“Srinagar has made it to the list of UNESCO Network of Creative Cities (UCCN). It has been designated as a ‘creative city’ of craft and folk arts. While Chennai and Varanasi are UNESCO cities of music, Jaipur is UNESCO city of crafts and folk arts. Mumbai is the UNESCO city of film and Hyderabad is of gastronomy”.
Kashmir Valley is known for its blending of multiple cultural and rich heritages. Apart from being an important scenic city of Kashmir Valley, Srinagar is known for its geographical and historical importance. Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir State, is also known worldwide for its unique handicrafts and handloom products . The splendid work of art and craft in Jammu and Kashmir makes it famous all over the world.Some kind of elegant art work is present almost in everything in Jammu and Kashmir, be it embroidery on the shawls, papier-mache and copper Ware and wood work.
Srinagar have been quite famous for enhancing the beauty of arts and craft of Jammu and Kashmir. They are world famous for carpets and wooden furniture. Along with it, the antique items include Shahtoosh Shawls and Pashmina shawls. Crewel works, brass and silver ware are other interesting articles.
In spite of the influence of modernity and industrialization, the handicraft products of the state continue to receive worldwide acclaims. In the absence of large-scale industries in the state, handicrafts have remained a key source of economic activity in the state. They have contributed to state economy in difficult times . The handicraft activities have the capability to generate employment opportunities at a large scale if the markets are expanded and demand is increased by bringing in different marketing methodologies. Analysing overall scenario and performance of handicraft product even during the years of political unrest, it indeed gives a ray of hope to focus on it so that growth and development in the sector, especially in terms of exports, is maintained. The arts and crafts of Jammu and Kashmir has recognition all over the world and everyone in the state is affiliated to this occupation in one way or another and is the major economic sector of the state. Crafts in the state vary from the embroidery to shawl weaving, wood carving to paper machie, carpet weaving to namda weaving and much more.
The arts and crafts of Srinagar have been enriched since the ancient time as it offered the locals to intermingle with each other’s culture. Srinagar got habituated by the Persian, Tibetan, and Mughals and the arts and crafts of the region got influenced by these cultures. Traditional items from Srinagar are in great demand from tourists all over the world. Pashmina Shawls and dress materials are the most popular items of Srinagar. Carpets and hand-woven rugs, woolen items, jackets, embroidered Phirhan and scarves are some of the other handloom works that one could exclusively get in Srinagar. Namdas and sarees, dress materials with Naqqashi work are also bought in great numbers by the tourists. Silk sarees and other silk materials, embroidered handbags, purses, files are also the specialties of Srinagar.
SRINAGAR : UNESCO CREATIVE CITY ? WHAT DOES IT MEAN ?
Srinagar has qualified because of its craft and folk arts, which is an intrinsic part of its tourism, besides the breathtaking beauty of the city itself. It is celebrated for its traditional Kashmiri handicrafts like shawls, and also dried fruits. The city also boasts of many performing arts including the traditional Bhand Pather — a type of theater where dance and play is combined in satire form. Chakri is a popular traditional music here, which involves instruments like sarangi, graha, rabab and harmonium.
(Dar Javed writes for Art craft polity and governance and is doing his research on peace innitiatives in kashmir, He works with CL-ATA, USA on world bank innitivates in kashmir ) .