Sikkim, from its beautiful high ranges of the Eastern Himalayas- offers visitors a huge array of hand-crafted souvenirs that bear the mark of centuries-old culture and traditions. The best part about this beautiful state is its well-preserved culture and traditions that they have well-maintained for years. The handicrafts prepared by artists have made Sikkim famous for their talents. The government of Sikkim has put its best efforts to bring out the traditions and culture into the light. This is the reason why any tourist visiting Sikkim won’t leave without buying some Sikkimese handicrafts and handicrafts in Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim.
1. HANDLOOM WEAVING
The tradition of handloom work in Sikkim is very old, and practised by almost all the ladies of sikkim and Lepchas women play a very important role in beautiful handloom weaving, they started to learn weaving from a very young age and gain exceptional skills in weaving. The most used colors are white, black, red, yellow, and green. From the variety of fabric items are made in sikkim, like shoulder bags, handbags, Lepcha traditional dresses, napkins, cushion covers, chair and table mats.
2. THANGKA PAINTINGS
The ‘thangkas’ are the religious scrolls that are hung in monasteries and houses of Buddhists. These paintings are the main life sketches and paintings of Goddess Doma(Tara), Lord Buddha, or Guru Padmasambhava. The ‘thangkas’ are painted by religious artists known as “Lharpis”.
Stone color, vegetable dyes, and two primary colors like red and yellow are used in making ‘thangka’ paintings. These two primary colors show the difference between fire and life, between material and immaterial.
3. WOOD CARVING
It is an ancient art form of both the Lechpas and the Bhutias of Sikkim. The raw material used in this craft is wood. For wood carving, a piece of wood is cut into the desired shape and size, and after the seasoning process, fine chisels and tools are used to carved pieces are then assembled together and then painted.
4. WOODEN MASK MAKING
Mask making is another ancient handicraft in Sikkim. Wood masks depict serene, partly angry anomaly expressions. These masks are made out of the tough light wood of Abies spectabilis Mirb. The surface of the mask is smoothened using sandpaper, after that synthetic painting is done. Lucky signs are also made from wood.
5. BAMBOO AND CANE CRAFT
Bamboo and cane craft is deeply embedded in the traditional culture of all three-ethnic groups of Sikkim. Various kinds of beautiful items are created from cane and bamboo, such as clothes, “Lepcha” hats, fruit and vegetable baskets, mugs, vases, mats, etc.
Sikkim is believed to be the most favorite tourist destination for tourists from Indian and the overall world. The traditional handicrafts and handloom products of Sikkim are very popular among travelers and handicrafts admirers. The way of using old age tools like wooden hammer, scissors, knife, etc. should be replaced by modern world tools. To develop and promote handicrafts, Sikkim Government has introduced some institutes of cottage industries helping these handicrafts to different parts of the world.