India is a shopper’s Paradise. Since the medieval times india has been a hub for many different art and crafts. The Moghul rulers introduced a lot of other forms of art which until then were not known to India. The excellent workmanship helped india become a world leader around the 16th century in trade.
India has been always very rich in its mineral resources and until the 17th Century the entire world knew diamonds only from one source and that was India. A lot of precious and semi precious stones are still native to India, Diamonds not just what the world wears but also some of the most exemplary diamonds housed in the best museums were once mined in India , some of the worlds best quality of Gemstones like emeralds and sapphires come from India. Good quality Gemstones come at a price but being a country of more than a billion which makes the labor in India inexpensive against its contemporary countries and the fact that most of these stones are locally sourced make it a bargain in India. Jaipur is the largest centre for cutting and polishing of Gemstones in India and its been the hub since 1728 ever since the city was first established. In fact a bazaar was created to have a wholesale market for gemstones.
What also gives more value to your purchase is the exquisite craftsmanship most of which is crafted by hand making it an absolute buy !
Fabrics & Textiles
The National costume for the Indian ladies “ sari” is catching a resonance in the world fashion scene , wherein renowned fashion designers are experimenting with the drape of the Indian sari and making it more global. At the heart of it its 9 yards of sheer elegance draped in so many different ways in India which varies from one region to another. India again since medieval times have had a repute for its fine cotton & pure silk fabrics enhanced by intriguing craft of weaving and embroidery. Falling in love with the fabrics in India with such riot of colors is a no brainer
Ever heard of “ Pashmina” ?
The statement making , elegant stole or a shawl and sometimes running like an heirloom in a family , eyed by every bride on her wedding day , that very precious and of course favourite Shawl which for certain has seen a few change of hands being handed over by the great grandmother to her daughter / daughter in law and then to hers is made out of some of the finest wools in the world.
Its not what is being offered at that corner store for 20 bucks , its something exquisite, something valuable , something which feels like wow, and something which is created for a lifetime and beyond.
Hand knotted Carpets
No… no… no…. …. We are not talking Ali baba here.
A piece of art which was introduced to india around the 16th Century from Persia has been so well taken and embraced that India today happens to be the largest supplier of hand knotted carpets to the world. Carpets from India come in traditional patterns and done in high quality merino wool and the finest of Silks. There has to be a solid reason why the finest silk carpet in the world also mentioned in the Guinness book of world records came from Jaipur, India.
Carpets are not to be confused as home furnishing. Its a piece of art and to witness this artwork in India you would see what it takes to make a beautiful and exquisite piece of a carpet. A carpet is , as they say , only for the ones who fall in love with a carpet and they also say there is one carpet for each one of us..all we need to do is look for it at the right place.
Marble Sculptures and the art of Pietra Dura
“Pietra dura” is not exclusive to india but pietra dura done in marble is. Its a precious work of art wherein they take semi precious stones , the likes of Lapis lazuli, Malachite, Cornelian, Turquoise, opal , jasper etc and carefully shape them into different forms and patterns usually geometrical , floral or birds and animals and inlay it into the white marble and not just any marble but marble coming from the same quarries as it did while building the Tajmahal. When you step inside the main Tomb of Tajmahal you are left awestruck seeing the beautiful artwork all around , some done so perfectly that it appears to have been painted instead.
There is no school to learn this , it's a family tradition , passed on from one generation to the other and just like carpet making a dying art. The artisans in Agra excel in this art form , keeping in line with the tradition that their forefathers rendered while the taj mahal was being built. No wonder when the big Mosque was being built in Abu Dhabi, artisans from the city of Agra were flown into to Abu Dhabi to add glamour to the much opulent Big Mosque in Abu Dhabi.
Today , they do table tops , to coasters and boxes for each one of us to take home as their memorabilia of the Tajmahal.
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