- Kathak is the major classical dance form of northern India.
- There are three main gharanas, or schools of Kathak: Jaipur, Lucknow and the Banaras.
- Each has a slight difference in interpreta<on and The word Kathak means ‘to tell a story’.
- It is derived from the dance dramas of ancient India.
- The dance is primarily an abstract explora<on of rhythm and movement.
- Kathak demands the highest standards of training, intelligence, and most importantly, civility.
- Kathak involves gracefully coordinated movements of feet along with entire body.
- Today, Uttar Pradesh is home to two prominent schools of this dance form, namely, Lucknow Gharana and Banaras Gharana.
- Ramlila is a popular enactment of the epic It is believed that the great saint Tulsidas started the traditional of Ram Lila, the enactment of the story of Lord Ram.
- The Ramcharitamanas, written by him, forms the basis of Ram Lila performances till today.
- The Ramnagar Ram Lila (at Varanasi) is enacted in the most traditional style which lasts for almost one month.
- Hundreds of sadhus called the ‘Ramayanis’ come to watch and recite the Ramayana.
- The uniqueness of this Ram Lila is that it is not enacted on the stage but different events from the life of Lord Rama take place at different locales identified for the performance on different days.
- Thus, we have Ashok Vatika, Lanka, , at different locations in the town.
- The audience moves along with the performers with every episode, to the next location.
- In 2008, Ramlila was inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
- The folk heritage of Uttar Pradesh includes songs called rasiya (known and especially popular in Braj), which celebrate the divine love of Radha and Krishna. These songs are accompanied by large drums known as bumb and are performed at many Other folk dances or folk theater forms include Raslila, Swang, Ramlila, Nautanki, Naqal (mimicry), Qawwali, Ragini, Kajri, Alha and Biraha.
- Charkula is a folk dance of the Braj region.
- The charkula dance is particularly performed by the women on the third day of Holi, known as ‘Dooj’. It is believed that the love interest of Krishna, Radha was born on this auspicious day. According to the legendary tales, Radha’s grandmother ran out of the house with a wheel on her head, to announce the birth of her granddaughter. From then on, Charkula dance became a popular art form of the Braj region. It graces several auspicious occasions and festivals in the state
Chhapeli folk dance is performed at weddings by holding mirrors and handkerchiefs.
Dhurang (Dhuring) dance is performed by the ‘Doms’ and the ‘Bhotiyas’ and is connected with death ceremonies.
DIWALI AND PAI DANDA :
Diwali and Pai Danda are typical of the Bundelkhand region.
Kajri is a peasant dance offered as thanksgiving after a good crop.
RAI AND SHAIRA :
Rai and Shaira are folk dances of the Bundelkhand region.
- Agra’s fabled inlay work of precious stones like lapiz lazuli and machelite on Marble.
- The mosaics formed by the inlay work range from beautiful floral patterns to free flowing flower and vine themes on table tops, bowls, wall hangings, etc. The best of pietra dura work featuring delicate and intricate mosaics in jewel-like colours is made in Agra.
- Chikankari is fine art of embroidery made with white untwisted yarn with the help of a needle on a Yine plain The cloth is generally plain white, pink, maroon, shades of green etc. So that the embroidery work is visible. Earlier Chikankari was done on Yine white cotton fabric called muslin or mulmul, but with decline of availability of material, gradually the work was started being done on other fabrics like Organdie, Cotton and Silk, Voil, Chiffon, Lenin, Rubia, Khadi, Handloom cloth, Terry Cotton, Polyester, Georgette, Terry voil
- This is a home based industrial activity which is mainly performed by women artisans and workers. Firstly, designs are printed on the cloth with washable colours and different stitches or embroidery work is done on cloth. Due to the variety of stitching- styles involved in Chikankari, it is claimed to be one of its kind hand embroidery that is impossible to imitate. Chikan embroiders claim of about thirty-two different types and patterns of stitching work.
- It is a cottage industry for millions of people around Varanasi
- Most of the silk for the Banarasi sarees comes from South India, mainly from Bengaluru.
- Kinkhab is the art of using gold and silver thread on fine silk and cotton to create the rich brocades of Varanasi gold thread on a silver background.
- They are embellished with bird, animal and geometric patterns in the butidar and jaal style
- It is an important craft tradition of Uttar pradesh.
- The carpet weaving centres primarily located in the State are around Varanasi and its
- neighbouring areas of Mirzapur, Khamaria and Bhadohi which produce almost 90 per cent of the country’s carpets.
- They have their own distinct designs such as the Taj Mahal, Kethariwala Jal, Jamabaz, Kandhari, etc. Embossed, sculpted carpets in the Chinese style are also produced in Mirzapur.
- Mora in western Uttar Pradesh produces large quantities of metalware, specially brassware and it is famous for its coloured enamelling and intricate engravings.
- Also, metal lock industry of Aligarh is an example of master craftmanship.
- Saharanpur is well-known for its carved and brass inlay furniture items in wood of sheesham, sal and dudhi, used to make well-finished screens, room dividers and furniture items featuring jaali or lattice work and brass inlay work in floral and geometric patterns.
- Glazed pottery with white background and blue and green patterns is developed in Khurja, Chunar and Rampur in Uttar Pradesh.
- A very special kind of earthenware peculiar to Nizamabada and Azamgarh districts of Uttar Pradesh is distinguished by its dark lustrous finish.
- It has high gloss and lustre derived from a powder called kabiz, made from the mud of rice fields.
- Khurja is also well-known for its cheap and tough tableware.
- Khurja pottery has evolved a style of its own by raising the pattern with the use of thick slips into a light relief.
- A speciality of Khurja is a type of long pitcher decorated in relief by a thick slip.
- Specialised glazed items like tableware for modern use are produced in Chinhat and Mausalia
- Gorakhpur has villages where clay figures of animals are created.
- It is famous for its ornately decorated terracotta horse too.
- The potter creates the basic form by placing separate pieces of mud on the wheel and then carving them.
- Ferozabad is a glass town where the entire community seems to be involved in making glassware.
- Originally only glass bangles were made here, but now all types of sophisticated glassware including tasteful tableware is produced.
‘ATTARS’ OR PERFUMES
- They are produced in Kannauj (Lucknow-Unnao-Kanpur) region since the 19th century when the perfumers experimented and succeeded in making attar with delicate and lasting fragrances using various aromatic herbs, spices, sandal oil, musk, essence of flowers and leaves.
- The famous fragrances used in perfumes are khus, keora, chameli, zafran and agar.
- Lucknow is well-known for its jewellery and enamel work.
- Exquisite silverware with patterns of hunting scenes, snakes and roses are very Popular.
- Leather industry in Kanpur for supplying the raw material all over the world and shoe industry at Agra is well-known for its export and supplies within the country.
- The Bundelkhand region consists of five cities Chitrakoot , Deogarh, Jhansi, Kalinjar and Mahola.
- Jhansi is the gateway to Bundelkhand, a region rich in cultural Located in central India, the place used to be a stronghold of the Chandela kings.
- The legendary queen Rani Laxmi Bai led forces against the British rule during the revolt of 1857 and died bravely at the age of 22 years.
- Deogarh in Lalitpur district is known for Gupta monuments and many other monuments of Hindu and Jain origins.
FARRUKHABAD TEXTILE PRINTING
- The Farrukhabad school of designs and patterns range from the classical but is (Polka dots) to the famous Persian ‘ Tree of Life’. The butis are often printed on a subdued background thereby making it look attractive and sparkling when tinted in solid colours. Mango (keri) pattern is made in a variety of shapes, and used in bold, medium and even fine designs. Earlier the lblocks (dies) were usually made of shisham, mango and ebony; today brass blocks are used and the technique has undergone a number of changes. This school of hand printing uses both techniques — hand painting and block printing.
- The history of Farrukhabad style of printing can probably be traced back to when the city of Farrukhabad in Uttar Pradesh, was founded by the first Bangash Nawab, Muhammad Khan. The Nawab made special provision and constructed separate quarters for the guild of calico printers.
- The historically and archaeologically significant city of Mau produces one of the rarest types of sarees called Mau saree that derives its name from the city.
- Popularly called as the ‘city of weavers’, the weaving industry has been prevalent for at least 200 years if not The origin of the Mau saree is traced back to the 16th century.
- A resourceful weaver, Tansen set up a handloom in Maunath Bhanjan in the 16th century and produced a wafer-thin fabric.
- The initial products that were made in Mau were fishing nets, dhotis and gamchha. Over time, more people took to weaving and converted it into a large-scale manufacturing hub for handloom sarees. More than 60 percent of the population of Mau are engaged in the thriving textile industry. This has been a source of livelihood for many families and is closely associated with the rich culture and heritage of this city.
- Mau sarees are renowned for their novel designs, technique of hand spinning using extra weft (crosswise yarns), unique colour patterns and extremely thin fabric. The fine sarees of Mau are much sought-after in the country and the superior quality of craftsmanship lies in the care and detailing taken in each step of production that has been passed down generations.
- Mau sarees are produced by weavers using a combination of silk, cotton and art silk yarn through handlooms with pure silk and art silk used as warp (lengthwise yarns) and pure cotton and cotton yarn used as weft (crosswise yarns).
- Each family has 1 or 2 handlooms in their home and raw materials like cotton yarn, silk, art silk, viscose, zari and others are locally sourced. The saree is produced using multi- colour warp fibre and weft of single colour. The yarn is dyed manually in 6 to 8 colours and wrapped on a stick called loori. Normally, threads in 3 or 4 colours are used for preparing the tanna (a machine for warping) depending on the design chosen. The warp for sarees is taken of 5 – 6 saree lengths with each saree length dyed in a different colour for variety.
- Dobbies are used to make the conventional butties and small designs in the saree. The weavers use ‘hand lacing’ for larger designs. Designs are drawn onto the saree using the jacquard technique where designs are drawn on plain paper, converted on graph paper and then punched into cards as per the required sequence. These cards are used by the jacquard to provide the exact sequence of colours of threads required for the design. The jacquard is run by the weaver by moving a pedal and has a rectangular block on which the chain of punch cards Each card has a different pattern of holes as per their design
- When the block strikes against a set of needles, it pushes the requisite hooks The needles where the card is punched remains still while the other needles are pressed and hooks associated with them are withdrawn leaving behind the threads in the background. Thus, the threads in the hooks whose needles were not pressed due to the hole in the punch card come forward to be a part of the weft while the rest remain still allowing for the complex designs on the fabric.
- The design frames used in these looms are unique as every jacquard has a different design plate which cannot be used in another. Once the saree is finished as per the design, it is checked for quality and finishing and extra zari warp is Calendering is done using any one of three available methods of heat, wax and deca to render the final look for the Mau saree
- It is amazing that a single warp (lengthwise yarns) in 10 different colours is used to make 10 different coloured sarees! It is unsurprising that the intricately detailed sarees with their harmonious combination of butties, patterns, motifs and zari in dazzling colours have found their way in markets across India and abroad
BANARAS METAL REPOUSSE CRAFT
- The ancient repoussé craft, considered to be even older than the Banarasi Silk handloom industry has flourished in the heritage city of Varanasi since the Vedic Traditional artisans use the repoussé technique to make faces of gods and goddesses, gold and silver dresses, traditional ornaments, doors, wall decorations in temples and unique gold and silver utensils.
- One of the most famous examples of metal repoussé craft is the golden spire of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Historical records say that this art was perfected in the Vedic era and continued to thrive in the Ramayana and Mahabharat period. Metal figures have been unearthed at archaeological excavations in Harappa and Mohenjo-daro.
- Repoussé is an extremely innovative technique that offers diversity of expression and The technique involves a malleable metal that can be ornamented or shaped by hammering from the reverse side with a raised design getting formed in the front. This technique is economical as well as it allows maximum usage of the metal and its plasticity. This technique is referred to as embossing (Khal – Ubhaar Ka Kaam) or ‘chasing’ and secrets of this age-old craft has been preserved by the Kasera community for generations. This is completely handmade using traditional tools.
- First, drawings of both traditional and modern patterns and designs are made by hand on The metal sheet (gold, silver, copper, brass and white metal) from 18 to 26-gauge thickness is prepared and cut. The metal sheet is filled with lac and the design is transferred using traditional small tools. The paper design is removed and embossing work begins with the side which has to be depressed beaten down. The lac is then heated and melted.
- The sheet is reversed and sections to be raised in the finished design are beaten The process is repeated 3 – 4 times so that all the details are incorporated. The product is washed in acid through an old method of cleaning. The artisan inspects the final work for quality and finishing
- This process is time-consuming but as one continuous metal surface of uniform thickness is used, the quality of the final product is excellent. Even heavy repoussé work on thin metal sheets has intricately detailed motifs, designs, figures, symbols, flowers and The stunning creations of doors, wall plates, religious embellishments, utensils, cultural symbols and figurines are in great demand in all places of worship in and around Varanasi as well as across India.
Records indicate that over 500 families are engaged in the production of these exquisite products. Banaras metal repoussé craft was awarded the Geographical Indication Tag (GI) in 2016.
VARANASI GLASS BEADS
- The ancient city of Varanasi is one of the major centres of glass beads also known as kaanch ke moti. Historians say that glass has been used since ancient times and many archaeological excavations have unearthed glass pieces and crucibles that are over thousands of years old in different parts of Uttar Besides this, there is evidence that this art of bead making dates back to the late-Harappan period. Kaushambi and Ahichchhatra (ancient capital of Panchala kingdom) were also believed to be important centres of glass bead making. Glass beads were used to decorate cattle harnesses in the ancient times. However, somewhere along the way, this ancient craft was forgotten and lost in history.
- Czech natives, Mr and Mrs Henrich conducted a diploma course in glass beads in the Banaras Hindu University in 1938. Mr. Kanhaiya Lal Gupta was one of the students who enrolled for the Soon after, he began to commercially make glass beads under the guidance of Mr. Henrich. This modest beginning of glass beads gradually grew into one of most successful establishments in Varanasi and India providing employment to thousands of people.
- As there is abundant supply of a wide-range of semi-precious quartz materials like chalcedony, agate, onyx, jasper and rock crystal, Varanasi today is home to over three lakh types of glass beads. This artistic work is done largely in the rural areas of Varanasi with a large number of men and women employed. The annual glass beads production is around 105 crores of which 70% is exported to USA, Europe, Kenya, Columbia and UK.
- The lampworking technique is used to create glass beads in Varanasi. This technique uses oil fuel burner to melt rods and tubes of clear and coloured glass. The craftsman uses an array of flames emerging from different burners of a lamp to heat the glass rods. Once the glass starts melting, the craftsman quickly rolls the molten glass onto a metal stick on which a layer of chalk is pasted to create the basic shape of the bead.
- The craftsman holds the glass rod in front of the lamp flames to let it melt and rotates the metal stick kept in the other hand to let the molten glass get rolled over the chalk layer. The chalk layer is very important as it does not allow the bead to get stuck on the stick and helps to provide a smooth and uniform hole in the middle. Additional colours of glass rods are melted based on the design to add embellishments like flowers, dots, lines, curves and other motifs.
- Gold and silver foils are used to make gold and silver foil beads. These require masterly skill as the gold or silver foil are wrapped around the chalk pasted metal stick and transparent molten glass is rolled over it to give the desired shape of the bead.
- The very popular Millefiori beads are made by applying glass chips to the molten wound glass core and made into beads. Transparent coloured beads also known as crystal beads are made by giving the desired colour, size and shape with the help of a flat metal sheet and dye. It is followed by rolling a layer of transparent glass over the coloured glass which gives an appearance of a single transparent colour.
- Various types of glass beads like hollow beads, fancy beads, painted beads, silver foiled transparent beads, opaque coloured beads, zigzag design beads and others adopt different variations of the lampworking technique.
- The completed bead will be annealed in a kiln (process of slowly cooling hot glass objects after they have been formed) to set the consistency, texture and hardness. The finished beads are graded and Based on the client’s requirements, the beads are drum polished, table cut or facetted to give the desired shine and shape. Generally, the size of the bead varies from half an inch to three inches. The see-through hole is uniform and narrow around 2 mm to 5 mm in diameter.
- As this is entirely hand crafted, no two glass beads are identical though they have striking The main types of glass beads made in Varanasi are single colour crystal beads, painted, transparent, opaque, animal shaped, dotted, Venetian, Millefiori, Kashmiri, Murano glass, ceramic, silver foil, prayer, fancy chip flower beads and others.
- Varanasi glass beads was awarded the Geographical Indication Tag (GI) in 2016.
VARANASI WOODEN LACQUERED WARE
- For many years, Varanasi in the state of Uttar Pradesh was considered to be one of the largest toy-making centres in This ancient craft is believed to have received great patronage from many kings as well as from the Mughals and British. There is not much information available about the origin of this craft in Varanasi but Varanasi as we all know is synonymous with mysteries.
- The colonies of craftsmen in Kashmiri Ganj, Khojwa and Varanasi have been practising this traditional craft for many generations. It is quite common to see a circular saw embedded in a cemented platform in all the houses engaged in this craft. This traditional craft of wooden toys uses wood that is locally sourced like mahua, mango, ecualyptus, kemah, chilbil and haldu. Locals say that earlier sal and sheesham were used in making these toys but these days due to increased prices, cheaper and lighter wood is sourced.
- After the size of the toy is determined, a wood block is cut from the log. Each cut piece undergoes a process of slow heating to remove all the The piece is then cleaned and sanded to get a smooth surface. A tracing of the design of the toy is made on the piece. The piece is chiselled according to the design and smoothened with a file. Ordinarily, a whole toy is carved out from a single piece of wood but in certain designs, different parts are carved out separately and joined with an adhesive.
- After the toy is carved out, it is dipped in distemper. When it becomes dry, it is painted evenly with Duco white paint. Generally, the toy is given two coats followed by a last coat of lacquer to bring the sheen to the A brush made out of the hair of squirrel’s tail is used for detailed work. The toys of the same design are painted together where they prepare one colour and paint all the toys of that batch with it. Then, it is left to dry before the next colour is prepared. These gaily painted toys of a batch follow the sample though with slight colour variations.
- The lacquerware is done on a lathe and the lacquer is blended with the colours required for the woodware on a stick and pressed against As the lathe keeps revolving, the heat generated melts the lacquer making the colour stick to the surface of the wood. Some of the lacquered pieces are painted with a brush. Bright non-toxic or acrylic based colours are used for these.
- The themes that are very popular are wooden utensils, spinning tops, birds and animals, butterflies and complete sets of orchestras and dance ensembles as well as dolls of all shapes and sizes with sets of furniture according to their sizes. These beautiful toys also depict social life, rural activities, religious inferences as well as traditional Indian motifs and culture
It is very heart-warming to see these hugely popular sustainable wooden toys are in great demand in India and exported to various parts of the world in large quantities. Varanasi wooden lacquerware and toys received the Geographical Indication Tag (GI) in 2015.
PERFUME MAKING – KANNAUJ
- Strategically located on the banks of River Ganga, the city of Kannauj was once an important trading hub for Indian perfumes, spices and silks that were sent mainly to the countries in the Middle East. The city has a glorious history with its strong connections to the Ramayana and Mahabharat as well as being the capital of Emperor Harshavardhan of the Vardhana dynasty. References of attar making is seen in Harshacharita written by Banabhatta as early as the 7th century. It is also believed that the manufacturing of attar attained great heights during the Mughal period.
- The city steeped in culture still has remnants of sprawling forts and royal facades that stand testimony to its ancient heritage. Kannauj has traditionally been a perfumery town for thousands of years. It is said that Kannauj is to India what Grasse is to France and that is a very significant indicator of the exemplary art of perfume-making that flourishes in the City.
- It is this great accomplishment that helped Kannauj perfumes receive the Geographical Indication tag in 2014 for its originality and mastery in the art of perfume-making.
- The intricate process of perfume-making starts every morning with bagfuls of rose, jasmine and other petals and heady spices delivered by the local farmers to the perfume distilleries. It is interesting to note that the traditional labour intensive and tedious hydro- distillation process, called ‘deg bhapka’ is still preferred as the locals believe that attar making is all about instinct and the right nose.
- Each still that follows this ancient, painstakingly slow distillation has a copper deg that is built atop its own oven and beside its own trough of water is a bulbous condenser called a bhapka (receiver). When a fresh supply of flowers comes in early morning, the craftsmen put pounds of rose or jasmine or other petals into each deg, cover the deg with water, hammer a lid down on top and seal it with mud. They light a wood or cow-dung fire underneath, then fill the receiver with sandalwood oil which serves as a base for the scents and sink it into the trough. The deg and bhapka are connected with a hollow bamboo pipe that carries the fragrant vapours from the simmering pot into their sandalwood oil base.
- The fires are closely monitored so the heat under the cauldrons stays warm enough to evaporate the water inside to steam but never so hot that it destroys the aroma. It is imperative to keep the trough of water that holds the receiver cool enough for the vapours to turn back into a liquid imbuing the sandalwood oil with their heady scent. Every few hours, the receiver is switched and the deg is cooled down with wet cloths to stop the condensation.
- On an average it would take six to seven hours before all of the aroma steams out of the At that point, the men would drain the receivers from a hole in the bottom, siphoning off the water that had condensed in the vessel until only the rich, fragrant oil that had pooled on top remained. The attar is not finished until it is poured into a special leather bottle called a kuppi and sealed inside. It is believed that attar not stored in the kuppi is essentially ruined. The entire distillation process is eco-friendly and there is minimal wastage. The waste inside the deg is collected and recycled for making agarbatti and dhoop.
- The most famous fragrance is of petrichor known as mitti attar which means capturing the scent of rain which is a well-guarded secret between generations of families who are in this business. The natural perfume is free of alcohol and chemical except in some productions
- Every Hindu scripture has riveting descriptions of magnificent cities, grand palaces and alluring inner chambers that are richly embellished with gold, diamonds, precious stones and expensive cloths. The bright floor coverings that were spread out to receive Lord Krishna at Shauripur near Agra have been described at length in the Mahabharat and the origin of the Agra durrie can be traced back to this ancient period.
- India has been known to create stunning floor mats since time immemorial. This traditional craft was patronized by all the Indian kings in a manner typical to their culture and heritage. This craft received a significant boost during the reign of Akbar who was fascinated with the intricate designs and bold colours. Agra, Fatehpur Sikri and Lahore were established as centres for weaving prayer mats, carpets, rugs and other types of decorative floor mats during his reign.
- Agra durrie is a flat-woven pileless rug in a variety of designs and colours. These may have simple stripes running from end to end or rectilinear sections or simple patterns in single colour or multi-colour. There are three types of durries namely those made of cotton or jute or hemp, wool and waste cloth. All durries are woven in the weft-faced plain weave.
- The base material for durrie made of cotton or jute or hemp is ply cotton yarn with jute yarn or hemp and ply cotton yarn for warp and unspun cotton or jute yarn for weft. As Agra is known for its natural vegetable dyes, madder root (pinks and reds), turmeric root (light yellow), pomegranate skin (darker yellow), rhubarb (dark red and copper red), kusa (green) and kikar tree leaves (brown) are used to dye the raw material in age-old methods.
- A sketch of the design is first drawn on graph paper. The master weaver lays the warp first with the weft wound into little rectangular bundles. A single weft bundle is inserted as per the design and the appropriate coloured yarns are woven carefully line by line. A weft-faced plain with dovetail joins is used for interlocking the two colours in the same Each line of weft on completion is tightened by beating it down with the panja. This process is repeated till the design is completed. Excess weft threads are trimmed and the rug is washed and finished. It is very common to see blue and white stripes, uniformly repeated geometric motifs framed by simple borders, flowers, birds, reptiles, people and pictorial designs in this type of durrie.
- Woollen durries use ply cotton yarn as warp, ply dyed wool yarn or worsted undyed wool yarn for weft. It is essential to sort out the wool fleece by hand and separate it according to colour and quality. The durrie is woven in the weft-faced plain weave in the same manner as mentioned All edges are trimmed and washed and finished.
- Chindi durrie uses ply cotton yarn as warp, scrap or leather or jute or waste cloth as weft. These scraps of woven fabrics are picked up from markets across India and shredded into small strips of 9 inches size. The horizontal ground loom consisting of two wooden beams to which the warp threads are attached is used to make these durries.
- The designs are drawn on graph paper. The chindi dyed in vibrant colours is inserted in the warp according to the desired pattern. As the length is small, another chindi is inserted so that two – three warps will have a double chindi. This process is repeated to make sure there are no holes during Chindi durries are very innovative in terms of size, colour and design and have been gaining popularity in the domestic as well as international markets
The weaving industry of Agra has been thriving as a cottage industry for centuries and provides employment opportunities for thousands of people. Agra durrie requires a highly skilled workforce who express their creativity in inventive ways. Agra durrie has been granted the Geographical Indication Tag (GI) in 2013.
GHAZIAPUR WALL HANGING
- One of the most exquisite handicrafts of Uttar Pradesh are the wall hangings of Ghazipur that are renowned for its innovative designs, weaving and craftsmanship. This craft is practised in villages of Ghazipur, Mirzapur, Varanasi and Chandauli, with more than 3000 families engaged in this centuries-old art.
- The artisans use an ancient Banaras weaving technique called naka jala taka to create these unusual designs that are known for their naturalistic appeal and stylistic presentation. Hindu Gods and Goddesses, forests, birds, animals and houses are created using jute, cotton, silk and fabric.
- These are traditional handloom products made with blend threads of jute yarn and other yarns in myriad colours and strength without using Natural yarns are bleached using traditional techniques to get white and soft discoloured yarn. Dyeing process is done using hot (dark colours) and cold water (light colours).
- After the yarn is dried, the tana (warp) is prepared for weaving. Bana (weft) of different colours is arranged as per the design. Bana of different shades and colours are blended and mixed with tana by hand so that the motifs are clearly visible. Weaving is done in pit looms.
- Extra threads and yarn are cut and the jute wall hanging is kept steady for the embroidery New motifs and designs that cannot be woven are embroidered with silk and jute. Patterns like the branches of trees, flower motifs and leaves are generally embroidered. Roofs, bridges, boats and carts are made in the next process of rapping. Windows are made in the patching process stage.
Age-old patterns and traditional weaving process from start to finish are still adopted by the cluster of artisans who have strived to maintain the uniqueness of this handloom product. Ghazipur wall hanging was granted the Geographical Indication Tag (GI) in 2018.