National Crafts Museum — perfect amalgamation of culture, art and peace

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New Delhi, July 6 (IANS) Admist the hustle and bustle of city life, there is at least one place in the capital where a wall separates you from the rest of the world. Once you cross that wall, you can find the path to nirvana, or, as Mahatma Gandhi once said: “Peace is its own reward.”

Welcome to the National Handicrafts and Handlooms Museum (NHHM), bookeneded by Purana Quila and Pragati Maidan. It offers you an escape from the tempestous affairs of daily life — an apt place for self-introspection. You can feel the positivity right on entering the premises and the rustling sound of leaves will soothe your soul; the tress seem to talk to you in thier own language. The place is squeaky clean and the chirping of birds is quite uplifting.

Spread over five acres, the museum is home to a round 35,000 distinctive objects that reflect Indian craft and traditions through painting, embroidery, clay, stone, wood, metalware, terracotta pots, toys, jewellery and textiles all housed in a building designed by eminent Indian architect Charles Correa in 1970. The Madhubani paintings on the walls of the huts bring to life the transcendental image of an amicable Indian hamlet in the village complex.

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A major attraction is artists demonstrating thier skills to the visitors. A boon for several craftsmen who are increasingly losing touch with tradtion, the museum invites various artist for a month-long residency, providing them with a stage to display their art and re-establish lost bonds.

In July the museum is hosting craftsmen and folk artists from Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh who will stay till August 1.

The Latif Khan Group from Rajasthan had the visitors spellbound as they wove a magical spell with the classic song ‘Duma Dum Mast kalandar’.

“They have been performing here for a long time and thier grandfathers also performed at the museum. They never fail to dazzle the audience,” a museum official said.

Not surprisingly, Latif Khan was upbeat. “We feel proud that we are able to present our state’s culture in the capital and are extremely delighted about this,” he said.

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A rather reticent artist from Jaipur was selling a variety of objects, including smalltoys, jewellery, decorative pieces and stautues of various gods.

“These are exclusively made in Johri Bazar and being exported far and wide from there,” said the artist.

Also from Rajasthan, the ‘Kashidakari Kadai’ stall grabbed many eyeballs. Kasidakari denotes a type of needlework done on cloth. With every member of the family possessing the talent, their relentless commitment results in a variety of bags, bedsheets, pillow covers, among others.

“They are made in the Barmer district in the western part of Rajasthan. It takes a whole day to finish one piece as the art requires keen detailing,” said the seller, Barnaam Singh.

Wooden artifacts from Banaras were also at the centre of attention. They were being lapped up as they were affordably priced.

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Gond paintings from Madhya Pradesh were also on sale. “Earlier, we used natural colours and the wood of trees for our paintings but now, as everything is diminishing, we use fabric colours, handmade sheets and canvas,” an artist informed.

The best thing one can carry home is a memento of a wonderful visit. Whatever you observe in the museum will definitely left an indelible impression on your mind.

(Chhavi Gola can be contacted at [email protected])

–IANS

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