Himachal Handicrafts

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Himachal's diverse cultural and historical influences have produced a variety of handicrafts and arts. Some were created for household use – and then there were a few court crafts, like the fine miniature paintings and the Chamba rumal, the handkerchief.

There are fine skills in the spinning and weaving of wool — the delicacy of the pashmina shawl and the thicker, more functional, brightly patterned woollen shawls. The vivid shawls of Kangra, Kullu and Kinnaur are famed worId over. The local tweeds, pattu are rough, rustic and unbelievable warm. The need to keep the chill at bay has given rise to warm and wonderfully embroidered footwear and the distinctive caps of Himachal. The paiche of Kinnaur and the kapul of Lahaul and Spiti keep feet as warm as the proverbial toast. The pullas of the Kullu are perfect carpet slippers. The range of carpets has gained richly from the ties with Tibet. There is a boldness of design and their use was once as varied as saddle drapes curtains, bed-spreads and wall coverings. The jewellery is ornate to say the least. The women of Himachal are often adorned by such a mass of exquisitely worked silver that their faces are barely visible. An unusual item of Himachal's metal ware lies in the moharas or busts of deities and village or household gods. Then there is a range of statuettes, vessels, bells in brass or copper - and occasionally, silver.

Wood makes its presence felt in carvings, walking sticks, furniture and bowls. Bamboo and grass mats, leather products and the little dolls of Himachal are both souvenirs and utility items.