Kondagaon paryata
Jhitku Mitki Kondgaaon

Bell Metal Craft

Brief History: The bell metal craft, also known as Dhokra art, holds a rich history deeply rooted in the cultural fabric of India, dating back over 4600 years to the ancient Indus Valley civilization. However, its more contemporary narrative unfolds in the region around Kondagaon. It was perhaps 500 Years old according legends, Legend has it that the indigenous bell metal craft owes its origins to a visionary artisan named Guddan. Living amidst the forests, Guddan was an experimental soul, constantly exploring the natural world around him. One fateful day, while near a beehive and a termite mound, he stumbled upon a remarkable discovery. Guddan observed that when beeswax mixed with the soil from termite mounds solidified, it took on intriguing shapes and forms.

Eager to share his findings, Guddan showcased this phenomenon to his fellow villagers. Their awe and reverence transformed Guddan’s discovery into a divine revelation. They expressed a desire to create idols for worship using this newfound technique. With dedication and perseverance, Guddan honed his skills, experimenting with various materials. He eventually succeeded in crafting idols using aluminum, owing to its abundance and malleability. Over time, the artisans of the region refined their techniques, incorporating brass and copper into their craft. This marked the genesis of the indigenous bell metal craft in the Kondagaon and Bastar region. Today, this art form thrives, with over 150 artisans dedicated to its preservation and innovation. Moreover, the legacy of creativity extends beyond bell metal craft to encompass a diverse array of artistic expressions, including wrought iron craft, terracotta craft, Kaori art, bamboo art, woodcraft, and handloom craft. The collective creativity and ingenuity of these 100’s of artisans have earned the region the fitting epithet of “Shilpnagri,” or the city of artisans. Through their meticulous craftsmanship, they continue to weave threads of tradition and innovation, ensuring the timeless relevance of India’s rich artistic heritage.


Process: –

The process of Kondagaon bell metal dhokra casting is characterized by its distinctive approach, encompassing 12 distinct stages, specialized raw materials, and locally crafted tools, often created by the artisans themselves. Below, we outline the mentioned process:

Stage Sub Stage Raw Materia Tools Description
1.Modelling  Designing Inspiration Artists often draw inspiration from various sources such as nature, culture, personal experiences, art history, or current trends.
2. Moulding 1. Preparing vague model and coating it with first layer: Black Soil ‘aari mitti or Chikti mitti’, Rice Husk ‘Bhoosa/Bhoosi’ Locally known as “chikti mitti,” black soil from the fields is mixed with rice husk at a ratio of 1:100. Water is added to create a soft, pliable dough, which is then used to shape the desired form before being left to dry in the sun.
2. Providing second layer: River side soil ‘rui mitti’, cow dung and coal.  Once the model is dry, sticky riverside soil (locally called rui mitti) is prepared by adding water, powdered dung, or wood coal, and mixing it into a smooth dough. This mixture is then applied to the model and left to dry in the sun. The proportions typically range from 85-90% soil to 10-15% cow dung or wood coal.
3. Shaping and filling: Metal Files Once the model hardens, it’s filed into with metal files to bring into a proper shape. Fallen dry soil pieces are collected, softened into a paste with water, applied to the model, and left to dry in the sun.
4. Leaf paste: Country bean creeper leaves “Semi/Sem Leaf”, Sandpaper

Once the model is fully dry, it’s wiped clean via hands or sandpaper to remove dust and gravel, then coated with crushed country bean creeper leaves “Semi/Sem Leaf” to prevent soil adherence, and sun-dried again.
5. Preparing wax: Bee Wax, Water Cotton cloth Once the model is fully dry, raw bee wax is melted in a pot over fire. The molten wax is then filtered through coarse cotton cloth into another clay pot filled with water. As it cools, the wax solidifies on the water’s surface. After setting, the wax is removed from the pot and shaken to separate it from the water.
6. Making wax strings:

Standing press ‘pichki’, Metal Sieves Prepared wax is softened in the sun and then pressed through a hand-held or standing press, to create wax strings. Metal sieves are inserted into the press based on the desired thickness of the strings.
7. Wrapping of strings: Once the wax strings are prepared, they are tightly wrapped around the dry model, which has been treated with sem-leaf liquid to attain a green hue. Additional designs can be added using plain wax. After decorating, channels are created at suitable locations on the model’s bottom for pouring liquid metal during casting, with wax pins inserted into them.
3. Dewaxing 8. Layering with riverside soil and powdered wood coal: River side soil, Coal and water

Sifted powdered sticky riverside soil and wood coal are separately mixed in proportions of 90-85% and 10-15% respectively. Water is added, kneaded into a dough-like consistency, and then applied over the model.
9. Layering with unrefined sticky riverside soil: River side soil and water

Unprocessed sticky riverside soil is combined with water and applied as another layer onto the dry model, ensuring clear channels for the metal are maintained.
10. Layering from termite soil over the model: Termitarium Soil

Termitarium soil is gathered, powdered, and kneaded into a smooth mixture, then applied to the model and left to dry. Larger wax channels ‘resembling an inverted funnel’ are added for metal pouring, filled with the soil mixture, and dried., and left to dry.
4. Casting 11. Furnace for firing and casting: Fire Wood,  Bell Metal (Brass and Bronze) Furnance, Fire, Fan,  A round pit, one foot deep with a 2 or 2.5 feet diameter, is dug on dry land. The furnace, which can be square or rectangular, has a wooden hollow pipe covered with wet termite hill (pola) or angled pipe inside. Once the soil dries, wood coals are spread at the bottom and lit. The model is placed over it for firing, surrounded by wood and lit. Wooden sticks support the model to keep it upright, while the pipe maintains steady fire. Another furnace melts metal pieces (200 gm bronze to 800 gm brass) in a crucible surrounded by lit wood coals, with the pipe blowing to maintain high temperatures (1000-1200°C). Once the model glows red, indicating readiness, it’s lifted gently and placed near the crucible. The model is inverted, allowing liquid metal to flow into channels, replacing wax. After pouring, it’s left to cool.
5. Finishing 12. Cooling and finishing: –  Wooden Mallet, Wired Brush The model cools for 1-6 hours, varying by size. If not sufficiently cooled, it’s lightly sprinkled with water. Once cooled, the outer mold is gently broken with a wooden mallet to reveal the original piece. Wire brushes remove any remaining dried soil, and the piece is gently filed and cleaned.

Award Winners of National/International Prestige

Award Winners of National/International Prestige
Name Awards Notable Exhibitions
Dr. Jaidev Baghel
  1. National Award in 1977
  2. Shikhar Samman from former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1982
  3. Doctorate from the Ravi Shankar Shukla University in Raipur in 2003.
Exhibitions across India, and in Moscow, Heidelberg, Stuttgart, London, Oxford, Scotland, Rome, Paris, Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Australia, the US, and Switzerland.
Shri. Rajendra Baghel 
  1. National Award in 1996
  2. Kala Nidhi Award in 2003.
Participated in exhibitions held in India and the abroad (USA, Russia, England, Scotland, etc.).
Shri. Panchuram Sagar
  1. National Award in 1999
  2. State Award in 1999
Internationally, artigiano in fiera, Milan, Italy in 2015EPCH 2005 in Martinique 2005. 

Product List

Download Link:- 
1 Brochure of all art forms: View
2 Tribal Shringar Jewellry Brochure View

Action Plan Report

Action Plan Summary
Name: – KARMA- Kondanar Artisans & Rural Market Augmentation.

A project proposal to strengthen artefact business through tourism & market linkage and upskilling.

Project Cost 3.4 Cr, 1Cr Disbursed by the District.

Since the Indus Valley Civilization India has rich past in various art forms. Bell-metal craft is one of the art forms which has been traditionally performed by Indian artisans for a long time. Similarly, Chhattisgarh state has a rich culture and history that is being saved by various tribal communities of the state. However, artists of various art forms are forced to leave this golden past due to low income.  

“The nation which promotes its artisans,

thereby saves its history & culture,

thus celebrates its identity”

Kondagaon is a young district formed in 2012, known as “Shilp-City” (i.e., Craft city) of the Chhattisgarh state, owing to its rich indigenous crafts produced in this area. Indigenous Bell-metal craft, iron craft, terracotta works, bamboo craft, and wood crafts are in its bucket of specialty in the artisans’ world. Since it is mainly produced by the indigenous tribal people from hundreds of years in this area, it has a unique identity in the folk culture of our country. In this competitive market, the art form is slowly fading away since it does not generate enough income sources for its survival. There are approximately 800 “shilpis” (artisans) registered with the government whose annual turnover is approximately 25 to 30 lakhs Rupees. And the profit margin is near about 40%. Which gives them a per capita income of barely 120 Rupees per person per month. Even the most renowned artist is not able to earn more than 20,000 to 30,000 rupees in a month. So, is it that there is a lack of expertise in the art form? No, it is the lack of expertise in sales and marketing along with the lack of enough support from the government.

The indigenous people are by nature shy and lack the soft skills for sailing their products. With a small effort, these people can do wonders.

The district is also known as the entrance gate of the Bastar division which has a huge potential for tourists in near future. With proper skill training in market linkage, soft skills, and infrastructural support, the Kondagaon artisan market can grow multifold and generate enough livelihood and bring glory to Indian identity.

Project Overview:  The proposed project is aiming to resolve the issues from raw material procurement to final stage of sales and marketing of the artifacts. It recognizes the 5-stage problem in the current scenario, and those stages are as follows: –

1. The difficult process of raw material procurement by the bell-metal & Iron craft artisans.

2. Lack of product diversification, identification key salable SKUs in line with national and international industry norms.

3. Lack of finishing and packaging of the products.

4. Scarcity of market linkage & cadre for sales and marketing of the artifacts.

5. Absence of focused approach for short- and long-term sales growth of the artefacts.

Key Objectives:  1. Linking artisan business with tourism circuit in order to increase the footprints of Kondagaon arts and increase its salability. 

2. Improvement in overall earnings of the artisans through the increase in sales growth of these artifacts up to a sustainable level.

3. Safeguarding and conservation of the cultural & traditional heritage of the local indigenous people.

4. Provide handholding and professional training to the tribal & associated artisans in sales and marketing for short and long-term sales growth.

5. Opening different channels for the youth who are already professionally trained in these art forms from the premium design institutes of the country.

6. Creation of strong forward and backward market linkages of these traditional products in B2B and B2C channels.

7. Development of existing “shilpgram” infrastructure into a recreational and educational hub of the district. Which will eventually help in tourism development as well growth in income of the associated artisans and open up new avenues for earnings.

Details of Nodal Officer/Team


State Nodal Chhattisgarh Handicraft Development Board, H.O. RAIPUR, 

Ph. +91-771-4016500, Fax – 4016500,


District Nodal Name: Anirudh Koche, Manager, Rural Industries Department Shabri Emporium/Craft City kondagaon


Contact: +91-9826388308

Address: Craft City/Shilp gram, Chikhalputti, NH-30, Kondagaon, Chhattisgarh, Pin no. 494226

Jhitku Mitki Artisan Producer Company ltd. (An Initiative of District Administration) CEO: Post vacant

Material Designer: +91-9165514258

Supply Chain Manager: +91-9993259532

Address: Craft City/Shilp gram, Chikhalputti, NH-30, Kondagaon, Chhattisgarh, Pin no. 494226

Dedicated helpline or call Centre /support desk for ODOP  Support Team Contact/Address
1 Sampark Kendra 07786-299028
2 Project Management Unit, Kondagaon Room. No. 34, DMFT-PMU, District Collectorate, Kondagaon (C.G)
3 Craft City Kondagaon +91-9826388308

List of Activities Undertaken by District

  1. Formation of Jhitku Mitki Artisan Producer Organization.
  2. Working Capital of Rs. 1 crore granted to the Company for initiation.
  3. Branding of the Artisan Company and Shringaar Tribal Jewellery.
  4. Integration of Artisan Villages in the Tourist Circuit of Kondagaon (Slogan- Kondanaar Tourism: A blend of Nature and Culture).
  5. Hiring of a Technical Support Agency (Maa Sharada Lok Kala Manch) for designing and marketing support to the artisans.
  6. Listing of artifacts on Amazon under Amazon Kaarigar.
  7. Establishment of  Rural Industrial Parks in 3 artisan villages of Bastar Art (Karanpur Dhokra Art, Choterajpur-Wrought Iron Art, and Jugani Kalar- Bamboo Art)
  8. Repository of artisans created including mapping of individual artisan’s skill level and product speciality.
  9. Construction and allocation of 6 Shops to artisans in Shilp Nagri campus.
  10. Construction of working sheds cum Live demonstration sites for Bell Metal, Wrought Iron & Terracotta art in Shilp Nagri, Kondagaon.

ODOP Sensitization Workshops

S.No. Date Details Picture/Document

List of mentors registered with District to provide mentorship to beneficiaries

S.No. Name Department Mentorship
1 Mr. Anirudh Koche Manager, Rural Industries Department Enrollment in schemes, Purchase and sell of Produce
2 Mr. Xavier Toppo General Manager – District Industries Chamber MSME/Business registration and guidance. 
3 Mr. Krishna Sinku Lead Bank Manager, Kondagaon Loan Availability. 
4 Mr. Puneshwar Verma APO, Livelihood College, Dongripara Kondagaon Skill Development, Upskilling, Recognition of prior learning and Livelihood. 

Details by Account Holder of all transactions(sales)

Mentorship support available with clearly laid out procedures

Funding support available, with clearly laid out procedures to avail the same.

Details of rules, regulations, Acts, Govt Schemes introduced or amended to propel the ODOP initiative in the district. Rules/Regulations/Acts/Schemes Link
1 Memorandum of Association, JMAPCL Link

Details of Quality Assurance Labs/Certification Labs/Processing Units/Quality Infrastructure with Contact Details.

Lab Setup in process

Details of departments providing institutional support to beneficiaries availing support under ODOP initiative:

S.No Department Contact Email ID
1 Manager, Rural Industries Department/Craft City +91-9826388308
2 General Manager – District Industries Chamber +91-9301341840
3 Lead Bank Manager, Kondagaon +91-9644062220
4 APO, Livelihood College +91-7000433319