Traveling through the entire North East India you will realize the importance their art and crafts has for the rest of the country and the world outside too. Since Meghalaya, the Abode of Clouds nestles among the Garo, Khasi and Jantia hills and the inhabitants are simple village folk they have an inborn skill in cane and bamboo works of art. With amazing feat they make cane baskets, undertake woodcarving, work on fabric and handlooms and excel in bamboo works too. Shopping in Meghalaya is an exhilarating experience since you would want to refurnish your home with all the exquisite pieces of artwork.
It is not just that cane and bamboo holds an important place in their handicrafts but textile and woodcarving are also very prevalent in the Garo hills. Carpet weaving, designing ornaments, making musical instruments and silk weaving are also great preoccupations of the tribal people of Meghalaya. But the most spectacular of all handicrafts are the pineapple fiber articles. Various articles like purses, bags and nets are woven from the fiber spun from the pineapple leaves.
Attractive cane baskets and sieves are made by Khasis. The Garos excel in bamboo handicrafts. Craft made from bamboo such as baskets and mat making are very common. Khok or thugis are popular baskets that are widely used by the locals. Meghum khoks, artistic baskets are made in the Garo Hills. They are used to store valuables as well as clothes. Women wear attractive large round hat composed of a circular bamboo frame with a thick brim covered with cloth. Mats, moorahs and Khasi umbrellas known as kurup are made also very popular.
While shopping in Meghalaya you will come across some interesting items with the ethnic flavor that may appeal to you. You can buy Baskets, Coiled Cane Containers, Large Storage Baskets, Rain Shield and Headgears, Winnowing Trays and Fans, Mud Shovel from Shillong, Shield made of bamboo splints, Khasi Bamboo Comb and Khasi Bamboo Pipes.
Textile of Meghalaya – The Garos besides agriculture consider weaving another means of livelihood. The Garos weave bedcovers, bed sheets, and tablecloths. Dakmanda is the cotton fabric that is worn from the waist till the knee. Cotton weaving is restricted to dalmandas while endi silk is woven in Sonidan. With the popularity of the Jainsen, a typical Meghalayan women’s wear local mulberry silk has also been introduced.
While shopping in Meghalaya frequent the shops in Police Bazar, Bara Bazar and Laitumkhrah. You can visit the Meghalaya Handicrafts, Khadi Gramodyog and Purbashree for handlooms and handicrafts in Shillong.