In the state of Karnataka, the craftsmen use their deft
fingers and skilled hands to make a variety of fascinating
creations. One can find the handicrafts of Karnataka
adorning the homes of the ordinary people, elite sections,
and even the royal homes of yesteryears.
Many of Karnataka's arts and crafts have found their way to
the western world too. This only bears testimony to the fact
that the Karnataka craftsmen have skill, aesthetic sense and
dexterity; which have not only been handed down over a
number of generations, but also perfected through ages.
The royal kings at one time used to patronize these crafts
and presently the government has made it its policy to
encourage these skilled craftsmen by setting up centers and
marketing their wares to the tourists who visit the state.
This proactive move has given a necessary impetus to the
Karnataka handicrafts. Some of the famous and popular crafts
of Karnataka include wood carving, ivory carving, doll
making, sandal wood carving, etc. The rich forests present
in Karnataka have provided an opportunity to the people to
develop their skills in wood carving, as they can get plenty
of raw materials from the forests.
The artisans use age-old techniques to carve, inlay design,
veneer, paint and lacquer the wooden articles. The skill of
these artisans can be seen from the work they have done in
the ancient temples. Some of the old homes, temple cars, and
doorways have intricately carved designs of gods and
goddesses. Most tourists to Karnataka love to buy crafts
made from rosewood, especially that of a rosewood elephant,
which can be quite expensive.
Another popular craft is the ivory carving which is derived
from the tusks of the many elephants, which abounded in the
forest regions of Karnataka. But in the recent times, with
the banning of ivory trade, this craft has had a natural
Brocade weaving is another exquisite handicraft which has
gained in popularity in the state. Artisans of this genre
are found in areas around Bangalore, Hubli, etc. while the
wood inlay work is practiced in the Mysore region, and is
unique to this place.
Sandal wood carving is another important handicraft of
Karnataka. Sandal wood is found in abundant quantity in
Karnataka and craftsmen carve delicate articles, both big
and small, from the sandal wood. You can find mostly
handicrafts of elephants, gods and goddesses, etc. made from
sandalwood, and these articles are a great favourite among
the tourists. You can also find stone carvings of various
gods and goddesses in all shapes and sizes, while on your
tour of Karnataka.
In Bidar, they have a special craft called Bidariware. In
this handicraft, fine silvery or gold designs are embossed
on a black metal surface. The Lambhanis, who are the tribal
people of Karnataka, are well known for their embroidery
works which comes in colourful designs.