Srinagar recognised as ‘World Craft City’ - Hindustan Times
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Srinagar recognised as ‘World Craft City’

By, Srinagar
Jun 25, 2024 08:50 AM IST

UNESCO-affiliated World Crafts Council takes note of Srinagar’s varied crafts like papier-mache, hand knotted carpets, pashmina

The capital city Srinagar has been officially recognised as a “World Craft City” by the World Crafts Council (WCC), underscoring its rich heritage and the exceptional skills of its artisans leading to global acclaim.

The capital city Srinagar has been officially recognised as a “World Craft City” by the World Crafts Council. (HT File)
The capital city Srinagar has been officially recognised as a “World Craft City” by the World Crafts Council. (HT File)

“Srinagar is one of the ancient cities of South Asia with a continuously recorded history of about 1,500 years. Located on the historic Shahra-e-Abresham (the Silk Route) the city generated wealth of ideas related to arts and crafts and facilitated exchange of activities in trade, cultural practices and scientific knowledge,” the WCC said on its website.

“The crafts of Srinagar, though rooted in the past, continue to represent traditional practices used to create and manufacture an artefact. Srinagar represents a unique urban setting showcasing a marked synthesis between the built heritage, the natural surrounding landscape and their creative representation in the city’s associated crafts,” it added.

The achievement follows Srinagar’s recognition as a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Creative City for Crafts in 2021.

Lieutenant governor (L-G) Manoj Sinha congratulated the people particularly the artisans and crafts people for the dual recognition, “This recognition is a testament to the hard work and exceptional talent of our artisans. It validates their dedication and highlights the cultural richness of Srinagar. We are committed to supporting our artisans and ensuring that this accolade translates into tangible benefits for the community.”

Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTAC) convener in Jammu and Kashmir, Saleem Beg, said the international jury of the WCC were surprised by the art and crafts of the region.

“They thought that Srinagar was such a treasure which has been hidden from the world,” he said.

The WCC listed a number of craft products of Kashmir including Papier-Mache, Hand Knotted Carpets, Pashmina Shawls, Kani and Sozni work.

Officials said the recognition as a World Craft City is a testament to Srinagar’s longstanding tradition of excellence in handicrafts and handlooms.

“With increased global recognition, Srinagar’s crafts will gain enhanced visibility on the international stage, opening up new markets and opportunities for artisans…Artisans will have access to advanced training programs and workshops, further honing their skills and fostering innovation in their craft,” an official spokesperson said.

The increase in demand for Srinagar’s unique crafts is expected to boost production, leading to job creation and improved livelihoods for artisans and their families.

“Tourism in Srinagar is also set to benefit significantly from this recognition. The city is expected to draw more tourists interested in cultural and craft heritage, providing them with immersive experiences of the vibrant artisan communities,” the official said.

The city’s crafts, ranging from Pashmina shawls and Kashmiri carpets to intricate woodwork and papier-mâché, reflect the region’s cultural soul and artistic genius.

“We are incredibly proud of our artisans and their remarkable contributions. Being recognised as a World Craft City is a dream come true and a motivation to continue our work with even greater passion and dedication,” department of handicraft and handloom director Mahmood Ahmad Shah said.

Citing handloom department figures, the WCC said the city has a registered artisan base of 20,822 craftsmen engaged in different traditional crafts, that are papier-mache, walnut wood carving, hand-knotted carpet, kani shawl, khatamband, pashmina, sozni craft.

According to the census of 2011, the total population of the city falling within the municipal limits is 11.8 lakh.

“As such the total craft related workforce participation in the overall population of the city stands at 1.76% approximately. The figure marginally increases to 2.02% on excluding the children population from the total city population within the workforce of the city at 4.07lacs, the contribution of the craft sector stands at 5.1%,” it said.

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