The snow-capped mountains, lush green valleys, exotic peaks and gushing streams have made Himachal Pradesh famous as a sought after tourist place while the traditional crafts made by skilled artisans and craftsmen have ensured that their products find a worldwide market. Some of the traditional crafts of Himachal Pradesh are described in the article.
Due to an abundance of dense forests, woodwork with artistic dexterity is displayed by the craftsmen, who specialise in geometric shaped wooden boxes for storing grains, common woodwork designs like Naghbel, Dori, Kutheri Phool. Bamboo baskets, chairs, sofas, boxes are made from bamboo with a number of eco-friendly products made from bamboo waste.
Carpet making and rugs
The craftsmen make beautiful carpets like Chuktu, Chugdan and Karcha and carpets made of goat hair called Thobi. Rugs are made with designs of Swastika, Trishul.
Pottery and clayware
Traditional clayware in black or dark red are famous like the Gidya and Patri which are jugbowls for curd or butter, coconut shaped tobacco making pots called Narele.
The leather products such as shoes, chappals, purses, belts, socks designed with colourful embroidery are highly in demand domestically and around the world due to their beauty and comfort.
These are practised by the womenfolk and are mostly based on the Chamba and Kangra school of paintings. They are broadly divided into Kashida or Rumal embroidery and leather embroidery. The Rumals or big handkerchiefs with embroidery are presented during Suni and Chamba weddings as an essential part of the bride’s trousseau and are used for wrapping gifts during festivals and weddings. The embroidery is used in shawls, scarves, hand fans, caps, blouses, prayer gloves, table cloth, bed sheets, napkins. Silk threads on tussar or fine cotton cloth are used to depict scenes of Ramayana, Mahabharata, Raas Leela. The Himali Jooties made from leftover wool and dried Himalayan grass is famous in Himachal Pradesh, which are worn with brightly coloured and brilliantly knit socks.
Expert weavers weave cotton durries or floor coverings using pit loom to produce different effects on the durries.
Metals like iron, tin, brass, copper and bell metal are used by the craftsmen to make exquisite statues, lamps, incense burners, musical instruments, bells, vessels, etc.
Artisans craft jewellery in gold, silver, metal and beads. Ancient and ethnic designs are crafted to make pendants, rings, amulets, necklaces and daggers. The women wear the famous coin necklaces, bangles, silver anklets and heavy bracelets with beautiful enamel work. The Tibetan influence can also be seen in the jewellery studded with semi-precious stones like turquoise, pearl, coral and amber.
Due to the varieties of stones present in the hills, stone artefacts, temple structures, traditional stoves (angithi), pestle and mortar (dauri danda), circular storage pots (kundi), mill stones (chakki) are carved by the artisans.
Woollen Garments and shawls
Woollen garments are beautifully made with traditional patterns and designs like bumba, chatham, khabatobi, trishul, yashin. When there is less work, the women weave traditional shawls and fabrics like dohru and pattu in rich colours. Woollen blankets called Gudumas are woven made of long and light woollen fibres along with floor coverings or thobis and mattresses or karcha. Himachal Pradesh is famous for the soft Pashmina shawls made from the hair of the Pashmina goats.