32 Awesome gifts that foreign travellers can take home from india

Shopping is an art and it is best developed in countries as diverse as India. Indeed a paradise for shoppers, India boasts being one of the most dynamic retail industries in the world. Ideal gifts to take home from India would be something that comes from its unique handicraft and handloom traditions. The handicraft and handloom reflect the best of India; the fine craftsmanship, intense labour, appropriate usage of local resources and the creative bend can clearly be witnessed from variety of Indian-made products. In other words, one can be spoilt for choices as each state and province in India specializes in making range of items. Taking one of these items is like taking slice of India home. Yes, there could be constraint over the size and weight of the product allowed in the luggage, therefore one has to be careful while choosing a gift from India.

In order to help you choose the right gift for your loved ones from a country that equally adores its art and craft, we have created a list of 32 gift items that you must carry home from India.

Like its rich and vivid culture, Punjab has a rich heritage in the form of Phulkari embroidery. Literally meaning ‘Flower Work’, this embroidery art has lived up to be reminiscence for both Punjab and Pakistan. A ubiquitous in the women of both the places before independence, Phulkari is one of those things that constantly remind that the two countries have one heart. Introduced probably by Jat people, Phulkari was a significant part of major events of a woman’s life (wedding, birth, ceremonies, and religious functions). It is believed that technique and patterns were passed on from one generation to another with a word of mouth only. A cloth that is fully embroidered would be called Bagh and half or sparsely embroidered cloth would be called Adha Bagh. An ideal Phukari gift would be a dress material but bolsters, pillow covers and even bedsheets can be bought of the same art. When you gift a Phulkari work to someone, do not forget to tell them the fact that it is one of the strings that unites Pakistan with India.

Puppetry is an ancient art in India for storytelling. The art of making puppets in Rajasthan is maintained by Bhats of the Nat community of bardic traditions. This community not only makes puppets but also perform folklores with them. It is believed that King Vikramaditya of Ujjain, who ruled in 1 century BC had 32 talking dolls in his court, thus it can be estimated that the art of making puppets is quite old in India. The special Rajasthani puppets are made of soft wood, which is carved and then decorated with fabrics that have Rajasthan’s origin. The Puppeteers live in Nagaur, Bikaner, Ajmer, Udaipur and Jaipur, but wander all through Rajasthan performing and selling their dolls. Unfortunately this unique art of both puppetry and puppet making is seeing a downfall in the state, although efforts are made to keep it alive as far as it possible. Gifting a puppet sure is a nice way to tell a loved one about this lively art of India. It will infact be a contribution of keeping alive a tradition that is about to lose its identity.

Chanderi sarees are amongst the best examples of the handloom in India. The transparency and the luster of the material make it stand apart from other handloom products in India. Originating in the Chanderi town in Madhya Pradesh, this art has come a long way. It is believed that it has its origin dating back to Vedic Period and was introduced by Lord Krishna’s cousin Shishupal. However, it were the Scindias who patronized Chanderi. The fabric of silk and cotton are mixed to make the base for Chanderi sarees then the motifs of flowers, net patterns, coin and other traditional shapes are inserted in the saree. Majority of the motifs are inspired by earth, sky, birds, flowers, man and woman. Sometimes zari work can also be seen on the saree. With all that hard work going into it, the outcome is naturally predicted to be excellent. You can take home one of the Chanderi Sarees as a gift for a loved one. And you should surely tell them about the amount of hard work that goes in making this piece of art.

Bidri metal inlay work is said to have been introduced by Bahamani rulers that ruled in 14 th and 15 th century in Bidar, Karnataka. Bidri work is said to be one of the finest examples of craftsmanship in India. The process of creating this unique and beautiful metal work involves creating a master pattern with wood or acrylic, which is then used for moulding or casting (Mixture of soil, Castor oil and resin is used for preparing the mould); the engraving or etching with a metal chisel; inlaying the sheet work or wire work and application of soil from the Bidar Fort mixed with ammonium chloride and boiling water to the surface turning the zinc-copper alloy black, leaving the silver unaffected. The result is always phenomenal and there is no reason why it shouldn’t be as the workers take special care at each step and lay emphasis on quality. When you gift Bidri items to the family make sure to tell them about its 500 years old origin and the amount of labour that goes into manufacturing them.