Telangana is situated on the Deccan Plateau, in the central stretch of the eastern seaboard of the Indian Peninsula. Telangana is a semi-arid area and has a predominantly hot and dry climate. Telangana culture combines cultural customs from Persian traditions, embedded during the rule of the region by the Mughals, Qutub Shahis and Nizams, with prominent and predominantly south Indian traditions and customs. The State has a rich tradition in classical music, painting and folk arts such as Burra Katha, shadow puppet show, and Perini Shivatandavam, Gusadi Dance, Kolatam.
Telangana have huge potential in handlooms & textiles like Pochampally, Ikkat Handloom products, Siddipet Handlooms, Nayaranpet Handlooms, Gadwal Handlooms, Banjara Embroidery and Cotton Durries. Handloom industry occupies a unique place in the country for its exclusive arts and artefacts of handloom weavers. Ethnic handloom design of Telangana state has been promoting the cultural glory of the State over the years. A significant portion of State workforce is dependent on handloom industry for employment. Telangana also has huge potential in traditional arts and crafts like Cheriyal Paintings, Nirmal Paintings, Batik Paintings, Bidiri Crafts, Pemberti Brassware, Dokra Castings, Black metal ware, Wooden carvings of Nizamabad Panels, Nirmal printed furniture, Red Sanders and also Nirmal Toys amongst others.
Costume of Telangana
Men in Telangana commonly like to wear Dhoti and Kurta, whereas women prefer saree.
Hindu and Christian men can be seen in Dhoti and Kurta. Men in Muslim community wear pajamas instead of dhoti with a small fez cap over their head. The Hyderabadi Sherwani used to be the dress of choice of the Nizam of Hyderabad and Hyderabadi nobles. Sherwani is usually worn by the groom during the wedding ceremonies.
The most common apparel worn by women is saree along with langa voni, salwar kameez and churidar. Women from all communities can be seen wearing different patterns of sarees. Even Muslim and Christian women wear saris. Although the traditional outfit of Muslim women in Telangana is salwar kameez, they give a try to other dresses too. Be it villages or cities, many women can be found wearing sarees. However, due to westernization young girls like to wear modern dresses like skirts, jeans, tops, leggings, etc. Telangana holds its tradition simultaneously advancing and adopting the current fashion trend.
Ravika is a choli with a knot in the front of 2 flaps. Langa Voni is a two-piece or a half sari worn by girls or young women in south India. It consists of a skirt, blouse and a dupatta. Girls wear Langa Voni before they get married or before they hit puberty. They may also wear it without a dupatta.
jewellery of Telangana
- Head & ear-
Papidi billi: Chain with pendant on head partition
Netthi chutti: Lateral chain on forehead edge
Bhuria: nose ring
Phuli: nose pin
Mangalyam/ thali botu: Symbol of married women, two round pendants with black beads
Kasu mala: coin necklace
Mansli: a chain of brass worn by married women
Vanki: an armlet
Champankali: venti ring with coin fixed on it, worn on any finger
Wankdi: brass anklet worn by married women
Sedsenla: Silver anklet with bells
Textiles of Telangana
Telangana is well known for the production of silk sarees. Beautifully designed handloom made sarees have rich ethnicity and texture. Adorned with ornate for weddings, parties and festivals, silk sarees are really very attractive. Decorated and brocaded with beautiful gold plating. It’s also rich in cotton production and its famous innovative plant dye extraction.
The Pochampally sari originates in the Nalgonda District of Telangana. This sari derives its name from Bhoodan Pochampally. The uniqueness of the Pochampally sari lies in its weaving. The single Ikkat technique, mostly warp tie-n-dyed & sometimes weft. They also very rarely use Patola designs with both warp and weft ikkat. Motifs used are intricate geometric patterns or square grids, diamond, floral, peacock and parrot woven to weft and warp threads, which are then woven together. Striped or Chevron forms are also used as patterns. Zari borders are usually with diamond design The fabrics used are silk and cotton as well as a blend of silk and cotton known as sico with zari. Natural dyes are being used on these saris. All bright colours on silk but in cotton, white is prominent with contrast border. It is interesting to note that Air India air hostesses wear silk Pochampally saris that were especially designed as their uniform. Since Ikkat weaving is a heritage craft, it has been given Geographical Indication status in 2005.
Sari originates in the Dharmavaram, a centuries old town boasts of 1500 silk houses and about 1,00,000 looms. The city is known for its handloom silk sarees and called as Silk city. Sari is heavy in weight because fiber used is pure silk and costs INR 2000 to 1,00,000. Commonly used motifs are floral and peacock. The weaving technique is same as Kanchipuram. The more intricate the design, the higher the cost of the sarees. All bright colours are used with contrast pallu & border. Turquoise with pink, yellow with red, green with brown, etc. Style of the saree is border 2” to 10” and pallu 10” to 20”. The sari have broad borders and brocaded gold patterns.
Gadwal is a small town situated at distance of 150 kms from Hyderabad. Fibers used in body is of fine cotton, while border & pallu is of tussar and mulberry silk. Also called as “sico sari”. Pure silk sarees are also made but not popular. Gadwal sarees were used in the interlock weft technique known as Kupadam hence Gadwal’s local name is Kupadam sarees. Kuttu is the art of joining in the border and the pallu of the saree after it has been woven. Very light weight can be folded into the size of a material. Amazingly enough a few types of refined Gadwal saris can be folded down to the size of a matchbox. Style of the saree is- The body of the sari is usually cotton with the border and pallu being silk. Motifs used are religious symbols such as marriage, rudraksh or peacock. Popular motifs include the double headed eagle and Youli, the lion.
Siddipet weave is popularly called the tie and dye weaves. The uniqueness of these weaves lies in the transfer of the unique design and colour onto warp and weft threads. These are then weaved together. In the handlooms of Siddipet, the process of dyeing is tie and dye technique where the warp and weft are tie-dyed before these are weaved for creating unique designs on finished fabric. The fabric used for weaving purpose in Siddipet is pure cotton. The colours derived from natural sources and related blends are used in this weaving. The major handloom variety of Siddipet was Gollabama Saree with exclusive Butta designs earlier but now the trend has been changing after adopting the Pochampally variety.
It is always used to cover the head, Made of 2*2 ft. it is called as Telia Rumal as oil was used to fix the natural dyes on the yarns. The cotton fiber is used with double ikkat technique. Motifs used are geometrical, floral, and animal in ogee layout. Colours used are maroon & black, sometimes yellow. Nowadays it is modifies into saris.
Durries and Carpets
Warangal District is home to hundreds of artisans who are involved in the durrie (rug) or carpet-making industry. Initially the durrie was lacking the vibrancy and appeal of the latter. But in recent years durrie weavers have begun to understand the importance of changing their designs and colours in order to adapt their products to suit modern aesthetics. Decorative durries with tie and dye, and floral designs are usually in demand. However, plain durries with Kalamkari block prints are also gaining popularity.
Tribes of Telangana
The Lambadas are the major dominant tribal group inhabiting through the Telangana State. They are also known as Banjara.
The Koyas are mainly inhabiting the hilly areas of Khammam and Warangal districts and are sparsely found in Adilabad and Karimnagar districts.
Gonds are one of the dominant tribal groups found in Adilabad District. The Naikpod is mentioned along with Raj Gonds in the approved list of STs. But in tribal areas of Adilabad District, Naikpod is a separate tribe.
Yerukala tribe is also found throughout Telangana State. They call themselves ‘Kurru’. They are called ‘Yerukula’ after their women’s traditional profession of fortune telling ((Eruka chepputa.
Pardhans are inhabiting the tribal areas of Adilabad district. They are traditional bards to Gonds and recite mythologies, folk tales and songs of their gods and goddesses at various festivals, ceremonies and fairs for which service they are paid in cash or kind.
Banjara Embroidery and Needle works
Banjara Embroidery and Needle works are made extensively by the nomads of Telangana. The colourful and rural lifestyle of Banjaras is displayed in the form of high-spirited clothes. When compared to the Banjaras of Telangana, the embroidery done by the Kutch Banjaras and Gujarat Banjaras is different.
The embroidery is truly unique in its style and the matchless quality is achieved with a combination of brightness and originality. The intricate embroidery done through this art form is marked by many geometrical combinations like diamonds, squares, and triangles. The colorful threads used in the embroidery are largely symbolic of the vibrant life style of Banjaras. For embellishing an article, they also employ beads, shells, and mirrors. The sunlight which is reflected through the colourful mirror accentuates the splendid beauty of this work. Mirrors are used widely in Banjara Embroidery marking a distinctive feature. Cornucopias of designs as well as figures are created with the help of simple stitches such as herringbone, chain stitch, as well as short and long stitch. Some of the quilting stitches are used for the purpose of patterning wherein the cotton threads are used for creating many unusual geometric patterns.
The embroidery is done mostly on blue or a brown colored cloth which are quilted. The cotton or woolen thread is used for creating intricate embroidery. This ensures that the color contrast looks prominent. The different set of products made through Banjara embroidery includes bags, purses, belts, cushion and pillow covers, quilts and bed spread, apart from skirts, salwar suits, blouses etc for women. The embroidery also makes use of silver, cowries, brass, animal bones and gold. The products are popular and admired by customers all over the world for its rural charm and aesthetics.
Arts and crafts of Telangana
Arts and crafts of Telangana have always been prominent in the country with the efforts of the skilled artisans who shape up diverse artefacts with their dexterity and aesthetic sense. The intricate carvings and beautiful adornments of these handicrafts make them immensely fascinating. The traditional ways applied to these crafts render them a distinct charm and they exhibit a great variety.
Cheriyal Scroll Paintings
Originated in the village of Cheriyal in Warangal District. Cheriyal Scroll Paintings were given Geographical Indication (GI) status in 2007. These vivid paintings, executed on canvas made from Khadi, depict themes and stories from ancient Indian literature and mythology as well as folk traditions. Artists paint directly onto the prepared canvas, which is an indication of their experience and quality of work. The colours they use are obtained from natural sources. Red is usually the dominant background colour and the narrative is brought to life using scenes from every day rural life in the state. The traditional scrolls are mostly of vertical format and illustrate the stories through a series of horizontal panels. Here, there is a floral border in the middle separating the two panels, and the linear narrative is shown, being held with both hands or suspended from a tree. It is further rolled continually. Compared to the long scrolls in the past, now artists have adapted to paint smaller versions of these scrolls that only depict any single episode or few characters from the traditional stories. These can be framed easily and hung on walls of modern homes.
Nirmal Paintings get their name from Nirmal town in Adilabad District. The artists who practice this art are called Naqash. From the rustic ethos to the royal environment, from flora to fauna, an explicit array of expressions is portrayed in myriad colours and forms on Nirmal products. The colours used in these paintings are obtained from minerals, gum and herbs. The familiar golden hue in Nirmal art is a result of a herbal extract, which imparts a golden sheen. Besides paintings, Nirmal artists also create bowls, boxes, lacquered furniture and trays. First the wood is cut into required size and a rectangular frame is made. The frame is smoothened using sand paper. The frame is also coated with several coats of luppam paint. This paint absorbs the moisture from the wood and helps the wood to last for many years. After applying luppam paint, various colors are used for painting the background. Finally, the prepared wooden plank is joined to the frame. Usually, the board sizes are of 8/11, 17/11 and 24/16 dimensions.
Batik represents the wax-resist dye technique, used in textiles. Batik artists make use of dyes as color. A batik artist has a good sense of the colors and patterns. For creating an attractive piece of Batik painting, the batik artist works with more emphasis on color, wherein multiple layers of wax and dye is applied to the fabric. The process of using wax to create intricate designs on cloth is quite demanding. This is followed by a pattern being drawn on it with pencil and then being redrawn using hot wax, which forms the dye-resist area. Once the cloth dries, the wax is removed by scraping it off. The process is repeated several times to get the desired number of colours. The finished product is only as good as the quality of waxes used in the creation process.
The term ‘Bidriware’ therefore represents the manufacture of a unique metalware that is named after the region of Bidar. Bidriware was first practised in ancient Persia and then it was brought to India by Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti’s followers. The art form developed due to a mix of Persian and Arabic cultures and after the fusion with local style, a new and unique style of its own was created. The Nizam of Hyderabad introduced the art form in Aurangabad, which was part of Nizam’s Hyderabad state before 1947. Bidriware is an eight-stage process. Those are moulding, smoothening by file and the process of designing by chisels. It is then followed by engraving using chisel and hammer where pure silver inlaying is done. It is subjected to smoothening again, followed by buffing and finally oxidising by making use of soil and ammonium chloride. Bidriware is therefore manufactured from an alloy of copper and zinc metals, in the ratio 1:16 by means of casting. The Bidriware item is now completely set for a final blackening process darkens the body without affecting the silver inlay. The makers of Bidriware create designs like flowers, leaves and also geometric designs, stylized poppy plants, human figures etc. Bidriware was also used for making paanholders, hookahs, and vases as well as bowls, ornament boxes, earrings, trays and other jewelry and showpiece items.
Dokra Metal Crafts
This charming metal craft has now become popular around the world thanks to the simple, one of- a-kind designs produced by artisans residing in the Adilabad District. Made completely by hand, each product is unique since no mould is used twice. Brass scrap is the most common metal used to create Dokra products, which also have a core of clay within the metal casting. Motifs are taken from folk traditions and nature – stags, elephants and various other tribal and religious symbols find their way into these castings.
A delicate and beautiful metal art, silver filigree was created by silversmiths in Karimnagar in the 19th century. It involves twisting silver wires to create items with a silver net-like appearance. The artisans make every article by hand and use only the highest quality of silver that is available. Popular motifs include flowers, birds, leaves and other nature-related designs. This work is mainly used to make jewellery.
Bronze castings of Telangana are famed all over the world. Amazing idols are crafted in this art with skilled artistry exhibiting perfect measurements and proportions. Artistic symbolism and characteristics of the idols depicted in Bronze castings are very admirable. Moulds for solid casting of icons are created by using many coatings of various clays over a finished wax model. This helps in rendering fine curves to the cast image.
Hyderabad, the heart of Deccan Plateau and the capital city of Telangana has earned the sobriquet of ‘Pearl City’ from a long time as the city is associated with the lucrative trade of splendid pearls and various forms of jewellery made using Pearls. Pearl trading was greatly encouraged by the Nizam’s and the Qutb Shahi rulers who are believed to have a lot of affinity for the sparkling jewel. The kings and queens adorned pearls on their robes and even crushed the pearls and applied it topically to enhancing their physical beauty. The wealthy life style led by the royals also resulted in the influx of craftsman from all over the world who was widely engaged in making quality pearl jewellery. Many families had migrated from Basra in Persia to Hyderabad centuries ago.
Hyderabad is considered as the largest trading centre for pearls in India. There are necklaces, pearl pendants, multi-strand bracelets, pearl cluster rings, single pearl rings, earrings, brooches, stud earrings, cufflinks, as well as tie tacks and many more items made with Pearls. Quality pearls are procured from various sources and these pearls are drilled, followed by boiling for about four days for bleaching them and getting rid of the dark color. The pearls are then placed in glass bottles that are filled with hydrogen peroxide, water and also ether. Following this, they are kept for five days in glass sun boxes that consist of mirror base. Finally the pearls are washed and graded in terms of the different shapes, colours and sizes. Usually pink pearls and black pearls are considered to be of good quality while white pearls are traditionally popular. Most of the traditional Hyderabad jewellery comprises of white pearls.
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Article written by- Ms. Sampada Girish Surve, B.Sc. in Textile & apparel Design from SVT college of Home Science, Intern at Textile Value Chain
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