In Tripura, bamboo forms the core of local tradition. As they say in the tribal villages of Tripura, "Once born, you cannot survive without bamboo". This is literally true because in certain tribes, the first time a person comes into contact with bamboo is immediately after birth, when his or her umbilical cord is cut with a bamboo blade. And bamboo accompanies him or her throughout his or her life. Bamboo's widespread availability made its role almost indispensable in the local lifestyle. The indigenous people of Tripura use the material for a variety of purposes ranging from fencing to housing, fans to furniture, baskets to bridges, food to medicine.

Basketry is an important craftsmanship of Tripura. The different baskets woven out of split bamboo in most rural Tripuri households include Jamatia firewood basket, riang carrying baskets, karawala tukri, turki, laii, sempa khari date basket, grain storage basket, dull and sudha - the traditional fish trap. Made entirely of outer splits, the Jamatia is used by the Jamatia tribe of Tripura for carrying firewood. The Riang is a closed-weave basket used by the Riang tribe of Tripura to carry grains and day to day marketing produce. Both men and women use this basket, though the sizes may vary in each case. The Tukri is a shallow basket used by the Bengalis of Tripura. The karawala tukri is a Tripura Bengali product which is identical in its structure to the tukri of Agartala with the exception that four strong handles are attached to this basket. It is made from split bamboo, while the handles are of split cane; it is used for carrying construction materials. The laii is a small bamboo basket used by Tripura Bengalis for washing rice. The sempa khari is a small basket shaped like a square-based prism and used by the Tripura Bengalis to store small objects. This basket is used to store dates and is carried suspended from the waistband. It is woven from coarse bamboo inner splits using the diagonal weaving method. It is shaped like a deep rectangular pouch open at the top. The grain storage basket in Tripura has a large square base with the sides tapering out to a large circular rim. These baskets are made by professional craftsmen and sold at weekly bazaars. They are plastered with a mixture of cow dung, clay and rice husk before being used to store grain.

Schemes involved in conservation

Tripura Bamboo Mission

Institution involved in conservation

Bamboo and Cane Development Institute (BCDI)

Contributed by Prarthana Borah, CEE

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Muslin Fabric

This gossamer light muslin fabric has found mention in the writings of many visitors to India, even as far back as the 3rd century B.C. A great deal of muslin was produced in and exported from Bengal. Dacca was the main region where cotton was cultivated due to the high humidity of the region, which prevented the delicate thread from breaking on contact with the air. The cotton spun was very white since the Brahmaputra and the Ganges Rivers have bleaching properties. The chikan workers in Bengal used this fine muslin for embroidery.

Stitches in Chikankari

Double-Star Earring, Peacock Feather's Eye, Sidhual, Makra, Mandarzi, Bulbulchashm, Tajmahal, Phooljali, Phanda, Dhoom, Gol, murri, Janjeera, Keel, Kangan, Bakhia, Dhania Patti, lambi Murri, Kapkapi, Karan Phool, Bijli, Ghaspatti, Rozan, Meharki, Kaj, Chameli, Chane ki Patti, Balda, Jora, Pachni, Tapchim Kauri, Hathkati and Daraj of various types.