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Home > Discover Hyderabad > Art & Culture > Handicrafts


BANJARA NEEDLE ART - Thread of life

Have you ever stumbled across an art form that inspires a sense of freedom? Banjara Needle workThis is Banjara Embroidery for you.

The Banjara tribe has been an inseparable part of the Telangana region. Their needlework has a style of its own that is distinct from the embroidery work of the Banjaras from Gujarat and the Kutch area.

The agile fingers of the Banjara womenfolk move delicately tracing the intricate threadwork.Banjara Women - modeling  their art Different patterns, geometric combinations and motifs are sewed with various stitches like chain stitch, long stitch and short stitch. This embroidery is noted for its originality and elegance. The use of mirrors, vibrant colours, shells and beads create an ensemble that is kaleidoscopic and reflects a sense of gay abandon that is so characteristic of the Banjaras.

The Crafts Council of Andhra Pradesh is trying its best to promote and nourish the craft by improving the quality and standard of work. The government is also assisting the tribe in procuring better raw material.


KALAMKARI - Different Strokes

One has heard of putting pen on paper, but pen on cloth? Well,A Kalamkari Wall Hanging that's exactly what the exquisiteness of the Kalamkari art entails.

Practiced widely in villages in and around Machilipatnam, in coastal Andhra Pradesh, this intricate work bears a close affinity with Persian sources. An activity that requires many hands, Kalamkari is executed with a kalam (pen) or a brush. It involves freehand drawing and application of colours with the brush. The dyes used are drawn from natural sources like the Madder roots and other dye roots.

In these villages, Kalamkari entails the use of blocks to create a myriad of designs. In fact, there are craftsmen, who make a living out of only seAn array of Kalamkari  artistic blockslling blocks.

As a rule, this art form is carried out only on cotton cloth. The fabric is first washed in water and dried for two hours. Once dry, it is soaked in water mixed with myrobalm (karakkai) powder and buffalo milk. Once again it is laid out in the sun to dry. Once dry, the cloth is ready for sketching and drawing.

The paintings are usually inspired by the ancient Indian mythological characters. This work is a treasured tradition and can be found in many museums in India and abroad. Today, Kalamkari is mostly applied on dupattas, bed spreads and wall hangings.



An ancient art form, Bidri work dates back over 300 years.An artisan at work on a Bidri Vase It was introduced to the Sultans of the Bahmani Dynasty between the 14th and 17th century A.D. Historians say that the art form travelled from Iran and through Ajmer and Bijapur, before it was established in Bidar. This place then a part of the Bahmani kingdom, is now located in Karnataka. Needless to say, Bidri derives its name from this village.

The process involves laying of gold or silver wire on a cast of copper and zinc. The articles are cast with moulds of red clay. A molten solution of copper and zinc is poured on it. The polished base is then coated with copper sulphate to create a dark surface. The design is outlined by the craftsmen with the help of chisels.

Next, a pure silver (or gold) wire or sheet is hammered in the engraved outlines, and the surface polished with sandpaper. In the last stage, the articles are heated and treated with a solution of ammonium The exquisite product of delicate Bidri work chloride, copper sulphate, potassium nitrate and old mud (taken from the ruins of ancient buildings). As a result, the entire surface turns black.

Traditionally Bidri was used to make cot legs, hookahs, pan box, etc. These days, the art is used to make vases, cuff links, earrings, small statues, cigarette box, ashtrays, etc. The price ranges from Rs.10 for a keychain to Rs. 50,000 for a more exquisitely crafted vase.

Bidriware is available at all handicraft emporiums. Besides, there are exclusive stores, like the Bidri Heritage in Maseb Tank and Bidri Crafts in Abids.


NIRMAL ART - A touch of Gold

Nirmal Art which originated in Adilabad is a distinctive art. Gods, goddesses and figures from folklore are the chief themes of this art.

The pictures are painted in gold with a black background on wood and then lacquered. A special make of cards, the Ganjifa, is made using cloth and chalk. They are circular and decorated with miniature figures of gods and goddesses. The paints are basically drawn from herbs and roots.

The artists here also produce painted toy figures of birds, animals, fruits, etc.

Dokra - From Tribal Land

Dokra is a form of metal work that is tribal in origin. The subjects, besides bells, anklets, trinklets are mostly drawn from nature and usually take the form of wild animals and fish. The shapes are unique and the depiction of wild animals is rather thought provoking, for example the head of a deer, sharply arched upwards, looking towards the sky as if calling out to the heavens for help.

The shape is first moulded in a mixture of red mud and wax. Once a distinct shape is created, molten brass is poured over it.

Today, dokra crafts are available at all handicrafts emporiums and are used as showcase pieces, paper weights and gift items. The prices range from Rs. 50 for a tiny fish to Rs. 1600 for a large bell.


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