Srinagar Recognised As World Craft City By World Crafts Council

The city's rich heritage is exemplified by this prestigious honour, which highlights the exceptional skills of its artisans. Their unwavering dedication and unparalleled artistry have garnered global acclaim
Papier mache crafts in Srinagar
Papier mache crafts in SrinagarNantida Rodsatit/Shutterstock

Kashmir boasts unrivalled variety of exquisite crafts, including handwoven carpets, intricate woodwork, papier-mâché crafts, willow cricket bats, saffron, and dry fruits. The 15th-century ruler Sultan Zain-ul-Abidin, or 'Budshah', is often credited for introducing intricate carpet weaving and papier-mâché techniques. Persian and Turkish artists also left strong influences on local handicrafts. Recently, Srinagar was recognised as a ‘World Craft City’ by the World Craft Council, gaining international acclaim for its local artisans and craftsmen's skill and dedication to preserving cultural heritage. "This prestigious honour underscores the city's rich heritage and the exceptional skills of its artisans, whose dedication and artistry have earned global acclaim," the spokesman said Sunday evening.

In a tweet on X, the Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Manoj Sinha, congratulated Srinagar. “Heartiest congratulations to Srinagar for being recognised as a World Craft City by the World Crafts Council. This prestigious honour celebrates the rich heritage, craftsmanship, and vibrant culture of our beloved Srinagar,” the tweet read. “Kudos to all the artisans and craftsmen whose dedication and talent have made this achievement possible.”

The acknowledgment from the World Crafts Council is expected to bring about a substantial boost to the local economy, promote tourism, and motivate the younger generation to preserve and continue traditional crafts. This increased global acknowledgment will propel Srinagar's crafts onto the world stage, opening up numerous new markets and opportunities for artisans, as per the spokesperson. Srinagar offers a wealth of artisanal heritage. If you want to pick up well-known handicrafts, the areas to head to are the main market at Lal Chowk, Polo View Road, Budshah Chowk, Residency Road and the bazaars on the banks of the Jhelum.

Handicrafts To Pick Up

Kashmiri artisans have perfected the art of papier-mâché, and in Kashmir, you can pick up a jewellery box, a pencil stand, or a decorative egg, all intricately painted with Kashmiri motifs, at minimal rates. Head over to the back lanes of Alamgari Bazaar, Zadibal, Lal Bazaar and Nowshera, all full of papier-mâché artisans.

Carpet weaving craft of Kashmir
Carpet weaving craft of Kashmir Supermop/Shutterstock

Famous for their exquisite designs, hand-woven Kashmiri carpets feature a unique blend of Indian and Persian weaving styles. Prices depend on the size and fabric. Budshah Chowk is a good place to buy these. Another hand-made product is namdas, or felted wool or cotton rugs. 

There's no better way to serve tea than the way the Mughals did - in a samovar. Kashmiri copperware isn't the pedestrian, run-of-the-mill stuff you find at most places. Handcrafted, with stylised motifs and intricate designs, it's a form of art. Pick up some from the Nallah Mar (also known as Shehri Khas) area. The shops here sell traditional copperware items like bowls, plates, and of course, samovars.

Pherans are available readymade in a variety of colours and designs, but it's also possible to get a bespoke one. Tailors in markets across Srinagar will stitch these at short notice. Look for handwoven shawls and pherans at the shops at Lal Chowk.

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