Types of Indian Crafts

Types of Indian Crafts

Types of Indian crafts have undergone transformation over the years and the proficiency of construction has not altered to a great extent. Indian crafts are highly acclaimed throughout the world for their aesthetic appeal and magnificence. The diverse cultural traditions of India have enabled the accomplishment of producing various kinds of crafts. The crafts are composed of different materials, themes and proficiencies. Works on woodwork, pottery, hand looms, terracottapaintingsbeadwork, jewellery and embroidery etc have survived through centuries with fewer changes.

Bubblegram Craftof India
A bubblegram is a three dimensional image which is composed of points and remains suspended in a medium, usually a plastic block. Laser bubble-gram is in vogue. Crossing lasers in ‘appropriately-doped’ plastic, which may cause a chemical reaction through heat or ‘photonic’ inflammation makes these images. Such crafts are manufactured in several lanes of Kolkata and Mumbai.

Clay Craft of India
The origin of clay crafts in the country dates back to as early as the Indus Valley Civilisation. The Indian states of Himachal PradeshUttar PradeshGujaratWest Bengal and Rajasthan are renowned for their diverse form of clay crafts. The terracotta crafts of West Bengal, ‘kagzi’ or paper pottery made in Alwar region of Rajasthan and ‘khurja’ pottery of Uttar Pradesh are quite popular. During the Sultanateperiod in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, India proceeded with its own manufactory of blue pottery.

Stone Craft of India
The art of sculpture is the poetic expression of stone craft. Sculptures of deities, decorative for house interiors, modelled on classical prototypes, continue to be made in every nook and corner of India. In the interiors of India such sculptures and exquisite figures are carved in relief with details engraved in fine lines. These objects are handmade artistic work made using hammer and chisels. Madhya PradeshBiharOrissa and Rajasthan are well-known centres of production of beautiful stone crafts.

Glass craft of India
As early as 800 B.C., i.e, at the time when the Yajur Veda was composed, glass craft was very popular. It is evident from the archaeological findings at Basti in Uttar Pradesh that glassware is about 2000 years old. The way glass is prepared transformed into various shapes is remarkable. Various decorative products like chandeliers, glass lamps, hanging lamp shades, glass lanterns, glass jewelleries like bangles and many other products are manufactured in different portions of India.

Metal Craft of India
Metal crafts in India include the numerous products which are made with the aide of several metals like gold, silver, bronze, brass, copper and bell metal. Silver filigree work of Andhra Pradesh and Orissa, brassware of Rajasthan, Orissa and other Indian states, ‘dokra‘ metal crafts of Orissa, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh, metal enamelled work of Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh and marvellous metal crafts of bell metal manufactured in Kerala, Bihar, Tripura and Assam are worth mentioning.

Lac Craft of India
The states of Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, West Bengal, PunjabRajasthan and Karnataka specialise in the production of magnificent lac crafts like bangles, utensils and decorative products. Lac industry has been growing since ancient times and over the years; many adept artisans have emerged throughout the country. Lac work is applied to furniture and other decorative items.

Horn and Bone Craft of India
The craftsmen of states like KeralaKarnatakaUttar Pradesh and the Gajapati district of Orissa are engaged in crafting various horn and bone crafts like walking sticks, pen stands, paper weights, snuff boxes, table lamps, lamp shades and many more.

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Kundalini Chakras, Yoga

Kundalini Chakras, Yoga

Kundalini Chakras are the 7 Chakras, according to Kundalini meditation are awakened. The Chakras are arranged vertically along the spine and abundant energy pathways or channels are present, called Nadis that intersect at these Chakras. The Chakras are sometimes referred to as lotuses, since they open and close like a flower, and in the yogic system they are represented with varied number of petals, ranging from 4 at the base Chakra to 1000 at the crown. They can be stimulating and awakened by yogic practices like asanasbreathing and meditation. When motivated, they create latent forces, which awaken the power to triumph over disease, decay and finally, according to the ancient yogis, death as well.

Concept of Chakra in Kundalini
The word Chakra is a Sanskrit word, meaning “wheel” or “disc”. In the ancient yoga systems of India, the word ‘Chakra’ described a spinning vortex of energy in the subtle body.

Seven Kundalini Chakras
The lotus is used as a symbol for purity in regard to the Chakras, because despite of living in mud it is not soiled by the mud but rises above it. Thus the lotus justifies the theory of Maya Shakti. Each petal of the lotus is a separate Bija Mantra for that particular Chakra. The 7 kundalini chakras are as follows;

Mooladhara Chakra (base of spine): memory, time and space;Svadhishthana Chakra (below navel): reason;Manipura Chakra (solar plexus): willpower;Anahata Chakra (heart center): direct cognition;Vishuddha Chakra (throat): divine love;Ajna Chakra (third eye): divine sight;Sahasrara Chakra (crown of head): illumination, Godliness.

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Kathakali, Indian Classical Dance

Kathakali Dance

 Kathakali is a combination of literature, music, painting, acting and dance. “Katha” means story and “Kali” stands for dance. This is a form of dance formerly confined only to the festival stages in temples. It symbolizes a blending of the Aryan and Dravidian cultures, for shaping its technique. The most striking element in Kathakali is the dramatic quality which is inspiring and belongs exclusively to a world of myth and legend.

Origin of Kathakali
The actual roots of Kathakali can be traced to at least 1500 years earlier. The art of Kathakali incorporates the characteristic features of many of the dances and dramas of South India. It evolved out of the earlier dance forms like the Chakiayarkoothu and Koodiyattom, Mudiyettu, Theyyattom, Sastrakali, Krishnanattom and Ramanattom of Kerala. The ruler of Calicut in the 17th century wrote a poem on the life of Lord Krishna called the Krishnageeti and asked this to be performed at the temple. This was Kathakali preceded by a style called the Krishnatam, which was a masked dance drama, for very many similarities in the presentations, costumes, acting and background music could be cited in both. Another ruler of Kottarakara saw this play and was so impressed that he requested the Zamorin of Calicut to send the troupe to his kingdom, which the latter refused, angering the ruler of Kottarakara. He then decided to create his own play on the life of God Rama called the Ramanattam, which soon became popular and spread everywhere.


The ruler Tampuran of Kottayam soon turned into Kathakali. The costumes and make up were improved so that the facial expressions were emphasized. Dramatic plots were also selected for presentation. Episodes from Mahabharata were chosen, which were more attractive to the audiences. The style was also renamed. With all these developments Kathakali remained in the shadows till the great poet Vallathol initiated Kerala Kalamandalam. Kathakali thereafter has acquired worldwide recognition.

Techniques of Kathakali
The technique of Kathakali includes a highly developed language of gesture, through which the artist can convey whole sentences and stories. The major original Kathakali styles included Vettathu Sampradayam, Kalladikkodan Sampradayam, and Kaplingadu Sampradayam. However these have come down to the northern and southern styles. Kathakali is a dramatic performance in which the actors interpret their emotions through highly sensitive medium. This is done by its vivid and persuasive mudras, natural and impressive gestures, graceful and rhythmic movements, pleasing choreography and above all delightful wealth of imagery. It belongs to the imaginative type spoken of in Bharata’s Natyashastra. Kathakali is a male art and the dancing is masculine.

Kathakali Plays

Theme of Kathakali
Kathakali draws upon the inexhaustible treasure of the ancient puranas chronicling the love and conflicts of the gods and supermen of Indian mythology for its themes. They deal with the Mahabharata, the Ramayana and the Indian Puranas. The most popular stories are Nala Charitam, Duryodhana Vadham, Kalyanasowgandhikam, Keechaka Vadham, Kiratham, Karna and Shapadham. However recently, stories from other cultures, such as the story of Mary Magdalene from the Bible, and Shakespeare’s King Lear have also been adapted into Kathakali scripts to popularise the art.

Performance in the Kathakali Dancers
In the evening one can witness a traditional Kathakali performance. It continues throughout the night, culminating at the auspicious hour of dawn, when good finally conquers evil. It has been changed for the urban audiences and is performed in a plush auditorium, within the span of a couple of hours. Earlier Kathakali used to be performed in temple premises or at the house of a local landlord.

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Indian Art Cinema

Indian Art Cinema

Indian art cinema differs sharply from popular films which are more commonly known as the commercial flicks. The conceptual notion of art cinema though differs from being one of the fuzziest to one of the contradictory topics ever touched upon. They are realistic, often ethnographic, and they seek to capture important aspects of Indian reality. By and large, they avoid glamour and glitz and use cinema as an artistic medium capable of exploring important areas of Indian experience.

Features of Indian Art Cinema
Indian art cinemas are usually low budget and are shown at international film festivals. The Indian art movies, understandably, do not attract the huge audiences that the popular films do. Often many regional films are made, which do not receive pan-Indian exposure. In terms of the commitment to serious cinema, to making cinema a significant medium of artistic communication, to eschewing the vulgarities and crudities often associated with Indian popular cinema, artistic filmmakers differ significantly from their counterparts in popular cinema. Art is mimesis, according to Aristotle, which is nourished by the concepts of twice placed reality. Cinema is the reel adaptation of the real. Discourses of the art house cinema have obviously two poles: as mode of narration and as institution.

Inception of Indian Art Cinema

Indian Art Cinema

When one talks of art movies in India the first name that comes up is Satyajit Ray. This is because he was primarily responsible for fashioning this genre and gaining international recognition for it. His film Pather Panchali, made in 1955, was the first such film. In a poll conducted in 1992 by the magazine Sight and Sound, Pather Panchali was voted one of the ten greatest films of all time. Indian art films offer a striking contrast to Indian popular films. They use understatement effectively, something totally absent in popular films. There is a visual lyricism and a deep humanism which are intensely satisfying. Satyajit Ray made a number of significant films in the same moulds that have won international acclaim. His work provides a sense of the preoccupations of artistic cinema and how they differ from popular cinema. Satyajit Ray is generally regarded as India’s greatest filmmaker and, along with Jean Renoir and Vittorio de Sica, he is rated among the great masters of humanist cinema.

Prominent Indian Art Films
Today, art movies in India no longer differ from the mainstream films in popularity. The audiences today look out for good films rather than popular or serious films. Hence while a multi-starrer Indian movie bombs at the box office, a film like Aamir is much appreciated by the cine goers. Thodasa Roomani Ho Jayen is another milestone depicting the tale an unmarriageable ugly girl. Hu Tu Tu exposes the politicians while Sookha is a realistic depiction of communal riots, politics and bureaucracy. Sushil Rajpal’s Antardwand is another acclaimed film in this genre which portrays a real life experience. Kalpana Lazmi‘s Rudaali brilliantly presents the life and hardships of a woman who publicly express grief of family members who are restricted to display emotion owing to social status. Adoor Gopalakrishnan‘s film, Rat Trap (1981) has won many prestigious awards and in his film Face to Face (1984), Gopalakrishnan explores the theme of self and modernization, this time taking a different angle. Once again the style of the film follows the neo-realistic tradition. Other famed art movies of Bollywood include Ardh Satya, Suraj Ka Saatva Ghoda, Rajiv Patil’s Jogwa (Marathi) and Aparna Sen‘s Sati (Bengali), Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyoon Aata Hai, AnkurParzania, Maya Darpan, Sardari Begum, Utsav, Ek Din Achanak, Ek Doctor Ki Maut and many more.

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