Whether it’s to take souvenirs for loved ones back home or to buy a traditional piece of artwork to decorate your house, or the handloom to jazz up your wardrobe, shopping is an essential part of travel. On top of that, shopping in Madhya Pradesh becomes an even bigger deal. With its rich cultural heritage with stunning traditional paintings, handicrafts or handloom pieces of Madhya Pradesh, there is so much to shop for, in the “heart of India”! There is something unique being made in every other corner of this state and hence, one can never truly get enough of shopping in Madhya Pradesh! But for starters, here is a list of things one must keep an eye out for on that next Madhya Pradesh vacation!
Maheshwari sarees are evergreen sarees that originate from the Maheshwar town of Madhya Pradesh. Almost all families in this town were traditionally handloom weavers – and most of them still are! One can go hinting for these beautiful cotton or silk sarees in the narrow lanes of Maheshwar to get an unmatchable price. To level up the oomph factor on your saree, choose to go for some zari – or golden thread – work.
Chanderi sarees are Characterised by their peacock, floral or geometrical motifs, intricately woven into a silk or cotton fabric. Chanderi sarees are some of the most exquisite sarees of India that belong to the Chanderi town. The Malwa and Bundelkhand regions are known for this handloom craft and it would be criminal to not go hunting for Chanderi sarees while shopping in Madhya Pradesh!
The Batik is a form of art that can be seen as paintings, or even as fabric prints. The process of Batik artwork first involves the waxing of the fabric which is being painted upon. Once the dyeing and painting are done beautifully by hand, the fabric is de-waxed to uncover the contrasting colours in the patterns. Though originally from Indonesia, Batik has made its mark in Indian culture for many centuries now – especially in Madhya Pradesh. Behrugarh is best known for Batik shopping in Madhya Pradesh.
Bandhani is an Indian form of tie-dying which is done in intricate patterns. The primary colours used for Bandhani fabrics are yellow, green, red, blue, and black – and are a popular item to buy from Madhya Pradesh. Also known as Bandhej, this is a common fabric worn for everyday use. Amarwara town in the Chhindwara district is also known as the “Bandhani Village” and is the go-to place for Bandhani shopping in Madhya Pradesh.
Thappa and Thussa Jewellery
The Thappa and Thussa Jewellery are the traditional jewellery of Madhya Pradesh. Thappa literally means “to stomp” and during this process, paper-thin sheets of gold mixed with other metals like copper are embossed with floral and geometrical patterns. On the other hand, Thussa is the art of braiding strands of gold together to make beautiful neckpieces, bracelets and other jewellery. The Thappa and Thussa Jewellery are most popular in Bhopal, and one can look in the Jama Masjid area for some authentic artwork!
The Gond are a tribal people of Madhya Pradesh and neighbouring states which are famous for their Gond paintings. The Gond artwork draws heavily from humanity’s relationship with nature and features “on line work” which is used to give a sense of movement to still, 2D images. The paintings also use strikingly bright colours and depiction of myths and legends. Original Gond artwork can be shopped from the Patangarh Village in the Dindori district of Madhya Pradesh.
Dhurries or daris are hand-woven rugs found in most parts of India. But Madhya Pradesh is known for its sturdy dhurries featuring vivid colours. These are traditionally hand-woven by pit looms and made in cotton or sheep wool. In the dhurries of Madhya Pradesh, the sun motif plays an important role and can be featured in bright hues of yellow, or sunflower prints, etc. For the best deals in Madhya Pradesh dhurries, head to rural villages of Jabalpur, Raigarh, Sironj and Jhabua districts!
Wooden lacquerware is a traditional craft in the Bhopal district of Madhya Pradesh. The process of this artwork includes using soft woods like dudhi, salaiya and haldu are moulded into desired shapes using a traditional lathe. They are then coated in a layer of lac, before being ready to be sold. Sheopur district is known for its lacquerware ranging from home décor to utilitarian objects.
“Bhopali Batua” are string pouches or potlis embroidered with intricate zardozi work. The pouches are made of a heavy fabric like silk and also feature gold threads and even precious stones! Of course, Bhopal is the place to go shopping for some batuas. But even in Bhopal, the Parekh Brothers shop is 185 years old and is an 11th generation business of this traditional purse of Madhya Pradesh that should definitely be checked out!
Bagh Print Fabric
The Bagh Print is one of Madhya Pradesh’s most popular fabric print. It is printed with wooden blocks using a vegetable dye. This print mostly features paisley, geometric, or floral artwork. The most common and traditional colour combination for Bagh Print is red and black over white, but in contemporary days many other colours have also come up. This artwork originates in the Bagh village of Dhar district and a visit there is a must for Bagh Print shopping in Madhya Pradesh!
Pithora art is practised by the Aadharkaanch, Bhilala and Rathwa tribes of central Madhya Pradesh. This artwork is ritualistic and traditionally made on walls. It is believed that having these painting in the home bring prosperity and peace. These paintings were made as thanks to God when a wish was granted. The Pithora art can now be bought as paintings, or even embroidered over cushions, sheets etc. Dehrikheda village of Alirajpur district is the best place to buy some!