Kalamkari is the art of painting cotton fabrics with a kalam i.e. pen, which is a sharp pointed pierced bamboo that regulates flow of colour on the fabric. Kalamkari has a glorious history. Kalamkari is a highly popular form of hand-painted or block-printed cotton textile and paintings. The name originates from Persian words qalam (pen) and kari (craftsmanship), and literally the word means drawing with a pen.
Andhra Pradesh is famous all over for this form of art. The major forms are Srikalahasthi in Chittoor district, and Machilipatnam Kalamkari created in Krishna district. The enhancing effulgence of colours and the characters that emerge on cotton fabric, help create a resplendent spread. Kalamkari art is unique in its use of colour as a medium to portray mythological characters in the form of paintings. The popularity of this exquisite form of paintings crossed the shores of the country during the 17th and 18th centuries. Kalahasti and Machilipatnam in Andhra Pradesh continue to be beehives of Kalamkari activity. Kalamkari colours are made from vegetable dyes. In addition to themes from the epics, Kalamkari leitmotifs comprise different forms of the lotus flower, the cartwheel, parrots, an interlacing pattern of leaves and flowers and many more.