India is a land with diverse traditional craft forms in every region. The crafts of India are diverse, rich in history, culture, the identity of a place, community, etc. Every zone in our country is known for its traditional form of art and craft practices, including drawings, paintings, pottery, stone sculpting, carvings, metal works, embroideries, saris, etc. Art and Handicrafts are known to be the backbone of a country’s history and rural economy. Due to increased modernization, some of these art and craft forms are on the verge of extinction. 

Dying art and craft practices leading to a country's cultural loss - Sheet1
India’s diverse culture and heritage expressed through the traditional art and craft practices around the country_ ©

Nowadays, different professionals like architects and some organizations are attempting to save these dying art and craft practices through their profession. Here are examples of some of the unique art and craft practices in India that need to be save

1. Rogan Painting, Kutch

Dying art and craft practices leading to a country's cultural loss - Sheet2
Colorful dye painting – Rogan painting of Kutch in Gujarat_ ©

Rogan painting of Kutch in Gujarat is one of the most exquisite types of painting, in which fabrics with colorful dyes using boiled vegetables. The Rogan painting is an art form practiced for over 300 years. It is a painting form made using castor oil, dyes (using vegetables), metal rods. The colorful vegetable dyes are applied on fabric using a stylus or using metal blocks. Once practiced by many families in Kutch decreased dramatically to few families nowadays. They’re now at present it is practiced by six surviving families. 

2. Traditional puppetry art

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Traditional art of puppetry practiced from many generations by many communities_ ©

The traditional art of puppetry has known to have existed in India for over 3000 years. There exist diverse types and forms of puppetry all around India. There are some organizations and NGOs that have tried to revive these puppetry arts. Some examples of puppetry art are shadow puppetry(Kerala and Karnataka), rod puppetry (Eastern Indian regions), Kathaputli( Rajasthan), and Kundhei (Orissa). Most of these puppetry arts will not exist a few years from now. There now are few families that are left practicing these art forms.

3. Toda embroidery, Tamil Nadu

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The unique embroidery craft form of the Toda tribe in the Nilgiri region _ ©

Toda embroidery is a unique type of embroidery practiced by the Toda tribe of the Nilgiri Hills, Tamil Nadu. The population of the tribe is about 2000 people. The families of the tribe practicing this craft form are struggling to protect their culture and craft. It is used on fabrics with unique square-shaped deceptions, wallets, pouches, bedsheets, stoles, etc.

4. Kasuti, Northern Karnataka

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Intricate handmade embroidery with counting the thread work done _ ©

It is a traditional form of embroidery in the state of Karnataka. Kasuti is an intricate process that involves stitching by hand using various threads. The art form is used for clothes (sarees, Kurtis, etc.) and on products such as bags, wallets, etc. “Kasuti ” is derived from Kai – hand, and suti – cotton (Cotton thread handwork). The materials used are locally available. The intricate method involves the patterns marked with charcoal or pencil, then needles and thread are selected. Efforts have been by the welfare department and government, but also this art form is dying.

5. Dhokra handicraft, Chhattisgarh

Unique brass work using wax casting technique originated in West Bengal _ ©

Dhokra arts are metal figurines made from bronze and copper-based alloys using the process of lost wax casting. This handicraft was practiced by the tribe of the Bastar region district in Chhattisgarh for more than 4,000 years. The early example of this craftwork is the dancing girl of Mohenjo-Daro. These products are in great demand in domestic and foreign markets, yet eventually are dying. 

These are some among many of the dying art and craft practices that should be saved. Some of the other dying practises are; Patola sarees, Naga handicraft, Parsi embroidery, Manjusha paintings, Mithila paintings, Warli paintings, Kalamkari, Bamboo art (Assam), Paitkar Painting, Jharkhand, Thanjavur Painting (Tamil Nadu), Wildlife Painting (Ranthambhore), etc.


Architects’ role in helping preserve a countries culture and heritage

Architects have the power to help preserve the culture and identity of any place through architecture and the built environment. Architecture is a platform through which we can represent and express the context, culture, heritage. Architectural connection is through the cultural and social connection to the place. Culture and traditions are a binding connection to a community’s existence. Saving the dying Art and craft practices can be a method to preserve a country’s culture /heritage. Architecture is a platform through which we can showcase, express the culture and skills of the craftsmen. In the future efforts will be made by the government, organizations, professionals such as architects to save the countries heritage and culture.


Arpitha is pursuing her bachelor's degree.She has passion for writing and design.She interests herself in designing and writing about architecture. She believes architecture has a prominent impact in any person's life and we architects have the ability to create change. She loves exploring new ideas, concepts, thoughts and believes there is no end to learning!!!

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