Archaeologists have found remains of wood carvings in India dating back to the 3rd and 4th century—clearly carving has been a permanent fixture of Indian history. Generations ago, Kashmiri artisans, known for their skills in carpentry and woodcarving migrated south, setting up workshops in Saharanpur.
Today, narrow alleys in Saharanpur, a small city outside of Delhi, lead you to busy workshops where artisans saw, sand, cut and carve wood into frames, boxes, bowls, and other decorative items. Sitting on terraces overlooking these alleys, they transform trees into works of art.
materials and process
Mango and sheesham, more commonly known as rosewood, are the two most popular types of wood for artisans. Sheesham is stronger and harder; mango is softer and more easily carved. Trees are planted specifically to be harvested for this purpose. Moisture content is always a challenge in a climate that experiences monsoons. Drying chambers and moisture meters are provided for artisan groups.