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In our place Pakkil, there is an annual heritage trade fair as part of the custom and belief of nearby Temple in the name of Shri Dharma sastha. The epic story is that the historic character Parashuraman came to that place and tried to place the idol of Shastha but it not fit tightly . At that time another man called ‘Pakkanar’ who live by selling the shallow basket saw this and he came and fixed the idol saying to the idol. ”Live here” . To commererate ‘pakkanars’ annual visit people celebrated a trade fair including all traditional products for houses, agriculture .Many people from distant places used to visit there for buying and selling those handicraft products.
So the demand for handicraft items are much high in Kerala culture even though people shifted to more non traditional items. Now a days luxurious star hotels are arranging special events and meals in the traditional manner to attract the tourists. So Kerala Handicrafts always have a significance in the society as they are directly connected towards the culture and living of normal village people.
The Kerala handicrafts not to be missed are Brass and Bell Metal Works, Coir and Cane Products, Ivory Works, Lacquer Ware, Sandalwood Carving, Textiles, Wooden Toys, Kathakali Masks, and Wood Carving amongst others.
1. Brass and Bell Metal art
The Brass and Bell Metal art is one of the famous arts in the state. It uses an alloy of tin, copper and brass to create idols of mythological events like the ‘Tandava Dance’. Moreover, this metal is used for making lamps and various household articles. Famous Aranmula Mirror is also the unique example of Kerala craftsmanship.
2. Coir and Cane Products
Coir and Cane Products are used to create eco-friendly items like coir mattresses, floor furnishings, mats and other colourful items. Coir product manufacturing is an important part of the cottage industry in Kerala. Calicut and Kollam are the two places that produce these coir products.
Lacquer Ware is a blend of woodcraft and metal. The artistic wood carvings created by artisans are given lacquer finish and the product is finally decorated with precious metals. The State of Ernakulam has some of the best Lacquer Ware.
4. Coconut Shell Handicrafts
Coconuts are one of the most abundantly occurring natural products in Kerala. In fact, coconut trees grow all over Kerala and the beauty is that the coconut fruit is used in its entirety. Coconut shell is used to craft products like bowls, vases,
Tea pots and toys. Other products include lamp stands encased in brass and smaller coconut shell articles. Hookahs and large vases are a combination of coconut shell and brass bindings.
5. Kathakali Papier Masks
Kerala is known for the spectacular classical dance- drama Kathakali. It is one of the oldest theatre forms in the world and is a combination of drama, dance, music and ritual. The Kathakali masks are available as little relics and showpieces that showcase the culture of Kerala. Including the elaborate headgear, painted face and long black hair of the Kathakali costume, these curios are made out of papier-mâché. These masks are eco-friendly as they are made out of paper and glue.
6. Rice Straw Handicrafts
Rice straw painting is an ancient art that originated in Kerala; it uses different shades of rice straw to craft beautiful paintings. Each painting is a collection of several of pieces of rice straw meticulously cut and glued on a black cotton cloth. All the materials used for this painting are naturally occurring such as leaves, glue from tree sap, paper, etc. Not only paintings but various other handicrafts are made using rice straw, including rice straw mats, hats, handbags, wall decorations, sculptures and brooms.
7. Pulpaya Mats
Pulpaya, which is a traditional grass mat, is one of the oldest handicraft items of Kerala that brings you the virtue of nature in the form of a utilitarian product.
Banana Fibre handicrafts, Screw pine products , ethnic wear handloom dresses are some of other products which have that unique Malayali touch than machinery finishing. The speciality of this product is that all of this products are not bulk made inside a factory but handmade through the hardships of an expert craftsman sweating for hours. The beauty and finishing of each product determines the price of handicraft products. To buy handicrafts in India , especially Kerala handicrafts we get them from trade fairs arranged by various government and tourism departments for Handicraft promotion. Another way is to buy handicraft online is through marketplaces that sell quality products and deliver it to your door steps. Have a visit to the God’s own country and enjoy the artistic creation of Keralites.