Sankheda is a small village located about 45 km’s South-East of Vadodara. This is a usual Gujarati / Indian village but for the fact that many families here produce a certain type of wooden furniture that is made only here. Of course, it goes by the name Sankheda woodwork – and its distinction lies in the use of lacquer for giving it a shiny finish. Well, lacquer is no longer used. And has been commonly replaced by the enamel paint that is not only easier to work with but has given the artisans here a larger range of colors and color combinations to work on.
We drove from Vadodara to Sankheda via Dabhoi to meet these artisans. As we walked in the narrow streets, we saw a lot of silver shops with typical tribal silver jewelry. When asked we were directed into another lane where we could find furniture shops and workshops. It being a Dussehra day, not many shops were open. But we could spot a shop being managed by two young women. They showed us various wooden items that are made here – right from small chowkis to dandiya sticks to temples and cradles. And of course, the Jhoola that is so much synonymous with the Gujarati interiors.
After a few requests, one of these women took me to see their workshop. I saw the Sangwon wood pieces that are given shape using a machine before being painted with a base color. Melamine painting in the final base color on which designs are then hand painted. Most designs are floral or geometric patterns. Original practice was to finish the products using lacquer that used to give a chocolate color. But now this color is achieved through polishing only. We were told the old process was very tedious and time taking. And now almost no one does it anymore. Later when we walked around this artisan street, we could see the half-carved wooden pieces dominating the exteriors of many houses.
Popular woodwork of Sankheda
Popular items of woodwork include Bajod or low stools for Puja, Bangle stands, dandiya sticks, temples, sofa sets, Jhoolas etc. This small village also exports its furniture nationally as well as internationally. If you have visited Gujarati homes, in all probability you would have seen a glimpse of Sankheda work.
It is one of the many small centers of excellence that India has and not many of us know about.
Recommend you to read following travel blog on Places to visit in Gujarat.