Punjab is a state in northern India. Forming part of the larger Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent, the state is bordered by the Indian union territory of Jammu and Kashmir to the north, and the Indian states of Himachal Pradesh to the east, Haryana to the south and southeast, and Rajasthan to the southwest.

Punjab has one of the oldest and the richest cultures in the world which is exhibited in every possible way. It is enveloped with bright colours and high-spirited people that can be best expressed through their traditional garbs. Different corners of Punjab are the traditional workshops where marvellous pieces of handicrafts are given life.


Phulkari – Floral Heritage of Punjab

Phulkari, which means ‘flower craft’ has been nestled in the culture of Punjab that goes back to the 15th century. Its bright colours embroidered in a manner that speaks volumes about the women and their clothing desires. The fabric on which Phulkari embroidery was done was hand spun khaddar (a handloomed plain-weave cotton fabric). It famously appeared in the tear-jerking love story of Heer-Ranjha by Waris Shah and the creative art of embroidery has not changed its technique since the introduction.  Women of all ages and classes don this cloth that reflects their life through the various colours entrenched on it. It can be woven on shawls, Kurtas, Dupattas, and Lehengas with eye-catching blends of intricate patterns and is worn on all occasions by the women of traditional Punjab.

Various types of Phulkari:

  • Thirma: Symbol of purity, worn by elder women & widows, but at times, the choice of white is made for esthetical reasons.
  • Darshan Dwar: Made for a temple as an offering to thank god after a wish has been fulfilled.
  • Bawan Bagh: Mosaic of fifty­two different patterns which decorate the piece and is the rarest of all.
  • Vari­da­Bagh: Made on an orange reddish khaddar with the main pattern being a group of three­ four small concentric lozenges (diamond) of growing size.
  • Chope: Embroidered with one color, usually on the borders.
  • Surajmukhi: Sunflower refers to the main pattern of this Phulkari.
  • Kaudi Bagh: Chains of small white squares representing stylized cowries.
  • Panchranga: Decorated with chevrons of five different colours.
  • Satranga: Decorated with chevrons of seven different colours.
  • Meenakari: Made of gold and white coloured pat, is decorated with small multicoloured lozenges referring to enamel work (meenakari)

The Khes of Punjab

For generations, women residing in the villages of Punjab, India have woven the khes as a part of the trousseau that they take to their future home. With bold, harmonic and imaginative colour patterns, it is requisite as a coverlet while sleeping.

Khes is a floor spread and bed covering that is traditionally made of cotton. The thinner ones are used as bed coverings in winter and the thicker ones are used in place of shawls during winters. It is a household craft and is mostly woven by the women folk for their daughters, as an article for dowry.

According to historians, weaving is traditionally thought to have developed from mat making which have simple geometric patterns, sometimes braided and sometimes just coiled. Impressions of evidently similar coiled mats are found on the bases of pottery vessels from the Indus sites as early as Neolithic times. These recurring designs give fresh evidence of the remarkable survival of cultural patterns in Punjab. Khes was evolved centuries ago during the Mughal period to meet the demand of a cot­ton blanket.

Before the import of machine made goods from Britain and Europe in the mid nineteenth century, small scale cotton industries in Gambat, Hala, Nasarpur, Thatta and Karachi, all in Pakistan, were known for their hand looms. Hand spinning was practiced and the thicker phulkari fabrics, khes are living examples of it. The most popular colours are deep yellow, red, black, blue and green (white being regarded as neutral).



Costumes of Punjab are indicative of the dazzling and vibrant culture and lifestyle of the people of the region. The Men costumes are an amalgamation of colours, comfort and beauty.

The Punjabi Pagg, Pagdi or Turban

Punjabi men are recognized the world over by their unique headgear called the Pug or Pagdi. The turbaned Sikh is a common sight in most parts of the world because most of them do not sacrifice their Pagdi because it is a symbol of their religion and a sign of honor or respect to their Guru. Traditional Punjabis do not cut their hair or shave as their religion does not permit them to do so. However, with changing times, the modern Punjabis have given up these customs and dress and wear their hair just like others. The turbans are worn in various colors to match their kurta or shirt.

Kurta Payjama

Kurta-Pajama, consisting of two pieces of garments, is one of the basic clothing of the Punjabi men. The first garment is a kurta that is like a loose long shirt almost reaching the knees, whereas the second one is the pajama or pyjama, which is a lightweight drawstring trouser. It is similar to a shirt but with long sleeves and no opening in the front. The kurta is worn by pulling it over the head like a banyan or top vest. The Pyjamas are loose, baggy pants which are tied at the waist. Some men also wear the Kurta with the Lungi or Tehmat, which is a kind of sarong. During winters they can be seen wearing bright colourful sweaters.

The Jama – The Flared Up Piece of Cloth

The Jama is a long piece was worn by the men in the Punjab region during the Mughal period. Tight from the torso flaring up like a skirt at the ankle or the knees, it is worn with a turban on the head reflecting royalty and the majestic nature of the kings. It was originally a dress for the men but was also worn by women with tight-fitting pyjama. Characterised by the long sleeves and tied under the armpits, it allows freedom of movement, making it another comfortable traditional attire of Punjab.


Tamba or Tehmat is a Punjabi style lungi with folds at the front. It is typically worn by men Bhangra dancers with a kurta. This is one of the dance costumes of Punjab. Just like the vibe of Punjabi people, their attire is equally colourful.


The traditional dress of Punjabi men includes the traditional shoes called the Jutti. Jutti is commonly made of leather with a lot of embroideries, in silver and gold threads. These days, you can find Jutti in rubber soles as well. It is a type of handcrafted footwear typically associated with the Punjabis. The juttis have no left-foot or right foot distinction and take the shape of the feet over a period of time. The jutti of a man differs from that worn by women in its design. The one worn by men come with an extended curve at the tip of the foot. Women’s juttis have extensive embellishments and embroidery.


Salwar Kameez

Punjab state’s women and girls too dress in salwar kameez of fresh and bright colors, accompanied by attractive and silky duppattas. Their salwar kameez has been distinguished in 2 pieces such as top piece or shirt and kameez & salwaar. The duppatta, which they wear over the salwar kameez is majorly a shining fabric which females mostly wear over their shoulders and over the head.


One of the few traditional dresses that has been modernised is the Punjabi ghagra which is a part of a four-piece outfit originated in Punjab but is now worn in Haryana and parts of Himachal Pradesh. This attire is mostly donned during ‘Giddha’ a famous folk dance of Punjab performed by women to twirl around in mesmeric colours while singing folk songs reminiscent of its culture.

Parandi – The braided accessory

Parandi or Paranda is a hair accessory which is bedecked with jewellery and colourful threads used by women of Punjab. It also symbolises love when a bride receives it from her husband as a form of affection. In ancient Punjab, women wore Paranda to enhance their traditional beauty and make their hair longer in the simplest way possible by intricately weaving threads together


Head Ornaments

  • Sarpesh – the jeweled aigrette worn in front of the turban,

  • Kutbiladar – an oval pendant worn over the forehead,

  • Kalgi – Plume in jeweled setting,

  • Mukat or Mutakh – a head dress worn by Hindus at weddings

  • Turah-I-marwarid – tassels of pearls worn on the turban


  • Sisphul, chaunk or choti phul – a round boss worn on the hair over the forehead, it is cut or indented so as to resemble a gold flower like chrysanthemum.

  • Mauli – a long chain made of rows of pearls separated by jeweled studs, about 8 inches long hanging from the head on one side.

  • Sir mang – a pendant worn on the head by Hindus.

Ornaments Worn On The Forehead

  • Damni or dauni – a fringe hanging over the forehead on either side of the face, some of these are richly jeweled. These are of various varieties like kutabi and sosani

  • Tika or kashka – small ornament on the forehead which hangs from the middle of the head on the forehead with a chain. (pendant).

  • Chand bina – a moonshaped pendant.

  • Tawit – small amulets worn on the head.

  • Jhumar – a tassel shaped ornament or pendant.

  • Guchhi marwarid – a cluster of pearls.

  • Bindi – small tinsel forehead ornament.

  • Barwata – tinsel stars worn over the eyebrows, not to be confounded with
  • Bhawata, an armlet.

Ear Ornaments


  • Bala – very large ring worn by Khatris, Sikhs and Dogras, they have a pearl strung on the gold wire of which they are made.

  • Murki – smaller earrings of the same shape.

  • Dur – a small earring with three studs.

  • Birbali – a broad earring with three studs.

  • Durichah – an ear-ring with pendant tassel


  • Bali or Goshwara – a set of rings worn on the edge of the ear.

  • Bali Bahaduri – it has a large pointed stud in the center.

  • Karnphul, Dhedu and Jhumka – all forms of tassel like ornaments, made with silver chains and little balls.

  • Pipal-watta, or Pipal Pata – like a murki, but has a drop or pendant to it ending in a fringe of little gold pipal leaves.

  • Kantala – A similar ornament like pipal-watta but this has a stud besides the pendant.

  • Bala Khungri – a heavy fringed earring.

  • Bala Katoriwalla – an earring with a bowl-like pendant.

  • Khalli – small earring;

  • Jalil – A small earring with a small jeweled central stud.

  • Phumni – silk and tinsel tassels.

  • Machh Machlian – a small gold figure of a fish worn as an earring.

  • Tid-patang – a crescent shaped jeweled pendant. Along the lower edge of the crescent hangs a row of gold pipal leaves.

  • Tandaura, Dedi – a huge star-shaped jeweled stud.

  • Mor Phunwar – pendant of jewels being an imitation of the figure of a peacock.

Nose Ornaments


  • Nath – a large nose ring, one side of ring being ornamented with a belt of

jewels or a few pearls hung on to it.

  • Bulak – a small pendant either worn hung to the cartilage of the nose, or else strung to a nath.

  • Latkan – a sort of ornament of pendants put on to the thin gold ring called a nath, and hanging from it.

  • Morni – a small pendant for the above, shaped like the spread out tail of a peacock.

  • Laung – a small stud let into the flesh of the nostril on one side, generally of gold, with a pearl or turquoise on it.

  • Phuli – a small ring with a single emerald, or other stone of an oval shape, as a pendant.

  • Bohr – a dangling pendant of gold pipal-leaves.

Necklaces And Neck Ornaments

  • Mala – a necklace of large beads handing down long and loose.

  • Kanth-kanthi – this fits rather close to the neck, the pendant may be omitted. This is also worn by women.

  • Nam – an amulet, round or star shaped, suspender from a twist of colored silk thread fastened round the neck by tying at the back, nearly like jugni.

  • Tawiz – a square amulet, jeweled or otherwise.

  • Takhti – a flat square plate engraved with figures etc.

  • Zanjiri – a set of chains.

  • Chandarmah – a large gold flat medal suspended by a single ring on a silk chair or cord.


  • Chandanhar – a collar or necklace of a great number of chains.

  • Mala – a plain necklace of pearls or gold bead, hanging down long.

  • Champakali – a necklace like a collar with pendants, the pendants or rays are either of plain metal or set with stones.

  • Jugni – a single jeweled pendant, hanging from a necklace of silk and elongated in shape.

  • Mohran – a gold mohur or coin hung by a silk necklace.

  • Haul Dil – a sort of amulet of jade cut in curves round the edge.

  • Hassi or Hass – like a torque, a ring or collar of silver, thick in the middle and thin at either end.

  • Guluband – a jeweled collar.

  • Mohnmala – a long necklace made of large gold beads, with an interval of gold twisted thread between each bead.

  • Atradan – a square jeweled or plain gold pendant attached to a silk chain.

  • Kandi – a chain of silk carrying amulet cases.

  • Silwatta – an amulet case, shaped like a small gold pillow or bolster, with two rings suspended from it.

Arm Ornaments

  • Bazuband – a broad belt-like ornament generally mounted on silk and tied on the upper arm.

  • Nauratan – almost like bazuband, the ornament consisting of a band of nine gems set side by side and tied by silk ties.

  • Taviz – an amulet worn on the upper arm.

  • Anant – meaning endless, a large thin but solid ring of gold or silver, used chiefly by Hindus.

  • Bhawatta – a square gold ornament, worn on the upper arm.


  • Ponchi – a series of strings of shells or small gold elongated beads worn on the wrist.

  • Kangan or Kara or Gokru – a bracelet of stiff metal, when the edges are serrated, it is called gokru.


  • Ponchian – worn on the wrist, which are a several categories called kutbi, chuhadandi (the beads like a rat’s teeth), iliachdana (like cardamom grains) etc.
  • Choora- A choora is a set of bangles traditionally worn by a bride on her wedding day and for a period after

  • Kangan – worn on the wrist are generally of gold.

  • Banka – thick gold bracelets, mostly used by Hindus.

  • Gajra – a flexible bracelet made of square gold studs mounted on a silk band.

  • Churi – of several varieties generally made of a flat ribbon of gold or silver, bent round.

  • Bain – long silver sleeve or tube worn on both arms, like a lot of churis fastened together.

  • Band – an armlet, broad and heavy.

  • Jhankangan – small hollow karas with grains introduced into the hollow to rattle.

Finger Rings

  • Anguthi – a ring set with stones also called mundri.

  • Challa – a plain hoop or whole hoop ring, with or without stones, being of gold or silver, but the same all round, challas are worn on the toe also.

  • Angutha – a big ring with a broad face worn on the toe.

  • Khari Panjangla – a set of finger rings of ordinary shape.

  • Shahelmi or Khari – a ring of long oval shape.

  • Birhamgand – a broad ring.



  • Pahzeb – various ankle ornaments made with chains and pendants of silver, which clink together when the weaver walks.

  • Chanjar – a large hollow ring which rattles when the wearer walks.

  • Kharian-apir or khalkhal – like karas worn on the ankles.

  • Khungru – a ring or ankle of long ornamental beads of silver worn on the feet.

  • Zanjiri – a set of chains with broad clasp, also known as tora.

Punjab Arts & Crafts is highly acclaimed the world over. Punjab is a culturally rich north western state of India. The Arts and Crafts of Punjab include the variety of handiworks. The artisans of Punjab are skilled and dexterous. The women of the villages are mainly involved in carrying out the Punjab Arts & Crafts.

Mud Work

The Mud Works is an ancient practice in Punjab. It is a skill of the artisans of Punjab to transfer dull objects into magnificent work of art. Generally it isa trend in Punjab to plaster the walls of the house with mud and then create different motifs and designs on them. These kind of works are generally performed by the rural women of Punjab. Earlier the Mud Works were done due to certain superstitions to keep away the evil spirits from the households. This art of painting mud walls is known as Chowk-Poorana in Punjab. Mainly the Mud Works were done during the festivals in the village, like the Navaratra poorna, Karva-Chauth, Hoi or Ahoi, and Diwali.

Wood Works

Among the Art and Craft of Punjab the Woods Works are very famous. It has been a long tradition of the carpenters of Punjab to make different objects out of wood. The wooden works made in Punjab are highly appreciated the world over. The tourists visiting Punjab collect a memento of the handiworks of Punjab.

The carpenters of Punjab are renowned for their skills in Wood Works. They have been traditionally popular through the ages. It is also a much practiced occupation among the villagers of Punjab. The carpenters generally make the comfortable beds with back rests that are fitted with mirrors. The carved legs of these beds were known as the Pawas. The carpenters of Punjab are also apt in making the comfortable low seats called Peeras and Peerians. This piece of furniture are made in almost every village of Punjab.


Punjab Art and Craft includes the fascinating and indigenous work of Basketry. Mainly the women folk of the villages of Punjab are engaged in the work of Basketry. Some of the Basketry works of Punjab is known world over. The weaving of baskets and similar objects have been a traditional practice among the Punjabis.

The Basketry were made by the village people mainly for household usage. But in the recent days, it has become a trend to identify these handicraft articles as show pieces or for decorative purposes in the urban homes.

The Basketry works are done by shaving the thin straws of grass. These straws are used to weave mats, rugs, carpets, curtains and hand fans. These hand fans are known as Peshawari Pakkhe. The fans comparatively of smaller size is known as Kundaldar Pakkhi. These fans are small and delicate and have beautiful curl ends. The fans made by weaving are object of fascination to the tourists in Punjab.

Folk Toys

The conventional handicraft industry of Punjab produces beautiful “Folk Toys” that reflect the rich cultural tradition of one of the most vibrant and dynamic state of Punjab. The folk toys of Punjab represent the artistic skills and imaginative creations of the people of Punjab. The “Folk Toy” industry is an important handicraft industry of Punjab that strengthens the financial condition of the state.

Since the inception of the industry, it has produced many exemplary products that captivates the spectators with its attractive and colorful appearance. The toy industry flourished during the days of the Indus Valley Civilization when the craftsmen manufactured many beautiful toys and artifacts for the children.

The tradition of making toys was carried down the ages and the villagers of Punjab produced a wide variety of toys to satisfy their artistic zeal. The toy industry of the by gone days received a further boasts after the Independence of our country when the Government of the state proposed and implemented several policies to promote growth of the handicraft industry.


Keeping in trend with the lively and colorful traditional culture of the state, the craftsmen of Punjab are apt in producing attractive and beautiful “Dolls”. The handicraft industry of Punjab is one of the most flourishing and lucrative industry of the state. The beautifully decorated and adorned Dolls of the handicraft industry of Punjab represent the dynamic and vibrant culture of the state.

One of the most fascinating industry of the state, the “Dolls” portray the artistic caliber of the people of Punjab. The craftsmen make dolls of various sizes and kinds. The Dolls have a great demand within and outside India. Almost all the districts of Punjab have flourished in the art of Doll Making. However, the city of Chandigarh has become one of the important centers of “Doll” making. The Dolls of Punjab have an internationally acclaimed status that are purchased by the tourist for their near and dear ones as a token of love and appreciation.


Comfortable, attractive and the eloquently decorated “Pidhis” of Punjab are some of the splendid products of the handicraft industry of Punjab. During the olden days when there was hardly any concept of “Modular Kitchen”, the Punjabi women preferred to sit in the four legged small stool that were very comfortable and usable as well. However the “Pidhis” or the short stools are still in vogue, not only in Punjab but in the other states as well.
The “Pidhis” or the small stools are made up of woods. To add to the beauty of the stools, the craftsmen design the stools with colorful threads to give it a majestic look. The splendid small and short stools are very attractive that display the artistic skills and the creative imagination of the people of the state. To give a traditional and a royal touch to the splendid houses the owners use the beautifully adorned stools . This marvelous creation of the traditional handicraft industry of the state has a wide market within and outside India.








Article Writtten By-
Ms. Sidrah Mubin Patel. B.Sc. in Textiles and Apparel Designing, Sir Vithaldas Thackersey College of Home Science.
Textile Value Chain Intern. Email: tvcmedia.digital@gmail.com