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Art and Craft

Since Mussoorie was established by the British as a haven for pleasure and gaiety, the art and craft of the region finds its existence either in the Jaunpur tribal belt or excels as creativity of its contemporary settlers.

Bamboo (Ringaal) and Cane Work
The outskirts of Mussoorieare rich with the growth of a variety of a thin Bamboo which is locallyknown as Ringaal. Ringaal, though scarce now, is used as a multifaceted object of household use. However, shrubs like Thunlo and Kujjo has replaced Ringaalas an easily found substitute. One of the few survivingsurviving craftsmen in Mussoorie is an ageing man named Gorkhi who makes big casks and small baskets using just one specially designed sickle. Presently the old man is making baskets for the City Board’s cleaning crew.

Weaving
The people of the nearby villages soak the twigs of the Bhimal tree in the streams for a few days to soften and then peel out the bark as fine fibres out of which they weave netted baskets (known as Kurna locally) and very strong yet very soft ropes. Such products can be seen in routine use in the village a few kilometres past the famous Kempty Falls.

Rugs and Woollens
The goats and sheep of the region are richly haired and are seasonally trimmed to attain fine quality fur. The hair of the goats are weaved to made durable thick and warm blankets and cushions while the wool of the sheep is weaved as very warm and quality jackets, head gears, mufflers and even very attractive lowers in some of the higher reaches. The Bhotia womenfolk of Mussoorie also weave some very colourful and very fancy woollens which are available in small shops on the Mall Road and the Landour area. Some Tibetan families residing in the Happy Valley area weave genuine traditional rugs and carpets.

The legends of Landour
The Landour area is lined with shops where the skilled craftsmen mould silver into beautiful pahaari jewellery on order. These jewellers also excel in replicating any given design. The art has been passed on to them through generations with skilful excellence. The numerous handmade boots and sandals shops is where you can see Sir Tom Alter, Naseeruddin Shah, Sachin Tendulkar, Arshad Warsi and the likes selecting leather for the boots which are stitched into stylish and very durable fashion accessory. A trip to Landour would be truly rewarding.

Driftwood sculpting
BiplabSarkaar hailed from Siliguri in West Bengal as one of the pioneer rafters on the Ganga at Rishikesh and fell in love with the divine river. An avid artist, Biplab found his destiny in the holy river and began collecting driftwood and other objects that flowed with Ganga. He chisels weird pieces of wood and polishes it into amazing abstract shapes some of which he inlays with colourful crushed stones. Biplab also excels in making stunning Raakhi, wristbands, necklaces and ear hangings using rudraaksh, miniature coconuts and exotic colourful beads all attained from and sanctified in the holy Ganga. Biplab has made Mussoorie his home and switches Between Mussoorie and Rishikesh.

Besides Biplab’s creations, intricate woodwork, notably the walking sticks, is available at shops on the Mall Road and at Gunhill.