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Shopping in Rajasthan
The curious thing about Rajasthan is that the richness of its heritage is so extraordinary it touches every aspect of their lives and finds new meanings in the expressions of the visitors. Walking through the baazars of Jaipur one can see silver ornaments, fistful of semi precious and precious stones, hand blocked printed fabrics, terracotta pots, embroideried shoes, piles of paintings, wood and metallic crafted objects and handicrafts and so on.
Lets look at what you can find in some of the towns:
Sadar Baazar is very famous. One can pick up vibrant embroidaries, woollen durries and stone carvings.
Is well known for camel products which could be leather footwear and its gesso work. Wool carpets and blankets, quilts in light coytton, and dyed cotton fabrics. There are lots of tiny shops in Kot gate.
Known for its wooden painted toys made in the sorrounding villages and thewa gold jewellery in its own distinctive style. Also Akola printed fabrics and leather juttees made in Gangrar.
The local tradition is carving seen best in wooden boxes that are intricately pierced in patterns and motifs. Woolen and cotton rugs and blankets, embroideried fabrics, silver jewellery and trinkets are available in shops.
Once brides came here for trosseau shopping because of its dyes and prints. The fabrics can still be found in baazars and you may want to try on a sporty pair of Jodhpur. Badalas or zinc alloy pitchers used to carry water covered with felted cloth were an earlier version of today's water flask. Also one can hunt for wooden toys, leather goods, paintings, juttees and silver jewellery. Pieces of old furniture and artefacts can be found here.
Is best known for checked weave cotton sarees called Kota doriyas in light floral prints.
The meal at Pushkar in November beams with shops exhibiting fabrics, embroideries, utensils, terracots pots, trinkets, silver jewellery, camel saddles, blankets, shawls, beads, bangles and other baubles.
Known for the famous Shekhavati chair which is low legged this region is known for its wood carvings, metal utensils, made old furniture and tie-dye fabrics.
Myriad shops with paintings of the miniature and pichwai variety as well as terracotta tables and plaques. There are locally dyed fabrics and textiles, embroideries, wooden toys, white metal objects, silver enamel artefacts and images of Krishna in the Nathdwara style.
The traditional oil jar which are cylindrical and slim in shape is used for storing oil and its shape allowed it to be carried on the camel back. It is usually painted in the Pichwai style with scenes of lovers. It is available in a varied of sizes and shapes and its a showpiece item.
Tracing back to the Persian origin of quartz glaze pottery making reached a new prowl at the time of Sawai jai Singh II. Made from crushed quartz, fuller's earth and sodium sulphite and baked in kilnsat high temperature the blue pottery is then hand painted in blue shades and recently colours like yellow, pink and green has also creeped in. Quite famous in Jaipur there are various studios where blue pottery is made. The floral designs reveal their Persian influence.
Dhurries and Carpets
The dhurrie is a humble cotton carpet. There are single coloured ones to geometric designs in contrasting colours. Available in various colours and sizes it is not only found in jaipur but also in villages all over the state. In Jaisalmer and Bikaner since the temperature are high woolen carpets with camel hair are seen. Inspired by mugal traditions Bikaner is famous for jail carpets(carpets woven by prisoners). The Jaipuri hand woven knotted carpet include peacock motiffs and other local designs. The felted rug is made in Tonk and is decorated in embroideries, they are used has wall hangings as well as on the floors.
The block printers from Sanganer and Bangru creates lenghts for stitching up dresses, the linen on the region is famous. The art of fabric printing and dyeing is associated both with home furnishing and clothers for personal wear and cotton fabrics for both. Rajasthan is known for tie dye technique in which the fabrics are tied into small twists using thread. They are dipped into vats of bright colours to create mosaic patterns. Called bandhani thjese textiles are used for sarees and odhnis and the various designs are named as chunari (dotted), lahariya (diagonal fiels of striped waves), mothra (larger dots)and other designs.
Furniture aand Wood Carving
The oldest piece of furniture still survives in Bikaner and one can view it in the Junagarh fort. Although it is not a marvellous piece, it is the throne of the Rathore rulers. Made of wood and is lightly carved. Rajasthan has made old furniture in which doors, windows, wooden jharokas, tables with cast iron jaalis, side boards, chairs, benches, jhoolas or swings, dressers and more can be seen here. One can shop for painted chairs in Kishangarh, the leather embroideried chairs in Tilonia, the carved back string bottom chairs in Shekhavatiand also marble tops for tables.
This craft to emerge from Bikaneruses the inner hide of the camel. the hide is scraped till it has the consistency of paper and then it is moulded into forms of lamp shades and frames to flasks. It is then painted with fine gesso workusing gold to lend brightness to the reds and green colours used in the work.
Jewellery and Stones
Rajasthan is one of the largest centeres for hand cutting precious stones. You find piles of onyx, cat;s eye, lapiz, lazuli, carnelian, garnets amethysys and topaz. Semi precious and precious stones come to Jaipur for cutting and polishing and also for use in jewellery, they are also carved into figures and statues. You can also visit a goldsmith's studio and have a view of their workman ship.
The hides of dead animals are used to make jutees which are embroideried foortwear, saddles bags or even pouches. It is used as the back of chairs after it is decorated with woollen motifs. The so called juutees could be painful to wear for the first few days but after that it becomes adapted to your feet making it the comfortable footwear in your wardrobe.
Metal crafts became famous as the warrior;s need to embellish his armour. After the art of enamelling was used in swords and its handles it later began to be used for everything from table tops to wall plates flasks and other art pieces. Usually done with brass patterns of animals and orchaestra of musicians, caparisoned elephants or human figures. Silver pieces of art are some of the finest pieces of art.
Udaipur and Jaipur have miniature artists create incredible portfolios of scenes from the history. The traditional paintings used were vegetable and mineral dyes wheres now synthetic colours. Other painting forms are the phads or scrolls with tales of Pabuji, the pichwais with their Krishna legends, the centre of the best pichwais is Nathdwara near Udaipur where the paintings are decorated with precious stones.
Walking around Hawa Mahal in Jaipur one can see a array of puppets on sale. It is one of the oldest tradition of Rajasthan. The puppets have large expressive eyes with archedeyebrows and curling mustache for men.
From Dholpur near Bharatpur to Barmer in the heart of the desert the stone masonary is quite encouraging. It puts in everything from pink and red sandstone, marble, tamara, chlorite depicting frescoes, figures of gods and so on.
Terracotta pots was used to cook food and is still done even today. It is used to store water dure to its slow evaporation and it keeps water cool in hote temperatures. Udaipur has developed it into a fine art. Here not onle pots but warriors on horses, elephants etc are made form terracotta