Srinagar, the summer capital of our state Jammu and Kashmir is the largest city in the region. The first thing that comes to our mind when talk about Srinagar is the iconic Dal Lake. And that’s the main attraction of the city. It’s beauty led it in the race to get included in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) creative cities list as the ‘City of Crafts and Folk Arts’.
Srinagar is 2,200 year old and has a very rich history. During the reign of the Gupta king, this historic city traces its origin. Sultan Zain-ul-Abidin, a great contribution was made by him to the cultural and artistic landscape of Kashmir.And this is what it has passed to its generations. This city is full of extraordinary craftsmanship, designers, entrepreneurs, traditional business houses and what not. Undoubtedly, it indeed has, what is takes to be on the list. And if it manages to do so, the image of the city as a hub of intricate art and craft will get a great boost from which we get benefitted for the years to come.
UNESCO Creative Cities List was the project that was created in the year 2004. The main reason why this project was created was that they wanted to take those cities globally who has invested in culture and creativity. The UNESCO Creative Cities have a common mission — placing creativity and cultural industries at the core of their development strategies. Currently, the network brings together 180 cities from 72 countries from all regions of the world.
The Institute of Hotel Management, Rajbagh here, a workshop of stakeholders on preparation of dossier for inclusion of Srinagar City in UNESCO Creative Cities Network was held. Many stakeholders from different walks of life attended the workshop as part of the ‘Restoration and Strengthening of Livelihoods’ component of the Jhelum Tawi Flood Recovery Project ( JTFRP) funded by the World Bank.
Director Technical, JTFRP Iftikhar Ahmad Kakroo said,” the aim of the workshop is to provide a platform for all the stakeholders involved with the various aspects of Kashmir Handicrafts and obtain their valuable inputs for the preparation.”
Saleem Beg, convener, Intach, J&K chapter, said “there was a need for more pilot projects in the field and stressed on inclusion of artisans in the policy formulation.”
The benefits of getting included in UCCN will be many. We will get a great boost for our city both culturally and economically. It will be a boon for heritage and culture tourism too as people will love to see artisans and the process of making exquisite artefacts. The other major benefit will be that there will be protection of the art and craft that was fading over time.
The UNESCO World Heritage Sites and cities receive many tourists and it make billions of dollars worth of trade annually. If Srinagar find its place among the next UCCN city list it will be a moment of great honor for all of us – we are eagerly waiting for that.