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7 Hidden Indian Art Forms that Survived and Thrived

Manik Sharma
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Are you also fascinated by the vibrancy of Indian culture? Being the heart of diversity, India has witnessed an evolution of our enriched cultural tradition and history. But some Indian art forms have lost their essence at the moment. Popular and admired worldwide, Indian art forms are known for their inextricably intricate work that could be found nearly in every region of India, carrying its individuality. From the unique art of making clay sculptures to the lost art of puppetry from Rajasthan, we have covered 7 Hidden Indian Art Forms that survived and thrived that are probably lost in the modern world. Explore the art and craft classes to know about the most beautiful hidden gems of India!

1. The Art of Puppetry

Dated back some 3000 years ago, the traditional art form of Puppetry was started in India in different regions with its own individualistic touch. Did you know that there are over 50 types of Puppetry in India? Yes, from string puppets in Orissa, Shadow puppets in Karnataka to Glove Puppets from Bengal, it was immensely enjoyed by the children. To see moving objects with enthralling folk tales brought unparalleled joy to the children of ancient times. Unfortunately, it has been replaced with advanced methods of digital technology. Being on the verge of extinction, it is high time to revive the lost tradition of Puppetry.


2. Dokra Painting

Named after the Dokra Damar tribes, who were the metalsmiths from West Bengal, Dokra is a significant Brass craft that has been in India since Indus Valley Civilization. Tracing its roots back some 4000 ago years ago, this enchanting art uses a lost-wax technique to make folk motifs including horses, elephants, peacocks, owls, etc. one of the oldest Dokta artifacts dates back to the oldest period, named the dancing girl of Mohenjo-Daro. Now very few artisans are left who have been practicing these Indian art forms and can only be preserved through effective awareness.

3. Parsi Embroidery

One of the diverse textiles of India, Parsi Embroidery is one of the hidden gems that has been in trend for some time now. Originating from the lands of Iran, it gradually came at a confluence with Chinese, Persian, European, and Indian culture. This textile heritage comprises intricate and delicate work of animals or floral motifs, bewitching its unique designs and patterns. What makes it special is that it takes 9 long months to make each piece which is made with precision and fidelity. With growing interest particularly in the field of handicrafts and traditional textile, this traditional art form of India is preserved.

4. Ganjifa

Patronized by the Mysore Royal family, “Ganjifa” is a lost art of the Indian Card game. Majorly played in the Mughal Period, it is derived from the Persian word “Ganjifeh” which is translated as playing cards. The authenticity of Ganjifa comes from its traditional hand-painting on the cards. Not only treated as a medium of entertainment, but Ganjifa was also famous for the distinctive designs on the cards that were majorly a hobby of the rich. As a part of its revival, many artisans have made miniature paintings and have been exhibited in the museums of Mysore.


5. Mithila Painting

A 2500-year old folk art, Mithila Art or famously known as Madhubani Art has originated from the lands of Bihar, India. The paintings in Mithila art contain folk tales of Ramayana depicting Lord Rama’s wedding ceremony among other significant motifs. What makes Mithila art special is its traditional method of making them. Mostly made by women, Madhubani paintings were made by fingers, twigs, matchsticks, and pen nibs in the present time. It is embellished with unique geometrical patterns at the borders. The majestic grandeur and beauty of Mithila’s painting will definitely leave you bewitched.

6. Chhau Dance

Ingenious to the eastern of India, Chhau dance originated initially as a martial art with rigorous movements. Later emerged as a traditional dancing style, Chhau performers use masks while dancing. It is believed that the Chhau dance originated to entertain the Oriya warriors that were depicted with heroic movements with swords, bows, or shields. With this unique confluence of acrobatics and athletes, Chhau Dance is popularly known worldwide for its beautiful yet sturdy portrayal of courage and bravery.

7. Mata Ni Pachedi

Mata ni Pachedi from Gujrat is popularly known as “Kalamkari painting” due to its striking resemblance to kalamkari from south India. The curious story behind the origin of Mata ni Pachedi started from the Vaghari Community of Gujrat where women were restricted to enter the temples. As an act of opposition, women started worshipping the Goddess by illustrating on cloth. This lost art has been taken up by various artists, you can also learn Mata ni Pachedi and explore the beauty of traditional intricate Indian folk art forms.


Manik Sharma

Content Writer | Blogger | Photographer | Footballer | Artist

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