Traditional Copper Craft of Uttarakhand

Posted by samaun The Himalayan Treasure on

Tamtas- Traditional Copper craftsmen of Uttarakhand

The earliest use of copper in Uttarakhand can be traced back to the 16th century when the Chandravanshi clan of Rajasthan came to the Champawat region of the Himalayas – the area which is presently known as Uttarakhand. The coppersmiths of Rajasthan were a part of the royal retinue who were brought to this new region to mint the coins for the royal treasury. A number of these coppersmiths slowly migrated to other regions of Uttarakhand such as Almora and Bageshwar where they continued their craft. With the passage of time, the Chandravanshi Kings were ousted and the Gorkhas assumed power. Around 1816, the British imposed a ban on mining copper in the hilly states which is why the tamta craftsmen resorted to using the scrap copper by melting them and moulding them to create regular household articles.

The coppersmiths started to move to other regions like Pithoragarh and Almora where it was easier to procure the raw materials for creating copperwares. The craft of copperwares is prominent in three districts of the state- Pithoragarh, Bageshwar and Almora where the local craftsmen still produce a variety of beautiful copper artefacts. Tamtas is the name given to the copper craftsmen in the Kumaon region. In the old city of Almora one can still see vestiges of the Tamta Mohalla which used to be and still is the dwelling place of the coppersmiths. Even today some of the most gifted coppersmiths of Almora work in the famous Tamta Mohalla.

Another important region which produces loads of beautiful copperware is the Kharai Patti region of Bageshwar. As already mentioned above, the British government banned the mining of copper in this region which led to a setback in the early 19th century. However, these days Kharai Patti which is under Dewaldhar block is home to six villages all of which are known for their super skilled copper craftsmen. These six villages in Dewaldhar block are Chogaon Chinna, Kharak Tamta, Boregaon, Binsar, Uderkhani and Gairsakida.

Because of the stiff competition from industrial products, the traditional coppersmiths are facing a huge challenge. This is precisely why the Uttarakhand government has been trying to take steps towards the promotion and revival of the traditional art of the coppersmiths. These days the tamtas of Uttarakhand are known to produce mostly decorative items which are remarkable for their unique and traditional look and finish.

Copper craft of uttarakhand

The miniature of the local folk music instruments is much favoured by the visitors. Turhi also spelled as Turturi or Turahi is a traditional musical instrument made from brass and copper which comes in the shape of a coil. Mostly played during social gatherings, the Turhi is handcrafted by the master Coppersmiths of Kumaon region. The Ransingha is an aero phonic traditional musical instrument which is made by the Tamtas of Garhwal and Kumaon. Bhankoras are yet another traditional musical instrument which is played in the temples during prayer time. You will be able to buy miniature copper Bhankoras which are handmade by the artisans of Bageshwar.

 

 Other popular copper items which you can find in Uttarakhand would include handcrafted Copper glasses, copper Diyas, Copper lotas, Copper jugs and more. You will also be able to find beautiful little pieces of decorative copper fridge magnets which are available at a very affordable price. Decorative copper plates, glasses and trays are also not so hard to come across. So if you are looking forward to taking back something unique from the holy land of Uttarakhand, you can always consider investing in a number of copper artifacts which are remarkable for their beauty and workmanship.

Collection of Uttarakhand Copper Craft


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