Faith often finds a reflection in creativity. The metal craft of Himachal Pradesh is a live testimony of the same. You can find a reflection of the same in different regions in this hill state.
Metal Craft in Kullu
You will find a wide personification of metal craft in Himachal Pradesh in the Kullu district. The world famous Kullu Dusshera and other fairs in the district often showcase this metal craft with impunity. The face of the deities often has depiction of metal mask which are also known as mohras. In addition, the heads are adorned with chattras. Traditional musical instruments playing alongside add to the richness and religious fervour of this auspicious gathering.
The weight of these masks often varies with the intent on how much can the devtas carry and how much they can spend on these artistic expressions. These masks which are an important representation of metal craft of Himachal Pradesh are often made out of ashtdhatu (a combination of eight metals) or bronze and even gold, if the deity so desires.
The mask making task usually takes around a week as a lot of detailing in terms of jewels and chhatras has to be done. None the less, when they are ready for the final show, the effect and effervescence is simply out of the world.
Metal Craft in Chamba
The metal craft of Himachal Pradesh can also be witness in minute details in the district of Chamba.Interestingly enough,the metal craft in this region has influence from Kashmir, since Chamba is located near Jammu.The tradition of bronze casting in the metal craft of Himachal Pradesh has been brought by Kashmiri artisans.
The process of metal crafting is also unique. The image or statue is first made out of wax and thereafter thin coat of clay is added to the same. A hole for pouring in metal is left in the top corner of the statue or the metal idol.
The clay covered mould is burnt and melted metal is poured in hollow mould. The image takes a shape thereafter. This traditional form of metal crafting is still being practiced by some artisans in Chamba presently too.
When you travel to Chamba, do make it a point to look for some metal craft of Himachal Pradesh. You will definitely carry back a bagful of tradition and culture which everyone in your family and among friends will admire.
Diverse range of Products
You will find a diverse range of products among metal craft. A unique category of such products is known by the name of Mohra. These are metal plaques which represent form of a deity. Extensive use of bronze, copper and iron is done in creating this range of product.
Other items like lamps, handles, bells and small pots too are made in this range of products and you can buy any of these in the popular tourist towns of Shimla, Chamba, Manali and Dharamshala.
This is a traditional metal work or art that has been prevalent in Himachal Pradesh since ages. With changing times, the designs, concepts and ideas might have changed but the essence of metal craft in Himachal Pradesh has been amply preserved through Mohra. The popular deity of Shiva finds a key manifestation in the Mohra metal work.
Many of the popular temple doors in the state also find a manifestation of this art form. Interestingly, Buddhists also show interest in this art form and many of their depictions have a manifestation of this art form.
Tibetan Metal Casting
If you happen to be in Dharamshala, make it a point to visit the Norbulingka Institute which has been set up to preserve Tibetan art and culture. You can witness a range of sheet and metal casting work here. You will find that large statues too are built and designed here for different monasteries spread out through different parts of India.
These statues are made out of individual cast parts and are thereafter joined by soldering.
In addition to this if you wish to check out popular metal work in other regions, you should head out to Mandi which is popular for its silver filigree work. In addition, the people associated with this form of art in Kinnaur are known to produce door handles that have been given the shape of tiger or lion head.
When to Visit Himachal
Himachal is a diverse state in form of culture as well as weather. The regions which are popular for metal craft of Himachal Pradesh can be accessed during any part of the year. However, you should avoid travelling during monsoons as regions like Dharamshala receive heavy rainfall.
How to Reach Himachal
Himachal Pradesh is accessible through road, rail and air routes. The state has three functional airports in Shimla, Kullu and Kangra. Regular flights operate to these airports from major cities like Delhi and Mumbai.
Himachal Pradesh is a traveller’s paradise. Besides enjoying the pristine views, you should definitely indulge in exploring the art and architecture of his hill state. A beginning by exploring and buying some exquisite art work would definitely make for a worthy investment.
Happy travelling and happy exploration!