The beautiful Andretta Pottery Studio in Palampur

The Andretta Pottery Studio and Craft society is a beautiful place to visit in Himachal Pradesh. It is located in the heart of the artist village, Andretta. And we visited here on our trip to Palampur, Kangra Valley, India.

Andretta Pottery

Some beautiful pottery at display inside Andretta Pottery

History of Andretta Pottery Studio

Gurucharan Singh who started the wave

The Andretta Pottery Studio and Craft Society date back to as far as 1985. The love for pottery that led to the creation of Andretta Studio was a result of much earlier efforts of Late Sardar Gurucharan Singh. Actually, this love found roots by accident! When he went to help his father’s friend in his brick making business at Delhi Potteries. So fascinated was he seeing the pottery making there, that he decided to pursue it. Later, he went on to study ceramics in Tokyo. Then he returned to India. And founded the All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society (AIFACS) in 1927. Post this, he was unstoppable in spreading the love for pottery.

He was head of the Government Pottery Institute at Ambala for a long time. Afterwards, he started the Delhi Blue Art Pottery. Which is now known as the Delhi Blue Pottery Trust. The fine quality tiles produced here were used in many public buildings in India. In 1974 Gurucharan Singh got awarded the Sahitya Kala Parishad’s best artist award. Followed by the Padmashree in 1991, one of the most honorable awards in India. He also authored Pottery in India, published in 1979.

Sardar Mansimran Singh who took it forward

Mansimran Singh, fondly known as ‘mini’ is Gurucharan Singh’s son. He studied pottery with his father. And then joined his father in the business of pottery making. He went to UK and that is where he met his future wife Mary, also a potter. Later, they moved together to Palampur in Himachal Pradesh where they started the Andretta Pottery Studio.

Pottery course at Andretta Pottery

At Andretta Pottery, Mini and Mary run a pottery course which is 3 months long. It is an introductory course. The course fee includes food, lodging and education. Through this 3 months long pottery course, one can get hands on pottery experience and learn how well he or she fits into the pottery world. Then, he or she can decide whether to continue further in this line. Those passionate about pottery love the course run by Andretta Pottery. And most of them continue their association with Andretta Pottery far beyond the initial 3 months. Like Shubham who is currently a passionate member of the Andretta Pottery studio . He has been working on the premises for more than 2 years now and is so passionate about his work.

Andretta Pottery

The entrance to Andretta Pottery

What we have heard from the students is that, not only is the course interesting, but so is the day to day life at Andretta Pottery. Given that it is situated in the picturesque settings of the Kangra Valley. So, the students make the most of living in the beautiful Himalayan ranges with frequent trekking, bonfires, campings and other activities that make life and learning so much more fun and enjoyable.

A tour through Andretta Pottery Studio

As soon as our plan for visiting Palampur, Himachal Pradesh was formalized, we had started looking for places to visit and things to do in Palampur. And the list goes incomplete without a visit to Andretta Pottery Studio. Plus, being an artist at heart, I was particularly interested in visiting this beautiful art heaven. Finally, we reached the Lodge at Wah Tea Estate in Palampur on the third day of our visit. The manager, Nikhita, talked to Shubham and arranged for our meetup inside the Andretta Pottery Studio. Since it was a sunday, there were no classes today.

Reaching Andretta Pottery

We soon headed on our four wheeler, into the village of Palampur, to reach out to Andretta Pottery. The roads got narrower. I was somehow expecting a big banner or something to indicate the Pottery Studio Premises. But there was nothing. Actually, we crossed the studio and went ahead. And at the end of the road, we asked a small shop owner for the directions to Andretta Pottery. Surprisingly, he pointed back in the direction we had come from. Nevertheless, we followed it and started back.

This time, we were more cautious, looking for small signs to indicate the presence of Andretta Pottery Studio. Soon, we saw a small blue board in a corner indicating the pottery studio. What we saw was a humble entrance gate, made of bamboo. And a small village house kind of structure inside. We were still not sure that we had reached the right spot. However, we decided to explore

Inside Andretta Pottery

We entered inside. There was a small passageway, with an open verandah kind of space at one side. Here we could see some pottery wheels and a lot of pottery in the making – at different stages. This was definitely the pottery studio. So humble, yet so beautiful. Splattered with clay and mud here and there. Nothing, but the beautiful creations placed in the studio caught our immediate attention. There was no need of any other aesthetic decor element here.

Andretta Pottery

The studio at Andretta Pottery

Soon, we were greeted by Shubham, who came from inside one of the rooms at the end of the passageway. He was wearing a long apron and holding his pottery clay and some other tools in his hands. Apparently, in spite of  this being a Sunday, he was at work. And why not. That is the passion that drives the students, workers and every one else at Andretta Pottery Studio. Soon, we were immersed in a talk with Shubham. While his skilled hands went on coloring some bowls that he had made earlier. We went on talking, but our eyes were fixed on how skillfully he was doing the pottery.

Pottery making at Andretta Pottery

As Shubham worked on his pottery, he went on explaining to us how the pots are made from clay. How it takes a lot of patience and preciseness to first shape any piece of clay. And then it is left to dry. Then it is baked. Then the glazing layer is done on it. And again, it dries for quiet a few days. And finally the patterns are formed on it. Thus, emerges the beautiful pieces of pottery.

Pottery hands on for guests at Andretta Pottery

Next, looking at Shubham making the pottery, we couldn’t hold ourselves from trying a hands on. The good news is that there is a hands on pottery making session for guests at Andretta Pottery. With a minimal charge of INR 150/- per head, you can get the control of the pottery wheel. And the host will assist you in creating a beautiful piece of art with your very own hands. We also tried our hands on the pottery and made a beautiful bowl with the help of Shubham. It was quiet an experience!!

Andretta Pottery

Getting some pottery tips from Shubham at Andretta

Terracotta Museum  at Andretta pottery

There is a Terracotta Museum at the premises of Andretta pottery. This museum holds beautiful works of terracotta and clay. Alas, it was closed on Sunday. However much we wanted, we couldn’t visit the interiors of the museum. But Palampur and Andretta Pottery fascinated us so much, we are sure we are going to return one day. And then we will explore it’s length and breadth.

Pottery shop at Andretta Pottery

Andretta Pottery campus not only has the studio where the students are taught. But it also has a manufacturing unit right there. And the unique and beautiful pieces of pottery that are made here travel through length and breadth of India to different retail chains that sell them. It was interesting to see many and different pieces of work inside a store room that were ready to get the finishing touch and then head out to decorate the world.

Andretta Pottery

The room where manufactured products are stored

Apart from that, there are a number of completed pieces of the fine art available right at the premises of Andretta Pottery in a small room or shop. The prices of products are mentioned. And as a guest, you are free to make your choice and buy a few pieces. Which I must tell you, is going to be extremely difficult. Because each piece here has a unique pattern and a unique design. Colors also vary. And it is so difficult to contain yourself with one or just a few. There are plates, bowls, serving bowls, show pieces, wall hangings and many other things available in this small shop.

We finally made our choice and picked a beautiful serving tray for our home. Thereafter, we headed back, bidding good bye to Shubham and thanking him for the wonderful time that we spend at Andretta Pottery Studio. Particularly looking at the wonderful pieces. And trying the hands on pottery.

Tips on visiting Andretta Pottery

  • Keep looking for the sign board, as you approach Andretta Pottery. Since the board is small, you might miss it.
  • However, everyone in and around the village seems to know the address, so, you can ask anyone in case you face difficulty.
  • Visit on a weekday. Then you get to see how students are taught etc.
  • Visiting on a weekday, you can visit the terracotta museum as well.
  • You must try your hands on pottery if you are visiting Andretta Pottery. It is a fantastic experience.
  • It takes 1-2 hours to visit Andretta Pottery. You can plan any time during the day.

You might as well like

Our beautiful stay at the Lodge at Wah, Palampur

An amazing stay at Norwood Green , Palampur

A complete guide to Palampur, a beautiful town in Kangra Valley of Himalayas

Andretta Pottery Studio and Craft Society in Andretta Village, Palampur, India. Run by Sardar Mansimran Singh (Mini). The studio gives courses in pottery making

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We would love to hear back

  1. I have heard a lot about Andretta Pottery Studio in Palampur. Though I did visit Palampur last year but couldn’t make it to this place. Your article has reminded me again to visit it soon. The history is enriching.

  2. Definitely a unique experience to add when traveling. I am not sure when I would be in Palampur, but Andretta pottery sounds like a nice place to get in touch with the locals and have an authentic feel of the place. it doesn’t seem bad as well to take home some of the things I would made by my own hand! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Beautiful place. It’s so good to see the masters at work, being pottery, painting or wood carving. In this particular case, would also loved to put my hands to work and try it for myself. It was such a shame that you weren’t able to visit the Terracotta Museum. A good excuse to return 😉

  4. I love love LOVE pottery, so this is right up my alley. It’s so cool that places like this exist and you can visit and really experience it all. All the pottery looks so gorgeous, I want it all! haha.

  5. Now this is a fun thigg to do. I love art and i have done doing pottery once and its really therapeutic

  6. Oh I never knew about this place in Palampur. The arts and pots look so beautiful and i agree it will be really confusing to decide which one to purchase or not. I need to revisit Palampur for sure, looking at all your wonderful posts.

    • Looks like you have already been there.You must have had a wonderful time. Do cover Andretta on your next visit

    • Thanks Chiara! Pottery always occurs to be very interesting to me. Just don’t know if I have talent enough to be able to do it.

  7. 3 months of Pottery and such amazing pottery at the end of it. I would love one piece for my home. Not so much a potter, so happy to just acquire it all.

  8. This is a completely different experience we can think of. Looks like fun and heritage. We have been to Himachal so many times but never thought of visiting but definitely we will give it a try next time.

  9. I have never tried pottery before but it looks like a lot of fun. My grandma use to make lots of little things with it when I was younger and I would get to paint some of it. It is such a beautiful art and lovely to experience. I would love to try making something now that I am an adult.

  10. Neha has described the pottery scene in a holistic manner starting from chronology to how to reach the andretta pottery. WEllen written! (Ambuj Saxena)

  11. This is such an unique experience. I didn’t know there so many pottery skills that it takes 3 months to learn all of them. Such local experiences is what makes travelling so worth it. Thanks for sharing.

    • It’s a pleasure. 3 months course is just the beginning to it. It is such a fine art that it takes years to become perfect at it

  12. Watching pottery making is so soothing. It is amazing to see how a lump of clay can turn into a beautiful and useful object. This seems like a lovely stop. Haven’t been to Palampur yet. Would love to visit.

  13. What a wonderful studio. My family and I are planning to visit Himachal Pradesh in the summer and I’m sure my mom would love to go to this place. Thanks for the inspiration. 🙂

    • The prices vary as per the size of the pottery and the amount of labor that went into the creation. The one that we picked, similar to the plate kind of tray shown in the picture came at around INR 800

  14. We here in Romania have also an incredible culture around pottery in some areas of the country and it is always interesting and rewarding to see how people have done this from so many years now and also to try to do it yourself and see how something practical gets created by your own 2 hands. Thanks for sharing a great post about a great place!

    Ingrid

  15. Thanks for the detailed description of your visit to the pottery school. 3 months seems like quite a long introductory course. Whenever I see a pottery wheel it always makes me think of the film Ghost!

    • Even I remember the pottery from the movie Ghost. Coming to the course duration, it must have been thoughtfully designed. When I experienced the hands on as a guest, the first part was to start moving the wheels with your leg. Getting a control there itself will take some time I guess. And the next step was to throw the right amount of clay right at the center of the wheels, which the host did for us. But I couldn’t help wondering how long it would take for me to get to perfection in doing that 🙂 Looks easy but perhaps it needs a lot of patience

  16. What a great experience to do! I love pottery and clay art, so to see you go to Andretta, it was absolute privilege to read about your experience!

  17. Pottery isn’t really my scene, but i do appreciate the process. Very informative article that points out history and tradition.

  18. Wow a 3 months course is pretty long, and yet it’s an unusual experience (for me) that I might really be interested in doing. I like the fact that includes everything, between food, lodging and the teaching part!

  19. I am in love! I love pottery. I’ve only been to a place like this once, in the Philippines. It’s such an art and definitely harder than it looks! Thanks for sharing your experience 🙂

    • Great to know that. When you happen to visit this part of India, do visit Andretta Pottery. You will definitely like it

  20. Oh wow this looks like a super cool place to visit. I have way too many creative hobbies and don’t have time for another but if I were to add one more… it would be pottery!

  21. How awesome is all of this, this really captures the experience I truly want when I am traveling to really transport yourself in the culture and be immersed.

  22. I’ve been to a number of pottery houses but this one’s pretty amazing! The designs are totally unique and eyecatching. Hoping to visit this place one of these days soon. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  23. I love visiting local pottery factories. Pottery is something that’s unique in every region, isn’t it? These pieces also make for a wonderful souvenir!

  24. You can tell in the craftsmanship the potter is really passionate about his work. I like how there are tours available, but it would sound super cool to be immersed in a three month course and appreciate the work it takes to make pottery.

  25. I have a lot of pottery, my fathers best friend do it and some times i go there just to watch, it is an amazing art. I have been in Himachal but never in Palampur, I want to go back to explore more the Indian Himalayas so the next time I will visit Andreta Pottery and even cannot take the course because is too long would love to learn a bit there!

  26. Whilst I generally don’t take too much interest in pottery, there is obviously some incredible history here!

    I guess after 3 months, one would learn if it truly was a passion!

    • Definitely Chris. Because sometimes we do get attracted to try out something but to know that do we have enough patience and artistry inside us to continue with it might need a good amount of time investment

  27. I have to say, I think I take pottery for granted. It’s cool, unique and often times stunning, but I never really think twice about it. I would love to explore this area though – expand my close-minded horizons a little!

    • Oh you should see a pottery while it’s being created. It’s a process of birth – birth of a wonderful piece of art. And you will be amazed by the experience. And then to feel the clay on the wheels – a surreal experience in itself

  28. Nice niche post! Always love (real) local arts in crafts, I believe they tell way more about culture and tradition as some popular tourist markets packed with souvenir shopping do.

  29. Oh, I am not that passionate to spend 3 months on this but just putting my hands on the wheel and make my own bowl or other dish would be amazing! Pity I didn’t know about this place while I lived in India! I believe you had a very creative day!

  30. Hey great to see this post. I have been wonderng about Andretta for a while now. Last summer roamed around Bi Billing for a while but skpped this one. One of the Kangra attractions that still remain elusive to me. I had looked for such posts earlier but never found one.

  31. Learning pottery in the picturesque region of Palampur sounds like quite a lovely experience. I have always found pottery to be akin to magic. I am always fascinated by how the potter fashions out beautiful shapes from shapeless clay. Maybe a 3 month course at Palampur and learning pottery would be a break from the city life!

    • And that too a perfect break. Combine with the pottery making class the lots of fun and activities that you can do while in Palampur. Like visiting a tea estate, paragliding, roaming through the beautiful roads, camping, picnic and what not

  32. OH! Love this post girl! I just followed you too! Would love to be blogger friends with you! I’m Chy from Her Lost Mango! Nice to meet you! I post about fashion, travel and lifestyle. Some of my Europe trip is up now! I just posted too my favorite fashion pieces and you can shop them too! Hope to hear from you! XOXO lovelots! – Chy

  33. I have never thought of taking a pottery class or visiting a pottery museum but your article raised my curiosity. I think it’s a great experience to learn more about our heritage and this includes pottery. I don’t think there’s a country who didn’t go through a pottery period.

    • Pottery was the mechanism for building the very first utensils that humankind ever used. And it still is so fascinating. Definitely, even I want to take the course at some point of time

  34. I almost went here last year. Due to lack of time I cancelled my trip. However, your blog again makes me want to go there. I had visited Palampur and Gunehr. You must go to Gunehr. It is a lovely little village near Palampur.

  35. Discovering quaint local things to do on holidays is the best thing about travel. Andretta Pottery would be an awesome experience. I love that the pottery is displayed all throughout the school. Always great to learn new skills whilst travelling!

    • So rightly said!! A once in a lifetime kind of experience..the first time you sit behind a pottery wheel and then create something out of clay!!

  36. This is exactly the kind of experience we love when traveling. The pottery is beautiful and we get a chance to dabble in making some as tourist too. Meeting locals is always a treat and meeting gifted locals who share their skills is even better. We would love to visit Andretta’s pottery when in Palampur.

    • Everything you said about the local experience and hands on experience, is so true. We also love exactly this kind of travel 🙂