Handicrafts of Madhya Pradesh

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Handicrafts of Madhya Pradesh In the heartland of India lies the State of Madhya Pradesh. Filled with lush forests, magnificent monuments, exuberant festivity and blissful solitude. In this land of wonderful and contrasting variety, handicrafts lend a touch of mystique – a charm unique to Madhya Pradesh. They radiate an aura, exhibit hereditary skills, whisper painstaking craftsmanship and evoke an urgent desire to learn more about the land and its colourful people.

Apart from green woods, rich wildlife, forts and monuments, Madhya Pradesh also specializes in different arts and crafts. The intricate art of Madhya Pradesh reveal its rich culture and heritage. The works of Handicraft include Terracota, Paintings, glass work, wood craft, basket and bamboo, metal craft, stone work, iron craft and some fine art craft.


A simple wheel, magical hands mould shapeless clay into superb forms. Terracotta, the truly fascinating art of imitating life creates traditional figurines of deities, huge elephants, serpents, birds, horses and innumerable more shapes. Terracotta in Madhya Pradesh achieves a stature quite unique in its spread, variety and mastery. The craft has been providing the society with ritualistic and useful objects.


Folk paintings of Madhya Pradesh depict the life of its simple, religious people with vivid colours, rustic settings and emotive offerings. The spirit of worship and festivity finds repeated yet inspired expressions. The vista stretches through the fascinating wall paintings of Bundelkhand, Gondwana, Nimar and Malwa. Images from daily life find expressions through intimate details.

Glass Work

Glass work of Madhya Pradesh is at its regal best. Lucent, luminous, resplendent, lustrous and brilliant. Gleaming glasses, beaming bowls, twinkling plates and decorative articles are living poetry in crystal, beautifully sculpted by skilful hands from Madhya Pradesh.

Wood Craft

The wood craft of Madhya Pradesh unveils marvels in refinement and intricacy. Figures carved out of wood from the very small like miniaturized animals and human figures to large objects of furniture find representation in the traditional wood craft of Madhya Pradesh and its tribal areas. Images and objects from nature and real life fish, cock, warriors with bows and arrows, peacocks, horse riders, elephants, lion’s head carved out of wood speak for themselves the expertise and beauty of this craft. Locally available shisham, teak, dhudhi, sal, kidar and bamboo are carved into various shapes providing utilitarian and decorative creations.

There is an ancient and rich tradition of wood craft in the tribal belts of the state. The Gond and Baigas of Mandla region use wood for constructing their homes, artistic door frames, doors, chowkies, musical instruments. Baigas continue to use wooden masks. The traditional wooden doors of the Gonds and the Korkus and the memory reliefs and the wedding pillars of the Barihaya tribe are fascinating. In the Bhil dominated area of Dhar, Jhabua and Nimar, practice of erecting memory pillars, Gatha, prevails. The containers for grinding stones and chowkies for measuring up the grains are made of wood and are beautifully carved. The doors bear the beautifully carved figures of animals, birds as well as various patterns, while knives and combs boast intricate carvings. Alirajpur and Jhabua are the two main centres to see the tribal Bhil woodcraft.

Baskets and Bamboo

Basket and mat weaving is a major craft in Madhya Pradesh because of readily available Bamboo. A variety of baskets and woven mats can be found at local haat (market) in Balaghat, Seoni, Chhindwara and Betul. The Toori community in Betul district weave about 50 different types of baskets which are used for various daily needs and ceremonial presentations during the festive occasions. Beautifully crafted baskets and windows of bamboo are found in Alirajpur. Bamboo and cane are used for chairs, tables, lamps and many other furniture accessories. Things made of bamboo are collectable art pieces.

Metal Craft

The metal Handicrafts of Madhya Pradesh has a fascinating range. The master craftsmen of the state have created symphonies in metal. The earlier craft was confined to utensils and ornament but later craftsmen diversified their work to include icons of locally revered deities, figures of human, animals and birds and other decorative objects.

Swarnakars of Tikamgarh who trace their origin to the city of Ayodhya, particularly known for their use of wired metal, specialise in making traditional utensils like the hukka, gudguda, kichdi ka bela and puliya. They cast folk ornaments in brass, bronze, white metal and silver and embellish them with the chunni, belchuda, muttermala, bichau, kardhona, gajra and other articles of adornment. The decorative objects include elephant, horse, thrones of Thakurji, oxen, jewellery box, door handle, betal nut cutter etc. along with figures of local deities. Tikamgarh is famed for chariots and brass horses with wheels.

Iron Craft

The story of blacksmithy is almost as old as the land itself. Scrap iron is heated on the furnance and then beaten repeatedly to craft into objects of decoration and utility. The tribal lohars (blacksmiths) of Madhya Pradesh craft iron into art. The handcrafted designs of composite decorative diyas (lamps) enchanting little birds, animals that are both traditional and contemporary just fascinate. The iron also takes forms of sankal (chain), chitkanis (latches), chhuri (knife), kulhari (axe) and delicate ornaments. With the changing time, the art is being given new interpretations to suit the tastes of the modern times. Karera in Shivpuri district is known for its artistic and fine work in iron.

Papier Mache

The Nagavanshi community artists of Madhya Pradesh particularly from Bhopal, Ujjain, Gwalior and Ratlam regions excel in the art creating from replicas of birds, to icons of deities, traditional baskets and other decorative pieces.

Stone Work

Stone carving has been an expression of the spiritual quest for the tribal artists of Madhya Pradesh. Embellished with jalli or lattice work figurines of gods and goddesses, of birds and animals of the heavenly and the earthly make one gaze in wonder.

Gwalior is a centre for stone carving (lattice work) on locally available sand stone. Kari near Tikamgarh is famous for making utensils out of multicoloured marble. Religious idols in white marble are carved at Ratlam by the migrated Rajasthani crafts persons. Shops at Bhedaghat in Jabalpur are lined with marble statues.

Major Shopping Centres

Mrignayani – Chain of government sponsored emporia a unit of the Madhya Pradesh Hastshilp Evam Hathkargha Vikas Nigam Ltd. showcase the range of the art and creations of the master craftsmen of Handicrafts of Madhya Pradesh. The showrooms of Mrignayani in major towns of the state, metro towns and major tourist destinations in India display and sell vast and exclusive range of handicraft items, metal items, terracotta and pottery, paintings, jewellery and textile etc.

Buy life like leather toys from Shanker Ganj in Indore, variety of birds in papier mache from local shops in Ujjain, bamboo products from Betul and Ujjain, Lacquered toys from Budhni in Sehore district, lac bangles from Depalpur in Indore and Tilak Marg in Ratlam, fine iron work from Karera in Shivpuri, tribal crafts from local shops in Khajuraho, tribal jewellery from Tikamgarh, marble artifacts from Jabalpur, handmade footwear from Gwalior, fabric in tie and dye prints and batik from Indore, handmade paper at Khadi Gram Udyog in Gwalior, terracotta craft from Dhar, Indore, Ujjain and Dewas, traditional Bhopali crafts like silver jewellery, beadwork, embroidered velvet fashion purses from Chowk in the heart of the old city in Bhopal and from upmarket emporia and shops situated in New Market. Hastshilp Evam Hathkargha Vikas Nigam organises craft bazars in Bhopal, Indore, Jabalpur, Pachmarhi and Gwalior.


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