Craft connection: Delhi Tourism to organise the Winter Mela 2022

This ongoing shopping carnival is a perfect excuse to stock up your winter wardrobe with products that are handcrafted with love

Published: 09th December 2022 08:03 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th December 2022 08:03 AM   |  A+A-

Women knitting in the Shen stall;

Express News Service

India has a diverse handicraft industry that is rich in history, culture, and heritage, with each state having its unique embroidery style and craft. Though the value of Indian crafts has increased over time, learning traditional handicrafts as a career is considered unfavourable among the younger generation due to economic challenges and lack of recognition. 

In order to give diverse crafts a platform and to encourage artisans to showcase their work, Dastkar—a private, non-profit organisation that aims to assist traditional Indian craftspeople—collaborated with Delhi Tourism to organise the Winter Mela 2022. 

Customers busy browsing through a stall

Empowering lives 
On browsing through the many segments at the Mela, we found two women busy knitting sweaters in one of the stalls. The duo was a part of Shen—an organisation based in Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh. Rinchen, a member of Shen, gave us more insight into the brand, “Shen is what we call snow leopard in our regional dialect. Every year, we come to Delhi for the Winter Mela and collect revenue for the organisation. We help endangered snow leopards survive by ensuring no poaching happens in and around our villages. The best part about Shen is that all the products are hand-woven by native women of Spiti Valley.”

Crafting opportunities
In a slew of cozy winter accessories, we noticed adorable handmade Santa Claus and other Christmassy accessories that were ready just in time for the festival. Made from recycled plastic, paper, and flowers, these products were on display as part of Art for Prabhat, an artist community under Prabhat—an organisation that works for the development of children with disabilities. Prabhat also provides persons with disabilities with employment opportunities through their eco-friendly brand Avacayam. Dilip Kumar Prajapati, sales director, Avacayam, pointed at a handmade Santa accessory, adding, “These are made of papier-mâché. Other than plastic, paper, and flowers, we also collect fabric waste from households and factories to craft handwoven rugs and sweaters.” 

When customers turn sellers
This year, the Dastkar Winter Mela not only provides a platform to traditional handicraft workers, but also gives opportunities to young handicraft entrepreneurs. Cases in point are Muskan Sharma and Shalini (she started  a macramé studio called Kalaatript), two college graduates who became sellers from being customers at the Dastkar Mela. Muskan, who launched her brand Baraf, a knitting studio with a team of five, shared, “The idea behind the studio is to provide fair wages to the workers.” 

This event is just the right place to be at before you brace the Delhi’s winters. It not only allows you to celebrate Indian craftsmanship but also encourages youngsters to associate such crafts with a career opportunity. From traditional artistry across categories like home-décor and more to people working for many causes and youngsters launching their own ventures, it is safe to say that the Mela has it all. 

WHAT:  Dastkar Winter Mela 2022
WHEN:  Till December 12; 11:00am to 7:00pm
WHERE:  Nature Bazaar Venue, Kisan Haat, Andheria Modh, Chhattarpur
PRICE: Rs 40

India Matters


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