inlaying silver on black metal and is believed to have originated in Iran seven centuries ago. The black art reflects the sufi influence till date. The Moghul rulers decorated their weapons using bidri style.
The name 'Kalamkari' is derived from the word 'kalam' which means a 'pen', the tool used in this craft. Kalamkari is hand painting with vegetable dyes. Only four basic colours are used to depict scenes from mythology. The colourful puppets are made from buffalo hide, bleached and tinted with local paints. The most popular figures are the heroes and villains from mythology. The artisans of Hyderabad from the days of the Golconda kingdom have perfected the art of creating jewellery. Hyderabad today, is the largest pearl centre of India.
Toys, Dolls & Puppets
Kondapalli toys are colourful wooden creations which can enliven any interior. They are chiseled out of locally available wood into a variety of objects - birds, animals, mythological characters, fruits, vegetables, among many others.The designs are basic and the colours are flashy. Another craft is making leather puppets. The puppets of mythological figures are used to enact shadow plays.
Uppada Sarees Handlooms
The Uppada saris are produced in Uppada, a beach town located 20 kms from Kakinada. It is famous for attractively designed cotton saris. At Peddapuram, 20 kms from Kakinada one can buy delicately designed silk saris created by local artisans.
Telengana region is particularly well known for its folk paintings, very colourful and bright, that serve as ideal hall hangings. It is believed that the divine architect Vishwakarma handed it down to the artisans on earth. The themes are mostly mythological.
The Mangalagiri saris and dress materials are made from Mangalgiri cotton, which is quite popular here. Mangalagiri, located 12 Kms from Vijayawada is also an important pilgrimage center in Andhra Pradesh.
Andhra Pradesh is well known for its handloom sarees, both cotton and silk. These come from the looms in Gadwal, Kothakota, Dharmavaram, Narayanapet, and Venkatagiri. Each of these weaving styles are distinct, producing a unique variety of fabric. Most of these traditional works have beautiful borders, often with ornate gold thread-work. Gadwal is especially noted for its fine cotton fabric, with silk and gold borders. Dharmavaram produces silks that are attractive in design.Pedapuram too produces handloom silks that are ideal for dress making. Narayanapet is famous for its cotton and silk sarees. Venkatagiri and Kothakota are known for pure cottons with zari (gold thread).