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Ancient Art Gets New Lease of Life as Karnataka Woos Tourists with Craft Village

Karnataka State Handicrafts Development Corporation is developing an artisans’ village into a major tourist attraction It has cracked deals with online platforms for the sale of unique handicrafts of this village
Indian Masterminds Stories

The state of Karnataka has a rich history of art and culture. However, many ancient arts are dying because of the lack of support and encouragement to artisans, whose families have been passing these art forms from generation to generation, thereby preserving them. Already struggling to keep their art alive, these artisans have had to suffer more after the outbreak of Covid 19 and the resultant lockdowns and subsequent restrictions. Taking note of the hardships they are facing, Managing Director of Karnataka State Handicrafts Development Corporation, D. Roopa Moudgil is trying to help the artisans by promoting their work. In conversation with Indian Masterminds, the 2001 batch IPS officer talks about a ‘Craft Tourism Village’ and explains how they plan to sell handicrafts online. 

REMODELING ANEGUNDI AS A ‘CRAFT TOURISM VILLAGE’

Situated on the northern banks of Tungabhadra river, the village of Anegundi was previously known as Kishkindha – Kingdom of Vanara (monkey) – in olden times. The village is situated on the opposite side of the World Heritage Site – Hampi. Although Anegudi is lesser known, it is much older than Hampi. The village was a part of the Vijayanagar empire, and broken remnants of that era can be found scattered over the area even now, bearing testimony to the glorious past. 

The village is also known for items made of banana fibre as banana plants grow aplenty in the area. Bags and baskets made of banana fibre are popular with both locals and tourists alike. The artisans who make these beautiful items live, make, and sell in the village only. However, what they lacked was good exposure of their handicraft. When this caught the attention of the Karnataka State Handicrafts Development Corporation, Anegundi was selected as a model village for craft tourism. It is now being remodeled as a ‘Craft Tourism Village’ to attract tourists.

TOURISTS TO HAVE FIRST-HAND EXPERIENCE OF ARTISANS’ LIVES

The Managing Director of the Karnataka State Handicrafts Development Corporation, IPS D. Roopa Moudgil is hopeful that after visiting Hampi, tourists will flock to this craft village. “They will be shown how the artisans live and work. The most important thing now is to make the village attractive. So, number of projects have been taken up in the area, including the renovation of the artisans’ houses, development of a café in a mix style of modern and traditional architecture along with an open restaurant. We are also renovating the houses of the artisans and trying to replicate the ancient architecture wherever possible,” she said, adding that Anegudi village will soon become a hub of craft tourism in the state. 

MARKETING CRAFT ONLINE FOR MAXIMUM VISIBILITY

Due to efforts to Ms. Roopa, now the artisans could directly sell their crafts on Flipkart, Amazon & PayTm

Karnataka is known for its sandalwood art and carvings, ‘bidri ware’ (metal handicraft from the Bidar area) and rosewood carvings. With online purchasing quite popular these days, the officer now plans aggressive online marketing of these handicraft products so that people buy them. “We were almost invisible in online avenues. Now, the products are available on Flipkart, Amazon and PayTm. We have also revamped the online website. The results are encouraging as we are witnessing good online sale and artisans are getting direct profit,” she said.

Ms. D. Roopa also informed that sandalwood and ‘bidri’ wares are their USPs, and these products have been GI (Geographical Indication) tagged so that their uniqueness is preserved for all time to come. 


Indian Masterminds Stories

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