Thatta Kedona

Culture is a Basic Need

Rajasthan Art

By F.I.

"Handicraft is one of the most important aspects of Rajasthan’s life. People have been involved in hand-made crafts for ages which are now being modified by the new generation with the help of contemporary designs to make the products competitive in the market,” said Amita Gupta, founder member of Routes 2 Roots, an NGO which organised a festival in Karachi, in collaboration with the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) as part of the initiatives to bring together people, cultures and values across Saarc countries, reports F.I.


Popularly known as the ‘treasure trove of Indian handicrafts’ and ‘shoppers paradise’, Rajasthan, one of the most fascinating lands of India, has been able to preserve its craft over the centuries. In fact, unique in colour and workmanship, Rajasthani art is an institution in its own right.

Recently, Karachiites were given an opportunity to enjoy the culture and cuisine of Rajasthan. A five-day-long festival, which was organised at a local hotel, was the first of its kind in the country. A team of 22 people, including musicians, chefs and artisans from India, participated in the event which also showcased performances by traditional Kalbelia dancers.


A part of this festival was a handicraft exhibition. The items on display included enameled jewellery and jewellery boxes embellished with semi-precious stones, glass bangles, embroidered dresses, saris, quilts, purses, handbags, bedsheets, decoration pieces and handloom fabric called kota doria.

“Handicraft is one of the most important aspects of Rajasthan’s life. People have been involved in hand-made crafts for ages which are now being modified by the new generation with the help of contemporary designs to make the products competitive in the market,” said Amita Gupta, founder member of Routes 2 Roots, an NGO which organised the festival in collaboration with the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) as part of the initiatives to bring together people, cultures and values across Saarc countries.

Though on a steep side, the handicraft with intricate designs intrigued many who took time to inquire about the techniques used in making the striking jewellery and kota doria fabric, two popular features of the handicrafts from Rajasthan.

“The enamellers of Jaipur design the best pendants, necklaces, anklets, naths and even spoons, knives, key chains and cufflinks. One of the best known Jaipur enamellers was my father who made a small elephant of gold which was exhibited at many art exhibitions in various parts of the country,’ said Deepak Sankit, who won the National Merit Award for Enamelled Gold Jewellery in India.

About the process of enameling a product, the visitors were told that once gold is given the required shape, it is covered with a sealing wax. The ornament is then scratched on with a pointed instrument and the required designs are carved on it. The designs are usually images of birds, flowers and even landscapes. After the designs are made, the enamel dust or powder of different coloured glasses is put into the cavities. The ornament is placed in a hot furnace; the enamel melts and diffuses proportionately into the cavities. It is then taken out and burnished with a wet stone. The process is repeated until the required polish is attained. Sometimes it takes months to finish one piece of jewellery.


Women took special interest in kota doria. Skillfully made of cotton and silk yarn in different combinations, kota doria is transparent and its beauty is further enhanced by batik and block printing, embroidery, cutwork and tie and dye techniques. Among the decorative items, metal carved doors, a pair of silver hookah, wooden chairs and paintings on handcrafted pieces of marble with old polish and modern day colours were marvellous.


“This was an overwhelming experience. We are extremely impressed by the hospitality of the Pakistanis. Yesterday, I received a call from Hyderabad and was requested to hold a similar festival there. We are looking forward to organising more such programmes that can bring people of the two countries together,” said Tina Vachani, one of the organisers.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 1:22 PM,

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