Sunday, February 16, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P A T I A L A     H E R I T A G E     W E E K

Dying art forms liven up fest
Gurvinder Kaur

Patiala, February 15
From works of art in “parewa” stone, images made of iron in the “karigeer” technique, etchings on palm leaves in “taal patra khodoye” style, statues in “dhokra” technique, paintings in “tasser” and “tanjore” styles to the “desi phulkari”, the craft mela, which opened here under the Patiala Heritage Festival, has it all.

The Sheesh Mahal at night.
The Sheesh Mahal at night.

A cultural programme featuring folk performances from Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan marked the formal inauguration of the craft mela by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, amongst a host of dignitaries.

INTACH, a national-level organisation for preservation of heritage, has opened up a souvenir shop right in the middle of the venue and is selling heritage T-shirts, bags, caps, coasters, pens, bags and “phulkari” motifs.

Apart from a traditional stall selling various items of “phulkari” and another showcasing traditional Punjabi furniture, there is a variety of craft belonging to various regions all over the country on display here.

The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, releases a souvenir of the Patiala Heritage Festival
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, releases a souvenir of the Patiala Heritage
Festival on Saturday.

Shawls and “namdas” from Kashmir, juttis and suits from Rajasthan, dupattas and saris bearing “Kantha” embroidery from Bengal, brass ware from Uttar Pradesh, traditional jute rugs, miniature Mughal paintings and leather lamp shades embossed in traditional colours have started pulling crowds right from the start.

Notable among the “dying” art forms featured here is a folk craft belonging to Dungarpur area of Mewar using the “parewa” stone along with black stone. Kalu Mogia, a craftsman from Rajasthan, said the hereditary tradition was passed down to him and figures of men, birds and animals chiefly feature in it.


Images of rural men and women engaged in traditional jobs form the mainstay of “karigeer” art form from Bastar, Madhya Pradesh. Craftsman Pitam Vishwakarma said only black colour was used in the craft, which deals only in iron and its speciality included that the sculptures had no joints.

Musicians perform in an enclosure of the Quila Mubarak
Musicians perform in an enclosure of the Quila Mubarak.
— Photos Subhash Patialavi

Another “languishing” art form from Bengal is the “Taal Patra Khodoye” or the “Patta Chitra” craft, which involves exquisite engraving and etching on palm leaves. This art mainly deals with figures of God and scenes from mythology. A mixture of black soot from “diyas” and gum is used for colouring the etched parts.

In the “dhokra” craft from Orissa, the craftsmen use a mix of clay, beewax and brass to fill stencils and later forge it with the help of fire. Beautiful coin boxes, paperweights, candle stands, animal and human figures are the hallmark of this craft.

Artist Shankaran from Chennai is selling “Tanjore” paintings. This art form from the South involves the use of real gold foil and Jaipur’s precious stones besides natural vegetable colours and largely deals with paintings of Gods.

Besides stalls selling stoneware, brassware and candles, there are a number of food stalls situated at the end of the arena featuring Rajasthani and other cuisines besides Punjabi. 

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