Indian handicrafts you must pick up on your next trip

There’s a whole world to explore, if only we could find some time away from our phone/tablet screen. The internet is full of websites that are easily your one stop shop for almost everything. So the next time you find yourself scouring the web for cute Ikkat robes, beautiful, unique pottery, and breathtaking locations, take the time to investigate a little more. Here are some of the many handicrafts from India that have put the country on the world map.

Pashmina shawls

A fine type of cashmere wool, Pashmina shawls are incredibly rich and soft, made in a meticulous process entirely by hand. From combing and spinning to weaving and finishing, the entire process of making a shawl takes dozens of hours. Available in beautiful colors and paired with exquisite embroidery, this handicraft is a must when you are in Kashmir.

Agra craftsmen making marble inlays on marble Kelly R Richardson/Shutterstock

Parchinkari Handicrafts

Parchin Kari is the art of inlaying colored or semi-precious stones into a stone base, often in geometric or floral designs. Within the walls of the Taj Mahal, semi-precious stones sparkle against the white surface of marble, inspiring a generation of artisans who continue to practice the art in the alleyways of Agra and Fatehpur Sikri. Elaborate and intricate mainstays of Mughal architecture, Parchinkari has found its way into our homes today in the form of table tops, coasters, chessboards and cabinets.

Pochampally's tie-dye method
Pochampally’s tie-dye method Shutterstock

ikat saris

Ikkat fans, this is the place to be. The Pochampally village of Telangana is home to some of the oldest hand weaving centers in India, which produce beautiful Ikat sarees with intricate designs. A Malaysian-Indonesian word, Ikat means “tie and dye” and involves the process of wrapping (or knotting) and dyeing sections of yarn before they are woven into fabric. Pochampally has also been selected as one of the best tourist villages in the world by the United Nations World Tourism Organization.

Madhubani Paintings

A popular art that has been praised in the state of Bihar, Madhubani art is also called Mithila art and is one of the oldest prevalent art forms in India. A signature of the art form is the use of geometric patterns and bright colors, often painted by hand. This Bihar folk art is also called Mithila art and is one of the oldest and most famous Indian art forms. Madhubani paintings are one of India’s most famous traditional handicrafts. They are usually painted with fingers, twigs or matches (now pen tips) and often have geometric patterns and bright colors. These colors are made from natural plant extracts and other natural sources.

Blue pottery cups for sale in Jaipur
Blue pottery cups for sale in Jaipur Shutterstock

blue pottery

While its origins are of a Turco-Persian style, Jaipur’s blue pottery has continued to attract travelers who still manage to grab a few trinkets on their travels. Made from Egyptian paste and paste made from quartz stone powder, multani mitti and a few other ingredients. Blue pottery gets its unique color from the cobalt blue dye which is also the reason for its name.