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5 Most Loved Hand Embroideries of India

Feb 27, 2020

India is a land of art and craft. The origin of these craft can be traces back to thousands of year ago.These art and craft are tangible symbols of our cultural heritage.

Ethnic handmade embroideries have a special place in our heart. It is really difficult to select few as each of them has contributed in some form of other to our artistic pride.

We still have shortlisted our favourite five most loved handmade embroideries on the basis of their exquisiteness and intricacies involved in making them. 

Chikankari from the The City of Nawabs, Lucknow

Believed to be introduced in 17th Century by Mughal Empress Nur Jahan, Lucknow Chikankari is still considered to be the most artistic and most delicate form of Indian embroidery.

The whole embroidery process has multiple stages that starts with cutting the fabric into desired shape followed by block printing the motifs on the fabric. It is then handed over to the embroiderers for the further process.Once the embroidery is done, it is washed and starched to make it ready for commercial sales.

Use of embellishments like mukaish, gota patti, bead work, sequin and mirror work give the embroidery a richer look.

Originally done on muslin, embroidery is now practiced on variety of fabrics like silk, cotton, chanderi, georgette etc. Chikankari continued to be favourite of many bollywood celebrities.

Kutch Mirror Work Embroidery from Kutch, Gujarat 

Originated from Kutch region of Gujarat, this embroidery form is considered to be one of the most difficult and intricate in its execution.

Over the period this art form has developed into generational art with the skills taught from mothers to their daughters.

Embroidered products are further categorized into different types, mostly deriving their name from the communities which are involved in making this art form. Examples of these type include Ahir,Aari,Jat-Garasia,Jat-Fakirani, Rabari etc. Extensive use of bright colours, mirrors also called ‘Abhla’ and beads characterizes this intricate art form.

This embroidery has different varieties, styles, motifs and colours which vary from community to community and places to places.

Phulkari from Punjab 

Phulkari, meaning flower work, originated in the state of Punjab.

It gained popularity in 15th century and still considers to be dream weaver for every Punjabi girl. From a leisure activity back then, it has progressed to become one of the major sources of employment for the women in Punjab.

Phulkari has evenly distributed motifs and exquisite panel borders embroidered on the fabric. Thread by thread, each motif is created in a geometric grid, which has a peculiar technique for coming up with a curvilinear final output.

It takes at least 80 days to finish a Phulkari salwar kameez. Phulkari was also given the status of Geographical Indication in 2011.

Kantha from West Bengal and Bihar 

Kantha is one the oldest form of traditional Indian embroidery practiced in West Bengal and Bihar.

Believed to be originated 500 years ago, Kantha was initially practiced to recycle old sarees and turn them into cushion covers, blankets, quilts etc.Traditionally women would take 4 to 5 sarees, layer them together and create different running stitches on them which they then used as blankets to cover their children with.However, what started as a way to make life more comfortable went on to become a big trend in clothes and furniture as well.

Kantha embroidery is a series of running stitches with motifs inspired by real life imagery of sun, birds, animals, folk scenes, fish etc. 

Kantha embroidered suits, shawls, dupattas, sarees are in huge demand all over world and is also source of income of many families in West Bengal and Bihar.

Chamba Rumali from Himachal Pradesh 

Taking its name from its place of origin, Chamba Rumal is a unique embroidery originated in Chamba, a historic town in the Northern state of Himachal Pradesh.

This embroidery combines the skills of miniature painting and embroidery and the outcome is beautiful yet unique.Traditional Chamba Rumali was done for the auspicious occasion of daughter’s marriage and was customary for parents and relatives of bride to include Chamba rumals in the dowry.It was in early twentieth century the art drew attention and gained popularity commercially. The motifs on these rumals have traditionally drawn from indigenous tales of Ramayana and Mahabharata.

The embroidery is done in a variety of colours by a double satin stitch carried forward and backward alternately. Both sides of cloth are stitched simultaneously so that both sides look equally effective and similar in content. That is why this technique is called dorukha (two-faced).

Let us know your favourite one !


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