Srinagar, Apr. 3: Kashmir expedited renovation of the heritage arts emporium building in summer capital Srinagar anticipating bumper tourism season ahead as influx of tourists brings economic opportunities for businessmen in the valley.
“Our heritage showroom is under renovation right now to make it more attractive to tourists who visit Kashmir and to give them solace when they visit the emporium. We want a tourist to feel what the real essence of Kashmir is when they visit. The tourist season is approaching and our aim is that tourists find all handicrafts, that Kashmir is so famous for, under one roof,” said the Director of the Government Arts Emporium, Muzzafar Munshi.
The half-timbered building dates back to the British era, about a hundred years ago.
“This emporium is very old. The renovation work that is underway should be done regularly to attract tourists, because life here in Kashmir is mainly dependant on the handicrafts and tourism industries,” said a worker at the emporium, Abdul Qayoom.
The economy in Kashmir is fed largely by the tourism sector, which in turn is largely dependent on the indigenous Kashmiri handicrafts sector.
The sector which is more labour-intensive than capital-intensive, is involved in training these artisans, popularizing their craft in both India and abroad and providing a market to them in the form of emporiums such as the one in Srinagar.
The handicrafts industry dates back to the reign of Sultan Zain-ul-Abdin, popularly known as Budshah, who ruled Kashmir from 1420-1470 A.D. He hired skilled craftsmen from Central Asia to train the locals in handicrafts and slowly through the centuries, Kashmir acquired its own distinct style and tradition of handicraft-making. (ANI)