Heritage Trails: The Hidden Crafts of Kangra Valley

20 April, 2018

 

Situated in the lap of the jaw dropping ranges of the snow-capped Dhauladhar, is the picturesque valley of Kangra. From gorgeous locations like Kareri Lake to the magnificent Kangra Fort, revered Baijnath Temple and quaint city of McLeodganj, the valley of Kangra has something for everyone. The fact that Kangra is the Mecca of tourists in India engenders the fact that hotels in Kangra, Himachal are always booked. But there’s much more to the city than being merely a hub of tourism. The melting pot of beguiling arts and crafts, Kangra is laden with an array of centers of art.

Chalets

One such famous region is Dharamshala. A serene sojourn, which is replete with verdant lawns, gurgling streams and a tranquil ambience, this city focuses on preserving the elements of Tibetan art and culture. Artists are seen arduously creating the ‘Thangka Painting’. Created using vibrant colours, these holy paintings are treated as a visual aid for meditating. It is also famous for producing some of the finest Buddhist statues and carving Tibetan motifs out of wood. You can also pick up the exquisite Tibetan appliqué work and take back souvenirs home from this place. You can retire to one of the hotels around Dharamshala.

Another equally popular hub of art and craft is Palampur. Not only is this area a tourist center; it is also home to a colony of artisans which literally offers art on wheels. Andretta is a quaint little village established in the 1920s, when the celebrated Irish theatre artiste, Norah Richards settled there. What is particularly enamoring about this place is that it fashions striking rangoli-patterned glossy earthenware. If you are willing to get your hands dirty, then you can also create your own pot under the guidance and direction of one of the local artisans.

The final region which is famed for its artistic brilliance is Garli –Pragpur. Branded as the ‘Heritage Zone’ in 2002, this area houses India’s first heritage village. This ornamental village is bedecked by cobbled stone streets, charming old-fashioned shops, houses looking like forts, rustic mud plastered walls and slate-roofed homes. In fact, some of the best heritage hotels in Pragpur capitalize on this fact and offer this royal experience to their visitors. You will also find opportunities to indulge in a shopping spree by dropping by at its petite kiosks having silversmiths, painters, musicians, basket makers & weavers.

So, the next time when you are in the valley, step out of your cottage in Kangra to explore the hidden crafts of the regions.

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