India is a land of plenty. Our diverse cultural topography has made us one of the best travel destinations in the world. From the east to west, and north to south, a traveler will find a plethora of distinct, intricate and authentic forms of art in the form of embroideries, sculptures, handicrafts, you name it!
So, if you are a globetrotter, setting off on a new journey to collect some lovely memories, don’t forget to explore into the handicrafts of any state you travel to, as each will have something new to offer. But before that, ensure that you set off on this journey responsibly. The best way to do that is through travel insurance which safeguards you during unforeseen circumstances. For instance, Bajaj Allianz Travel Insurance protects you against loss of baggage, provides medical cover and reimburses trip cancellations.
And after you are set off for the destination and are collecting souvenirs from different parts of the country, we present to you a carefully curated list of handicraft items from different states and regions of the country. Handicrafts from across India truly represent the country’s soul. Handmade with fine craftsmanship, each of these gift items for your loved one represents a slice of India that you bring to them.
This incredibly beautiful pattern of art comes from the state of Bihar and in recent years has gained fame even internationally. Originated in the villages of Madhubani, a district in the state, these paintings were primarily made by women on the walls of their mudhouses. Today, you can find them on a variety of items like sarees, salwar kameez, bedsheets, framed paintings, and even diaries. Usually depicting Hindu deities like Ram, Sita, Lakshmi, these paintings are extremely intricate and colorful.
If your travel destination is Himachal Pradesh, which is, in fact, a tourist hotspot in the country, don’t forget to pick up a Himachali cap. You would see local men wearing this cap across the year as it is never too hot to wear the cap in that climate. The cap comes in a solid color with a colorful band with stripes. This vibrant, handwoven band is the signature mark of a typical Himachali cap and truly reflects a beautiful part of Indian culture.
When in Punjab, you know you are in for a gastronomic treat. Not just that, the state also has to offer one of the most popular forms of embroidery ‘phulkari’ which literally means flower work. A great travel gift from Punjab would be a dress material with phulkari work. But you can also get phulkari work on bedsheets, cushion covers, dupattas, etc. This form of embroidery dates back to pre-partition and therefore is also popular in Pakistan, a beautiful reminiscent of our united past.
A trademark of Uttar Pradesh’s Lucknow, this form of embroidery is done using a white thread. Pioneered by the Mughals, especially by Jahangir for his wife Noor Jahan, this embroidery has gained an evergreen status among travel gifts for your loved ones. Again, you can find chikankari embroidery on a range of handcrafted items like cushion covers, table cloths, sofa sets, sarees, salwar kameez, etc.
Jammu and Kashmir is one of the most beautiful travel destinations in the country. Enveloped by the great Himalayas, Jammu, and Kashmir experience long, harsh winters and therefore, it rightfully boasts of the best shawls you can find in the country. Pashmina (also known as cashmere) shawls are made from wool obtained from three kinds of pashmina goats and are believed to get softer with age. They are extremely soft to touch, light but surprisingly warm. It is indeed one of the best travel gifts for your loved ones that would always remind them of you and of this beautiful part of India.
Rajasthan is famous worldwide for its royal glory and puppet dances. So, if your travel destination happens to be Rajasthan, don’t forget to buy these puppets that you would easily find across the state. These are made out of softwood and are clothed in colorful attire with unique Rajasthani work. These dolls look beautiful and represent an ancient art form of India, dating back to, perhaps, the first century. If you choose this as a travel gift for your loved one, you would also be supporting a dying tradition of puppeteering.
Another travel gift to look out for in Rajasthan is blue pottery. This pottery is done in a special way with three main ingredients: quartz stone powder, fuller’s earth, and powdered glass. It’s a beautiful addition to any household and you can buy this in various forms like flower pots, decorative pieces, jars, kitchenware, etc.
Kerala, God’s own country, is also home to one of the most beautiful and ancient dance forms from India, kathakali. This dance form is well known for its elaborate costume and headgear called kiritam. Made of cane, the headgear is heavily embellished with glasses, beads, pearls, and bold colors. This can be a great travel gift idea for someone who is creatively inclined.
Another gem from Kerala, sandalwood is a true gift to mankind. Kerala is famous for its sandalwood and here you can find a range of gift objects made out of sandalwood with intricate carvings. From candle holders to kitchenware, these carvings come in all shapes and forms and make an excellent choice for a gift to a loved one.
A trip to Assam is incomplete without buying mekhla chadar and gamucha for yourself or a loved one back home. Traditionally, mekhla chadar, a woman’s attire comes in white color with red and/or golden border. The prints are naturalistic and it typically comes in silk fabric though you might find other synthetic variants as well. Gamucha, on the other hand, is a man’s attire but is generally considered to be a gesture to welcome and greet someone.
Traveling is perhaps the only way one can learn to truly appreciate our differences and value our diversity. However, sometimes our travel stories can take an undesirable turn if we don’t act as responsible travelers. So, to travel carefree, it is pertinent to sign up for travel insurance plans that offer protection against a range of untoward situations. Bajaj Allianz Travel Insurance, available on Finserv MARKETS, comes as a holistic travel insurance destination offering family, individual, as well as student-centric plans.
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