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This web site is a part of the heritage project taken up
by Prabal Pramanik’s Academy of Arts

Bhamlada, Bhatwan, Punjab-145 022, India
Web site : www.academyartprabal.com
e-mail : prabalpramanik@yahoo.co.uk

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Handicrafts of Chamba
by Prabal Pramanik

Traditional economy system that had prevailed from ancient times was largely self sufficient. Certain raw materials were brought from outside the kingdom, and were made into necessary implements by the artisans working in Chamba. For the manufacture of most articles, locally available material was used.
This self reliant economy system, was prevalent all over the world before the revolution brought about by the invention of machines of mass production.
The production capacity of the self reliant economy increased in ratio to the demand in that society.
The largest plus point of this handicraft based self reliant economy was that this system eliminated unemployment to a large extent.
The craftsmen were trained as apprentices of master craftsman, to learn the trades. This system of apprenticeship was prevalent all over the world in self reliant economy system.
In Europe the craftsmen’s guilds regulated each trade, while in India cast based clan system in the society regulated the handicraft manufacturing and trade. In my opinion, the guild system of Europe was much better than caste based system of India.
The cast system had bred many oppressive social evils as the guild system allowed much greater social freedom in Europe than the caste based production system in India.
Even so, the clan or caste based traditional production system in India that depended much on family ties, produced superb works of art and craft in a continuous flow for centuries.
Chamba is a rare place where various traditional handicrafts are still practiced in small workshops maintained by the artisans. It is a rare pleasure to visit an artisan’s studio and see the craftsmen at work.
Only when the basic needs of a society are fulfilled, people of that society can think of spending money on decoration pieces and luxury items.
The prevalence of such varied types of decoration pieces and luxury items of artistic value in the traditional style in any given place imply the existence of a wealthy class of people in that area for many centuries.
Not only, wealth, refined taste is also needed to patronize artistic work. The fact that the refined handicrafts have successfully survived in Chamba for hundreds of years prove that traditionally the people of Chamba had very refined taste and understood the need of art in life.
Some of the crafts that were practiced in olden times are not practiced now a days much due to the lack of use, but these also can be revived and the market of these dying handicrafts can be created with the aid information technology.
Potters art, blacksmith’s art, that were vital in the olden days are not much in demand in modern times but a market for these also can be created through web sites such as this one.
A list of the traditional handicrafts of Chamba are given bellow..
List of handicrafts prevailing in Chamba :
(1) Chamba Chappals
(2) Chamba Rumal
(3) Chamba shawl
(4) Cast metal work & sheet metal work
(5) Wood carving
(6) Musical instrument making
(7) Traditional jewellery making
(8) Iron smith’s work
(9) Pottery

Prabal Pramanik


Chamba Chappals
Chamba has its own traditional system of men’s and women’s foot wares. These foot wares were originally made from locally available leather but now a days most of the leather used to manufacture Chamba Chappals comes from South India. Men’s Chappals are comfortable and hardy. Women’s Chappals are generally embroidered in beautiful way.
“Vegetarian” foot wares are made without leather also. These can be worn in places where the use of leather is prohibited. These “grass” foot wares are also beautifully embroidered.

Chamba Rumal
Kerchiefs and hand kerchiefs adorned in the traditional embroidery style of Chamba are superb examples of embroidery skilled and make beautiful souvenirs of Chamba.
The speciality of these embroidered kerchiefs is that the design is supposed to look the same from both sides of the cloth.
Traditionally handspun, hand woven “khaddar” or “mulmul” was used. Often designs from miniatures are copied on the cloth and after the markings are done the needle work is done in bright contrasting colurs.
This needle workers craft is taught to girls in some centers in Chamba now-a-days.

Chamba Shawl
Chamba Shawls are woven on hand looms in wool. Some times one thread is cotton and the other crossing thread is wool. The shawls have a bright border in traditional design.
Such designs have distinct regional variations.The woven designs are used in making the famous Chamba caps also.

Cast metal
Cast metal work in Chamba must have been done from the Bronge age period. The presence of minor copper mines in Chamba district helped to obtain the necessary raw material.
Alloy compound, brass is commonly used for casting metalware in Chamba. Small and medium size sculpturer pieces are cast in stylized forms in the traditional work in small studios which also serve as their shops. The furnace for larger casting work is kept away from the shops.
These metal workers make sheet metal articles too. Beautiful plaques in relief method are done quite efficiently.
The plaques, shaped like huge plates are used for wall decoration. Quite often designs from Chamba miniatures are used to make the relief work on the plaques. Decorations for temple cupolas are made in copper and brass. The old temples have golden kalasa or vessel on top.

Wood carving
Wood carving in the Himalayan regions is one of the most ancient froms of folk art. Door panels, decoration under the eaves, and huge wooden statues from olden times are found in Chamba even today.

Musical instrument making
Chamba had not only rich tradition of visual arts but also a traditional of performing arts, and as these traditions are being maintained today, Musical instruments are made in Chamba by craftsmen in small studios.
“Singas” or horns, both straight and curved are made in Chamba. “Nagaras” or kettle drums are also made. Bells of different types are cast and some times decorated with engravings. Cymbals are also made of bras.

Traditional jewellery making
Jewellery in traditional style is made in Chamba by goldsmiths. The jewellery is made in gold and silver both. The designs are traditional and must have been handed down from olden times.
It is quite possible that jewellery designs have been influenced by different cultures as people migrated from various communities from different parts of the country to Chamba at different stages of history.

Before the days of modern factorymade kitchenware and utensils, earthen pots must have been in daily use in Chamba.

Iron smith’s work
Many implements and weapons must have been made by blacksmiths in olden times. Due to the use of factory made stuff that are used at homes now-a-days, these crafts though still existing, are holding a lesser position of importance in society.
Prabal Pramanik


An artists' Roster of Chamba

Name : Shri Parkash Chand Anand
Father’s Name : Sh.Nanak Chand
Date of birth : 25th December 1937
Address : Muhalla charpat, Chamba-176310
Discipline of work : Metal crafts
National Awarded by President of India
Shilpa Shree Awarded by Madhya Pradesh Govt.
Shilpa Guru Awarded by Himachal Pradesh Govt.
Phone : 9805425511

Name : M. Latif Malik
Father’s Name : Miran Bakash
Date of birth : 18th April 1958
Address : Sapri Bazar, Chamba
Himachal Pradesh
Discipline of work : Wood carving
National Awarded by President of India
State Award by Himachal Pradesh Governor
Phone : 224551, Mobile : 9418144084

Name : Dinesh Kumari
W/O Sh. Shiv Kumar Dogra
Address : Ward No. 7 Near L.I.C. office
Nurpur, Distt. Kangra, H.P.-176202
Mobile : 9418186806 / 9736765340
Discipline of work : Traditional Chamba Rumal, embroidery

Name : Reena Thakur
Father's Name : Sh. Rattan Singh Thakur
Address : Village Niyahan, P.O. Baat,
Teh. & Distt. Chamba, H.P. 176314

Discipline of work : Pahari Miniature Painting

State Award 2nd Prize in 2008

Name : Savita
Father's Name : Sh. Bushara Ram
Address : Village - Tur, P.O. Brehi
Teh. & Distt. Chamba

Discipline of work : Pahari Miniature Painting

State Award 1st Prize in 2012

Name : Miss Suraj Begum
Father’s Name : Naam Mohammad
Date of birth : 5th October 1938
Address : Muhalla Pacca Tala, Chamba Town
Himachal Pradesh - 176310
Discipline of work : Traditional Chamba Rumal, embroidery
Getting certificate by the Governor Himachal Pradesh
Rt. Head craft Teacher, I.T.I Chamba.

Name : Abhishek Sharma
Father’s Name : Sh. Naresh Sharma
Date of birth : 30th July 1984
Address : Village Chambi, P.O. Zedra
Distt. Teh. Chamba, Himachal Pradesh
Discipline of work : Miniature Artist
Phone : 250504, Mobile : 9816036929

Name : Mrs. Lalita Vakil
Husband’s Name : W/o Sh. Manmohan Singh Vakil
Date of birth : 14th April 1954
Address : Muhalla Chouutra Chamba town-176310
Himachal Pradesh
Discipline of work : Traditional Chamba Rumal embroidery
National Awarded by the President of India
Phone : 222707, Mobile : 9418166800

Name : Dev Badotra
Father’s Name : Sh. Chatar Singh
Date of birth : 14th April 1942
Address : Muhalla Chouutra, Chamba Town-176310
Himachal Pradesh
Discipline of work :Drawing and Painting
Trained J.J. School of Art, Bombay
Phone : 222592, Mobile : 9418134725

Name : Inu Sharma
Husband’s Name : W/o Vivek Sharma
Date of birth : 1986
Discipline of work : Traditional Chamba Rumal, embroidery

Name : Madhu
Father’s Name : Late Duni Chand
Date of birth : 1982
Discipline of work : Traditional Chamba Rumal, embroidery

Name : Sh. Ramesh Kumar
Father’s Name : Late Sh. Mehar Chand
Date of birth : 29th January 1960
Address : Vill Hutnall Bazar, Chamba - 176310
Discipline of work : Metal Work
Phone : 01899-224971 Mobile : 9418121104

Name : Hinu Sharma
Father’s Name : Sh. Kailsh Chand Sharma
Date of birth : 30th October 1988
Discipline of work : Traditional Chamba Rumal, embroidery

Name : Rakha
Husband’s Name : W/o Sh. Pawan Thakur
Date of birth : 1981
Discipline of work : Traditional Chamba Rumal, embroidery

Name : Indu
Father’s Name : Sh. Prithu Ram Thakur
Date of birth : 1990
Discipline of work : Traditional Chamba Rumal, embroidery

Name : Indu Sharma
Husband’s Name : W/o Parikshit Sharma
Date of birth : 1982
Discipline of work : Traditional Chamba Rumal, embroidery

Name : Masto Devi
Discipline of work : Traditional Chamba Rumal, embroidery

Name : Pami
Father’s Name : Sh. Des Raj Thakur
Date of birth : 1984
Discipline of work : Traditional Chamba Rumal, embroidery

Name : Sanjeev Jandrotia
Father’s Name : Sh. Bachan Singh Jandrotia
Date of birth : 26th February 1968
Address : P.O. Jadara Vill Kandolu
Discipline of work : Miniature Artist and drift wood
Working in natural show piece, Pahari Painting, Chambali Painting
Phone : 01899-204060

Name : Shurakha Jandrotia
Husband’s Name : W/o of Sanjeev Jandrotia
Date of birth : 20th July 1972
Address : P.O. Jadara,Vill Kandolu
Discipline of work : Chamba Rumal
Phone : 01899-204060

Name : Mukesh Anand
Father’s Name : Sh. Inder jeet Anand
Date of birth : 4th April 1982
Address : Mohalla hatnala near Laxmi nath temple Chamba
Discipline of work : Hand made art of brass, copper and silver

Name : Balbir Singh
Father’s Name : Late Sh. Amar singh
Date of birth : 30th August 1966
Address : C/o Mukesh Mohalla Hatnala, Chamba (H.P.)
Discipline of work : Artist of copper Nagara, Kalah, Dhol
Mobile : 93188-07069 / 9318803630

Name : Harinder Manhotra
Father’s Name : Sh. Dina Nath
Date of birth : 22nd August 1972
Address : Vill Hutnall Bazar, Chamba - 176310
Discipline of work : Metal Work
Mobile : 9418185828

Name : Praveen Manhotra
Father’s Name : Sh. Dina Nath
Date of birth : 27th June 1976
Address : Vill Hutnall Bazar, Chamba - 176310
Discipline of work : Metal Work
Mobile : 9418185828

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e-mail : prabalpramanik@yahoo.co.uk



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Madam Dinesh Kumari is with her daughter Jayanti and her husband Shiv Kumar Dogra
at Kalyani Art Gallery of Prabal Pramanik's Academy of Arts on 11th June 2015

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Smt. Dinesh Kumari
More details click here

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Reena Thakur
More details click here


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Sri Chamanlal weaving Chamba Shawl


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