Crafts of Uttar Pradesh

  • Uttar Pradesh is known for its ancient and diverse crafts. The artisans organised themselves into guilds known as shreni during Gupta rule. The present contribution of handicrafts in the state’s economy is significant.
  • Handicraft exports from Uttar Pradesh contribute 44% to the total handicraft exported from the country. Similarly, UP carpets’ share is 39% and the share of leather exports is 26% of the total exports in the respective category.
  • The popular crafts of Uttar Pradesh are listed below.

Embroidery Crafts

  • Zardozi
    • Zardozi, one of the most exquisite crafts, uses gold and silver thread for embroidery. Copper- and gold-plated silk threads are also used. Precious gems such as diamonds, emeralds and pearls are also sewn with fabric as a further adornment.
    • Lucknow, Varanasi, Agra, Bareilly are the main centres of Zardozi.
    • Zari embroidery creates a three-dimensional pattern.
    • The product range of Zardozi includes garments, caps, purse, drapes, bangles, etc.
  • Banarasi Brocade
    • Brocade refers to the sophisticated fabrics which are eloquently and densely decorated with raised patterns and generally worn by the rich and aristocratic class. Banarasi brocade is vividly colourful and very soft and usessilk as the base fabric.
    • It is categorised as Zari (heavily decorated with zari work), Amru (decorated with silk thread only, e.g. Tanchai Brocade) and Abrawans (transparent cloth made of silk and organza, e.g. Tarbana).
    • Banaras brocade with zari work is also known as kin-khab, meaning cloth of gold. Typically, florals (e.g. Kalka Buti,Jhalar ) Tasveer, Butidar motifs are used. It may take 14 days to 6 months to make the famous Banarasi saree.
    • Madanpura and Alaipura areas of Varanasi are famous for their Brocade work.
  • Chikankari
    • Chikankari supposedly owes its origin to Nurjahan. Traditionally, this embroidery was done with white thread on cotton or muslin, though now coloured thread and variety of clothes like chiffon, muslin, organza, organdie and silk are also used.
    • Chikankari uses beautiful floral patterns which are first printed on the fabric using block printing and then stiched along with the pattern. Approximately 30 types of stitches are used where the application of each stitch is well defined and performed by a different embroider. The chain stitch (zanzeera) is used for final outlines and the satin stitch for delicate works.
    • Chikan Sari and Kurtas of Lucknow make the perfect summer wear.
  • Phool Patti Ka Kaam or Aligarh work
    • Phool Patti Ka Kaam or Aligarh work embroidery uses floral motifs such as petals and leaves.
    • Mostly women of Aligarh are employed in this craft.
  • Mukaish
    • This craft of Lucknow is widely used along with chikankari as an adornment.
    • Beautiful patterns are made by inserting and twisting metallic wire into the fabric. Patterns are categorised among the Fardi ka kaam (dotted) and Kamdari (variety of eloquent patterns).

Metal Work

  • Moradabad is a famous centre for brass work where various metal ornamentation techniques such as engraving (khudai and nakkashi), inlay, overlay and gold, silver enamelling are used.
  • The regions of Etawah, Varanasi and Sitapur including Moradabad are renowned for bronze crafts.
  • Traditional items like Tamra Patra, Kanchanthal and Panchpatra are made along with decorative items and sculpture of gods and goddesses.
  • Varanasi is famous for metal repousse craft, which is a process of ornamenting a malleable metal by hammering it from the reverse side. The Kasera community is known for this craft and specialises in making traditional ornaments, doors, wall decoration, chhatra, chawar utensils of precious metals, etc. This craft is locally known as Khal ubharka kaam.

Carpets and Handloom Crafts

  • Bhadohi, Mirzapur and Khamaria are famous for its hand knotted carpets. The knot density determines the quality of carpets. The use of vibrant colours (sometimes up to 25) and beautiful Persian designs ornament the carpets.
  • The silk carpets made of artificial silk are widely popular overseas as a substitute for Kashmiri silk carpets. Bhadohi caters to 90 percent of the country’s carpet demand.
  • These carpets are given various names such as Raja, Jambar, Kandhari, Jal, Kethriwala, etc., based on their designs. Sahajahapur and Agra are known for their cotton and woollen carpets. Handmade rugs or Hurries of Mirzapur are also well known.
  • Ghazipur is known for jute wall hangings which are woven on a handloom by combining different colour yarns. It is famous for its texture and uses patterns of landscapes, gods and goddesses.

Stone Craft

  • During ancient times, Mathura and Varanasi specialised in red and cream sandstone sculptures of the Buddha and Hindu deities.
  • Marble stone craft was popular during the Mughals and embellished the structures of Fatehpur Sikri and Taj Mahal. Mosaic work, jali work and the inlay work of Agra are famous with designs having floral pattern intertwined with geometric pattern. Inlay work, also known as pietra dura, inserts beautiful colourful stones (sometimes precious stones as well) in the grooves made in the base stone to create a beautiful pattern.
  • Vrindavan is famous for marble and alabaster products. Jhansi is famous for products of dark brown stone known as Sang-e-rathak. The artisans called Pachikars or Sadakars make boxes, vases, medicine grinders and other decorative items. Mahoba is famous for Gaura stone craft which is done on the white soft stone that can be easily carved. Varanasi is known for soft stone jali work where the stone is delicately chiselled and the pattern of jali is created. Inlay work and the embedding of semi-precious stone is done as further decoration. The undercut elephant is the iconic item of this craft.


  • Pottery is one of the most ancient crafts in India. Archaeological evidence of pottery has been found at Alamgirpur ( near Meerut), an Indus Valley site. Glazed pottery of Khurja, Chunar and Rampur is famous and is characterised by its blue, green pattern on a white background.
  • UP stands out for its Chunar black clay pottery. The lustrous black clay pottery of Nizamabad in Azamgarh uses a powder made of rice field mud known as kabij. Grooves filled with zinc and mercury powder give pottery a silvery finish.
  • Khurja pottery is widely used for making domestic wares like Surahi, due to its robustness along with its cheap price. It was supposedly started during Timur’s invasion or during the Mughals. Khurja pottery is in high demand domestically and internationally as well.


  • Bhathat, Padri Bazar and Chargawan areas of Gorakhpur are centres of this clay-based craft. Toys and other decorative items are made under this craft. Craftsmen of Gorakhpur use bare hands and natural colours. Local craftsmen have designed more than 1000 terracotta works.
  • Hauda elephants, Mahawatdar horse, five-faced Ganesha and single-faced Ganesha are among the masterpieces produced by the Gorakhpur artisans.

Leather Graft

  • The craftsmen of Kanpur were traditionally involved in leathercraft. They used Babul bark as a tanning material.
  • Bajiirao Peshwa patronised this craft for manufacturing saddlery, shoes, leather apparels and other leather goods for his army. Later on, leather handicraft was substituted by mechanised industry.

Hand Block Printing

  • The city of Farrukhabad is famous for hand block printing, that is, creating patterns on clothes by carved wooden blocks.
  • A wide variety of dark colour patterns including polka dots, mango, Persian tree of life, English and French patterns is used. Basanti, khaki, pink, sabz, sky blue, etc., were the traditional colours. Dyes, generally made of sheesham, mango and ebony, were supplied from Lucknow. Later, wooden dies were replaced by brass dies.
  • Printing was done on both fine clothes like muslin, mulmul and coarse clothes. The art employs both hand painting and block printing.
  • Tanda of Ambedkarnagar is famous for its detailed printing and Jehangirabad in Bulandshahar is known for lighter colours and bold lines. Varanasi, Lucknow and Pilakhuwa of Ghaziabad are other famous centres.


  • Lucknow and Banaras are known for their Meenakari work, that is, the art of colouring and painting ornaments by enamelling mineral substances over it.
  • Banaras gulabi meenakari, introduced by the Mughals, is characterised by pink strokes on white enamel. Silver is the preferred raw material for its surface finish by the Banaras’ Meenakars who come from a particular Kshatriya caste.
  • The silver ware of Lucknow like jewel boxes, tray, bowls, cigarette holders, etc., are adorned with Bidri and zarbuland silver works.


  • Firozabad is known for its glass bangles, chandeliers and other decorative items. Glassware was patronised by the Mughals and used for the decoration of monuments like sheesh-mehal. Saharanpur is known for its Panchkora toys.
  • Varanasi is known for its glass beads. These are manufactured by a special lamp winding process. Beads are available in many shapes and is in demand even in foreign markets.

Wood Craft

  • Saharanpur wood carving, due to its origin Kashmiri settlers, is known for decorative carvings and inlay work. The patterns, inspired from Kashmiri designs, are exquisitely carved on teak, sheesham, sal and deodar woods.
  • Mainpuri is known for Tarakashi , that is, brass wire inlay on wooden furniture and boxes.
  • Varanasi is famous for making toys from wood. The toys are lacquered to get a shiny surface and then brightly painted with the brush made of squirrel hair. Traditionally, woods of sheesham, sal, etc., were used but now softwoods are used.

Perfume (Itra) Making

  • Ancient perfume, that is, ittra, making using a hydro distillation process continues in Kannauj. Kannauj is the largest natural ittra manufacturer and this perfume is void of chemicals. Being natural, it is also used in cosmetics and medicines.
  • Kannuaj ittra has wide domestic and international marketsand comes in six fragrances-gulab, heena, mogra, shamma heena, bela and unique mitti, that is, the fragrance of soil after first rainfall. Camel skin bottles are used for the ageing of perfumes.

Bone Carving

  • This ancient craft was patronised by the Nawabs of Awadh. Bone carvers of Lucknow and Barabanki are renowned all over.
  • Many decorative items like jewellery, boxes, lamps, knife cases, hairpins, etc., are made from this craft.
  • The process of bone carving involves slicing bones into smaller pieces, cleaning, whitening and joining bone pieces to give the final shape. There after, the final product is embellished with intricate jali work, that is, hole carvings.
  • Although this craft has a huge demand in the international market, it is almost extinct in the region.
Crafts with Geographical Indication tags in Uttar Pradesh
1. Lucknow Chikan Craft
2. Banaras Brocades and Sarees
3. Handmade Carpetsof Bhadohi
4. AgraDurries
5. Farrukhabad Prints
6. Lucknow Zardozi
7. Firozabad Glass
8. Kannauj Perfume
9. Kanpur Saddlery
10. Moradabad Metal Craft
11. Saharanpur Woodcraft
12. Meerut Scissors
13. Khurja Pottery
14. BanarasGulabi Meenakari Craft
15. Varanasi Wooden Lacquerware and Toys
16. Mirzapur Handmade Durries
17. Nizamabad Black Pottery
18. Banaras Metal Repousse Craft
19. Varanasi Glass Beads
20. Ghazipur Wall Hanging
21. Varanasi Soft Stone Undercut ( Jali ) Work
22. Gorakhpur Terracotta

Schemes of UP Government for Handicrafts

  1. One District One Product scheme (ODOP) – Under this scheme certain indigenous and specialised crafts/products from each district are identified and production and marketing facilities for those particular products are developed. It has the following objectives:
    • Preservation and development of local crafts
    • Increase in incomeand local employment
    • Improvement in productivity and skill upgradatio
    • Transformation of the product through packaging and branding
    • To connect the product with tourism
    • To take the concept of ODOP to the national and international level
      Components ofODOP:
    • Common facility centres – CFCs will be established in everydistrictand developfacilities for all activities from production to the actual sale.
    • Marketing Development scheme- The state will provide financial assistance to participate in fairs and exhibitions at the state, national and international level.
    • Financial assistance scheme – The state government will reimburse certain percentage of loans taken from scheduled commercial banks and rural banks, as a grant.
    • Skill development scheme – Training will be provided for district-specific product/craft through various institutions.
  2. UP Institute of Design (UP1 D) – It has been established under the guidance of the National Institute of Design to ensure availability of trained designers for handicrafts and handloom sectors.
  3. Vishisth Hasthshilp Pradeshik Puraskar Yojna
  4. Aligarh Muslim University project for the promotion of handicrafts and assistance to minority community artisans.
  5. Design workshop scheme for training and skill upgradation.
  6. Pension scheme for specialist craftsmen.
  7. Hastshilp Vipanan Protsahan Yojna
  8. Vishwakarma Shram Samman Yojna
  9. Mukhyamantri Hashtashilp Pension Yojna
  10. Industrial Estate Scheme
  11. District Industries Centre Scheme
  12. Community Training Scheme for SC/ST persons for self-employment.
  13. Community Training scheme for OBC persons.
  14. Entrepreneurship Development Training Programme
  15. Sant Kabir Hathkargha Purashkar Yojna
  16. Mukhyamantri Hathkargha Bunkar Samman Yojna
  17. Electricity at subsidised rates to handloom workers.

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