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Uttarakhand is home to different communities, which are well known for their artisanship. One of the skills that the local artisans have nurtured is, Basketry. Basketry is an age old art of weaving a pliable material into useful artefacts such as containers, mats etc.
Ringaal is a rich quality of bamboo used for making baskets by the artisans of Kumaon and Garhwal region. The ghad Ringaal or kathin Ringaal grows at lower altitudes (3000-5000 feet) while the finer dev Ringaal grows at higher altitude.
The communities of New Tehri, Pauri, Chamoli, Garhwal Bhainsko, Pithoragarh, Bageshwar and Almora still continue to take up this craft as a profession. During winters, in the months of October to November, the farmers fetch the ringaal bamboo from the forest and weave the baskets, as there is not much work in the fields. when there is less work in the fields the farmers of the Kumaon and the Garhwal region opt for weaving baskets as an alternate form of livelihood.
The artisans use Ringal, a very durable quality bamboo because of its easy availability. The process of making the basket is interesting. The bamboo is stripped and the fiber is peeled to get a smooth surface. Once peeling is done the fibre is cut and soaked in water so that it retains moisture. This is done to make the bamboo flexible, so that weaving is done with ease. For making the basket, the base is prepared using the thick wide strips. Desired height is given by raising side walls with bamboo strips after which the rim is sandwiched by interlocking the borders with thick bamboo strips. Light and dark shaded bamboo are used to give the baskets an attractive appearance.
These beautiful hand crafted baskets not only find their applications as storage accessories but also as wall decors. Sadly with modernization, this craft of basketry has lost its relevance. The main reason behind the lost legacy of such craft skills are the economic uncertainties which the artisans face
Promoting this art has its own advantages. Reviving the craft will not only encourage these local artisans, but will also help to boost the state’s economy. Not only this, the bamboo baskets are environment friendly containers. They are the best alternative for plastic carriers. Even the wall decors made of Ringaal bamboo deserves applause as they are pocket friendly and has a raw beauty in it. bigTokari is all set to avail you with authentic Ringaal bamboo items made by the local artisans right at your doorstep.