A Few Important Things About The Wooden Handicrafts of Varanasi
Whenever we visit someplace, we always bring back memories like pictures, moments, gifts and mementos. These not only revive fond memories but also adorn our houses with the speciality of that place, region or culture. Today, we will take a look at the famous wooden handicrafts of Varanasi and know a few things about them.
Varanasi, the sacred capital of India also has its own share of cultural heritage. One of them is the unique and beautiful wooden handicrafts, which you cannot miss if you have visited the city. They are so attractive, eye-catching and colorful that you would have to decorate a few in your house or give them as a gift to someone. They are mostly in the form of toys or home decor. Apart from wood, you will also find skilled artisans working with clay and stone as base material for making these amazing handicrafts.
You really need to see physically how beautiful these handicrafts are, but here are a few pointers about them, which will intrigue you.
What are the different types?
Varanasi is mostly known for wooden lacquered toys. Usually, they are smaller types like a kitchen set or similar toys. Sometimes, small statues are also made by carving in the wood. The toys have a rural touch or depict village landscape, bullock carts, village people or cooking vessels. Religion and cultural theme are generally depicted through toys.
How are they made?
Blocks of wood are cut into desired shapes. Then, sandpaper and hammer are used to carve the toys. Finally, colours are used for decorating. They are also soaked in distemper to give the finish and shine. These can also be made by machine, which gives more finesses and intricate detailing.
The different types of wood that are used to make toys are Safeda, Kirbil, Gulhar, Sheesham and others. Different materials are used in making toys like Rukhana Baaki, Chaursa, Batali, Berma for making the holes, Chausi for peeling the wood, Kholian for fine works, Lac for colouring and others.
There are two types of machines for making these toys – Spindle, where turning wood pieces rotate and grains are thrown out in the same direction and Faceplate, where wood particles run vertically to the rotation in the lathe.
But, the ones which are made by craftsmen with their hands are more expensive as they are beautifully carved and also shows their love and dedication for this form of art.
Who make these handicrafts?
These craftsmen are really talented and they have been making these handicrafts over generations. They pass on this legacy to the family. The entire toy making process requires precision, but they probably never get their worth. Over 40% of the production goes for exports. They often sell during festivals and fairs, especially during July till November. It is a lot of hard work for these artisans, and in certain workshops, 10 to 15 workers work together and a painter completes around 25 to 30 pieces in one go.
Where to find these handicrafts?
You can buy these handicrafts at cheaper rates at any of the local markets. They are also available in Emporiums and shops like Shivam Arts, Kashi Handicrafts, and others. You can also check this article about the wholesale markets in Varanasi, where these handicrafts are available. Also, check here regarding the hottest shopping destination in Varanasi.
Though, the clothing industry of Varanasi is the biggest and most prominent, handicrafts of different forms are also famous. So, if you are visiting this holy city, make sure you bring back a nice memento and also fill your bags with these lightweight yet memorable gifts for your friends.
The craftsmen of Varanasi will continue to make such wonderful handicrafts to uphold our culture and heritage. Hope their name and fame reaches far and wide, and they get what they truly deserve.