India, a land of several ethnic identities is known for its diverse cultures and customs, representing a synthesis of different groups. The nomadic tribe or the Banjara are believed to be the descendants of the gypsies of Europe thousands of years ago whosubsequently settled in the desert areas of Rajasthan. They are considered to be among the most colourful tribes in India owing to their colourful dresses and jewelry. This nomadic group of Banjara practise the craft of Banjara tribal embroidery as well as mirror work.
Originated from the Northern part of India, the popular tribe of Banjaras moved towards the Deccan Plateau in South India in 17th century during the reign of Aurangzeb, a Mughal Emperor. They are now widely spread over Deccan Plateau, and they live in small villages which are known locally as “tandas”. Fine clothes and tribal jewellery lends beauty for the Banjara women who wear their cherished jewellery in all its finery. Banjara women wear colourful ghaghras, cholis, and odnis with bold mirrors and appliqué work. Banjara Embroidery and Needle works are made extensively by the nomads of Telangana.
The colourful and rustic lifestyle of Banjaras are displayed in the form of high-spirited clothes.The intricate embroidery done through this art form is marked by many geometrical combinations like diamonds, squares, and triangles. The colorful threads used in the embroidery are largely symbolic of the vibrant life style of Banjaras. For embellishing an article, they also employ beads, shells, and mirrors. The sunlight which is reflected through the colourful mirror accentuates the splendid beauty of this work. Mirrors are used widely in Banjara Embroidery marking a distinctive feature. A cornucopia of designs as well as figures are created with the help of simple stitches such as herringbone, chain stitch, as well as short and long stitch.
Banjara Embroidery is known for its exclusive appeal in terms of the colors and the use of other articles like coins, woolentassles, cowrie shells, beads, mirror, cotton and others as embellishments. The textiles that are embroidered by Banjaras simply looks stunning. The embroidery is done mostly on blue or a brown colored cloth which are quilted. The cotton or woolen thread is used for creating intricate embroidery. This ensures that the color contrast looks prominent. Some of the quilting stitches are used for the purpose of patterning wherein the cotton threads are used for creating many unusual geometric patterns
The vibrant fabrics made by them is characterized by some of the vibrant colours, elaborate embroidery and exquisite mirror work. The different set of products made through Banjara embroidery includes bags, purses, belts, cushion and pillow covers, quilts and bed spread, apart from skirts, salwar suits, blouses etc for women. The embroidery also makes use of silver, cowries, brass, animal bones and gold. The products are popular and admired by customers all over the world. Banjara embroidery is considered delightful and the products are sold widely in the art and craft market. Telangana state occupies a prominent place with varieties of Banjara art and embroidery made by the nomadic tribes of the region.