Thursday, January 29, 2009

Crafts Museum


The National Museum of Handloom & Handicraft popularly called the Crafts Museum. For those of you passionate about handmade products - crafts some of which is so tedious and fine that it becomes an art literally - this is a definite must see. Paying tribute to the artistic mastery of the Indian craftsman, it is a kalaidescope of craft available in the country.

Housing some of the finest collection of handcrafts from across India. It has an approximate collection of 22000 pieces. Outstanding is the collection of folk art - handpainted traditional paintings, tribal art & textiles. Handpaintings include Chitrakathi, Phad, Cherial, Kalamkari, Madhubani, Orissa Pat paintings, palm leaf paintings...the collection of cultic objects, toys & puppets, tribal art, household utensils is another highlight. The huge chariot, windows from old homes adds to the picturesque charm of this Charles Correa designed Museum. The textile collection upstairs truly encompasses the weaves, embroidery from across the country. It is a one stop place for craft enthusiasts. Be it in jewellery, textiles, woodcarving, painting... Though located on a cross section of a busy road, it is a literal far from the maddening crowd.

Location - At Pragati Maidan, Bhairon Singh Marg, opposite the ramparts of the Delhi Zoo. It is roughly 3 kms from Connaught Place.

Timings - Entry is free, it is open 10 am to 5 pm - Tuesdays to Saturdays. Closed on Mondays but live demonstration by craftsmen is open on Mondays too.

Highlight - The live demonstration by craftsmen in the open thatched exhibition area together with a folk dance performer.

Insider Tip - New craftsmen come in at the beginning of everymonth. There is a change in the craftsmen and craft demonstrated every month. You can at times get products handmade in front of you. All particpants are craftpersons specialists in their field, though now the selection is not what it used to be. Prices are reasonable with a fair bit of bargaining. ITPO (Indian Trade Promotion Organisation) Pragati Maidan also holds many exhibitions as also that at the Handloom Pavilion. These are held inside Pragati Maidan. One can always hop across to catch these. Do enquire persistently around as signboards are not easy to come by.

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