[Prelims Spotlight]Important Traditional Crafts, Music and Dance schools in India

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Important Traditional Crafts, Music and Dance schools in India

30 April 2020

Indian Festivals

Kumbha Mela
  • Held at all 4 places every 3 years by rotation (Allahabad, Haridwar, Nashik, Ujjain)
  • Associated rivers : Ganga at Haridwar, the Sangam of the Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati at Allahabad,  Godawari at Nashik, and Shipra at Ujjain
  • Ardha Kumbh Mela  : Haridwar and Prayag every 6 years
  • Purna Kumbh Mela  : Prayag every 12 years
  • Maha Kumbh Mela  : Prayag every 144 years
  • last full moon day of  Phalguna
Maha Shivaratri
  • 13th night in Krishna Paksha of Phalguna
  • 9 forms of Shakti are worshipped on 9 nights
Vinayaga Chaturthi
  • On occasion of birth of Ganesha
Vasant Panchami
  • Worshiping Saraswati –  the goddess of knowledge, music and art
  • Children are taught to write their first words; Brahmins are fed ; ancestral worship is performed; the god of love- Kamadeva is worshipped
  • People usually wear yellow garments
  • Muslims refrain from eating, drinking and sexual relations from dawn until sunset
  • Intended to teach Muslims about patience, humility & spirituality
Guru Purnima
  • Buddhists in the honour of Lord Buddha who gave his first sermon on this day at Sarnath
  • Hindus on this day offer Puja or pay respect to their Guru
Buddha Poornima
  • Birth anniversary of Lord Buddha
  • Commemorate the birth of Jesus
  • Oldest and holiest Christian festival – the day when Jesus Christ was crucified
  • On this day Jesus Christ rose from the dead and ascended into heaven
Thai Pongal
  • Harvest festival celebrated in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Sri Lanka
  • To thank the Sun God and farmstead livestock
  • Boiling of milk in clay pot symbolize material abundance for household
  • Celebrated on the 1st  month of the Islamic calendar
  • unlawful to fight during this month
Dree Festival
  • an agricultural rite, which is observed by Apatanis in Arunachal Pradesh
  • involves a sacrifice of fowls, eggs and animals to the sun & moon god to appease these Gods to avoid feminine

Indian Dances

Indian Folk Music

  • Baul : It is a type of Bengali music and a religious sect. The lyrics carry influence from Bhakti movement as well as Sufi movement.
  • Wanawan : Folk music from Kashmir which is sung during wedding ceremonies.
  • Padwani : This music is based on Mahabharata and uses both singing and playing instruments.
  • Alha : Song is from Madhya Pradesh and is a heroic ballad song.
  • Paani hari : Song is from the state of Rajasthan and is thematically related to water. Songs are generally about women fetching water from nearby well.
  • Ovi : Maharashtra and Goan women sing such songs during leisure time.
  • Pai song : Songs are mostly from Madhya Pradesh sung during festivals.
  • Lavani : Popular folk song from Maharashtra. Music has a powerful rhythm and beats and is suitable for dancing.
  • Maand : Developed in the royal circles
  • Dandiya raas : Performed in Gujarat and is associated with Holi and Lila of Krishna and Radha at Vrindavan
  • Powada : Folk type emerging from Maharashtra
  • Khongjom Parva : Important folk music from the state of Manipur.
  • Bhagwati : Popular amongst masses of Karnataka and Maharashtra. Musically they are close to ghazals and are sung on a slower pitch.

Classical Dances

The classical dance forms recognised by the Sangeet Natak Akademi and the Ministry of Culture are

  • Bharatanatyam, from Tamil Nadu
  • Kathak, from Uttar Pradesh and western India
  • Kathakali, from Kerala
  • Kuchipudi, from Andhra Pradesh
  • Odissi, from Odisha
  • Sattriya, from Assam
  • Manipuri, from Manipur
  • Mohiniyattam, from Kerala

Indian Music


The two main traditions of classical music in India are Carnatic music and Hindustani Music. Carnatic Music is found predominantly in the peninsular regions and Hindustani music are found in the northern and central regions.

Hindustani Music

Hindustani music was not only influenced by ancient Hindu musical traditions but also enriched by the Persian performance practices of the Mughals.

Dhrupad is an old style of Hindustani singing, traditionally performed by male singers. The great Indian musician Tansen sang in the Dhrupad style. Dhrupad was the main form of northern Indian classical music but has now given way to Khyal.

Khyal is a form of vocal music in Hindustani music. It was adopted from medieval Persian music It is special as it is based on improvising and expressing emotion.

Another vocal form Tarana are medium to fast-paced songs that are usually performed towards the end of the concert. They consist of a few lines of poetry with rhythmic syllables.

Tappa is a form of Indian semi-classical vocal music. It originated from the folk songs of the camel riders of Punjab and was developed as a form of classical music by Mian Ghulam Nabi Shori.

Thumri is a semi-classical vocal form said to have begun in Uttar Pradesh. The lyrics are typically in Brij Bhasha and are usually romantic.

Ghazal is an originally Persian form of Poetry. In India, Ghazal became the most common form of poetry in the  Urdu language.

Although Hindustani music clearly is focused on vocal performance, recently instrumental Hindustani music is very popular than vocal music especially outside South Asia.

Carnatic Music

Carnatic music is a system of music commonly associated with the southern part of  India especially. Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Carnatic music is completely melodic with improvised variations. Purandara Dasa is credited with having founded today’s Carnatic music. He is credited with having elevated Carnatic music from religious and devotional music into the realm of performing art. Carnatic music is usually performed by a small ensemble of musicians consist ing of a principal performer (vocalist ) a violin, mridanga ,and a tamburu. Today Carnatic music is presented by musicians in concerts or recordings either vocally or through instruments.

Important Indian Crafts


  •  Zari is an even thread traditionally made offine gold or silver used in traditional Indian, Pakistani and Persian garments and curtains, etc. Four types of zari are produced in India, namely, real zari, semi real zari, imitation zari and plastic zari.
  •  Real zari is made of silver and electroplated with gold, whereas semi real zari has a composition of copper coated with silver and gold electroplating. Surat is the home of zari industry in India. Other clusters producing zari are Bareilly, Varanasi, Agra, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Vadodara, Lathur, Jaipur, Barmer, etc.

Coir Twisting

  •  Coir is a natural, eco-friendly, waterproof and exceptionally tensile fibre extracted from the nuts of coconut palms.
  •  It is found in abundance and is used for manufacturing a wide range of eco-friendly toys, mats, brushes, mattresses, wall hangings, key rings, pen stands and other home decoratives.
  •  This craft is primarily produced in Odisha (Sakhigopal, Puri, Pipli, Bhubaneswar, Batamangala and Kendrapara). It is also produced in Kerala (Ernakulam).

Folk Painting

  •  Indian folk paintings are pictorial expressions of village painters which are marked by the subjects chosen from epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata, Indian Puranas as well as daily events. There are several vibrant folk painting types in India in different stages.
  •  The Gond tribe of Madhya Pradesh is engaged in floor and wall painting. Warli is a vivid expression of daily and social events of Warli tribe in Maharashtra. Rajasthan is famous for Phad painting done on cloth.
  •  Other types of paintings arc Pilhora painting in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, Madhubani painting of Bihar, Chitrakar painting of West Bengal, Patachitras in Odisha, and Kalamkar Srikalahasti, Andhra Pradesh.

Metal Ware

  •  The metal crafts of India display intricate craftsmanship and fine art in shaping gold, silver, brass, copper into exquisitely designed images, idols, jewellery, and utility items. Different categories of handicrafts that come under metal ware are brass metalware of Moradabad, metal bidri work and bell metal in Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, and so on.
  •  India is the largest brassware producer in the world. Major clusters of brassware are Moradabad, Murshidabad, Madurai, Salem, Cuttack and Haryana.
  •  Bidriware is a metal handicraft that originatedinBidar, Karnataka. The term
    ‘Bidriware’ originates from the township of Bidar, which is still the main centre of the unique metalware. It is a form of encrusted metalware, where one metal is inlaid on to another.
  •  Bidri products include a diverse range of objects including hukka bases, bowls, boxes, candle stands, trays, jewellery and buttons. It travelled from Iran to Ajmer in Rajasthan in the 13th century AD, and from there to Bijapur and flourished during the reign of the Deccan Sultanate.Itis also practised in Aurangabad district in the state of Maharashtra and Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh. The basic metal used for Bidri is the alloy of zinc and copper.

Filigree and Silverware

  •  Filigree is an extremely ancient technique dating back to 4000 years ago. Filigree work is performed on silver and involves significant precision and technicality. Two major clusters of silver filigree in India are Karimnagar in Andhra Pradesh and Cuttack in Odisha.
  •  The practice in Karimnagar is about two centuries old. However, it is also practised in Warangal in Andhra Pradesh. Key raw materials used are silver wire, tracing sheet, copper, charcoal, dilute sulphuric acid.

Textile Hand Embroidery

  •  In textile hand embroidery, embellishment is made on fabric with threads and sometimes with other materials.
  •  There are many popular embroidery clusters such as chikankari and zardozi of Lucknow, katha of Bengal pulkari of Punjab. kutchi embroidery of Gujarat and kashidakari of Kashmir. Zardozi has been traditionally prevalent in Lucknow and the six surrounding districts ofBarabanki, Unnao, Sitapur, Rae Bareli, Hardoi and Amethi.

Textile Hand Printing

  •  Hand-printed textiles is a craft in which cloth is dyed with hand or printed using shapes. Various types of hand printing practiced in India are block printing, batik, kalamkari (hand printing by pen) and bandhani (tie and die).
  •  Some of the important centres of this craft are in Hyderabad, Machalipattnam, Varanasi, Farrukabad, Bagh, Behrongarh, Indore, Mandsar, Burhanpur, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Kutch, Bagru, Chittroli, Sanganer, Jaipur and Jodhpur.
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3 years ago

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