“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”
1. Having been ruled by various empires for centuries, Srinagar has witnessed many cultures, traditions and moods throughout. The beauty of this capital city not just attracted rulers and visitors, but also managed to retain their cultural essence in one or the other form- cuisines, language,
tradition and art.
2. Art and an artist flourish only in the presence of honesty, humbleness and dedication, therefore the splendid handicrafts by the local artisans of the region stand as a testimony to this claim. Srinagar as one of its translation means ‘City of Wealth’ does indeed justifies its worth. For those who value art, handicrafts made by Kashmiris with utmost conscientious attention and dedication find a perfect show window in Srinagar.
The Handicrafts in Sringar
3. Every article crafted/woven by these people not only depicts the verity of art and its various forms but also advocates for the love and affiliation of these people towards the culture and Kashirmiyat they preserve. The heaven on earth- Kashmir, is a vast and beautiful land that houses artisans guarding the history, culture and tradition, scatters them miles apart from main stream citizens due to terrain, but Srinagar being a capital city that has its recognition all around the globe since centuries congregates these artisans and their efforts at one place i.e. various market places at Srinagar. Every handicraft here has a potential to bring the memories spent in these region alive at a glance.
4. Some of the important handicrafts of the region that Srinagar boasts are as follows:-
(a) Pashmina : Traditionally presented a robe of honor to the people of a certain rank and nobility during the Mughal era, the shawl woven from the fine variant of spun goat hair has a special place for itself in Kashmiri tradition.
(b) Namda : Originally weaved for the horses of Akbar, Namda today has various uses. In daily life other than just protecting the horses from the cold winds of this mountains, presently used as decorative cloths. A windcheater fabric Namda is still waved with same amount of dedication and effort by the waivers.
(c) Crewel Embroidery: It is a special kind of embroidery that makes use of pointed hook used for creating the embroidery patterns on a plane cloth usually depicting the floral structure and patterns. It is used as a decorative cloth and for dressing material.
(d) Walnut Wood Carving :The meticulous designs and intricate carving patterns of the artisans is a wonder that one sees on the wooden decorative that are made as showpieces. Carved on boxes and on different decorative articles these wooden carvings are a specialty of Kashmiri artisans.
(e) Paper Mache Decorative Items: These are made out of the soaked papers for making the molded decorative, conceded the most affordable and easily available handicrafts in this region. The Paper Mache used for giving the shapes such as dolls, flowerpots and shikharas attract tourist and make place in their luggage back home.
5. Srinagar being the most accessible city in this region plays the role of a show window of these artistic materials that not only provides a good market place both for artisans and buyers but also acts as a life gallery of Kashmiri traditions and preserved history to the visitors. These artist are nurtured and encouraged not only by tourists but also by the institutions such as Crafts Development Institute, Srinagar by means of organising events and skill development sessions.