What pops up in our brain when we envision visiting Himachal Pradesh in India? People who recognize with the place have an image of hilly terrain, snow-clad mountains, herds of sheep on the road, and simple and soft-spoken people who are always handy.
Though the panoramic charm is finely seasoned, the continuation of a lifestyle through implicit means has been relished yet discounted over the years. The place finds an implied association with winters. When tourists come here, they search for spectacular parades of nature.
Just when the scenic beauty dawns on them, the fascination to be comprehended into the culture naturally craves and hence the premier design of association (i.e. the shawl) with the tribe in bought.
For Himachalis though, “craft” is not just a commodity for tourism or supplementary but more than that. It’s design inbuilt in lifestyle.
Himachal Pradesh was one of the few states that had remained for a long time largely untouched by external customs, largely due to its arduous terrain. With noteworthy economic and social advancements, the state has changed expeditiously. Himachal Pradesh is also a multi-religious, multicultural as well as a multilingual state like any other Indian state.
Himachal Pradesh is acknowledged for its handicrafts. The carpets, leather works, shawls, paintings, metalware, woodwork, and paintings are worth appreciating. Local music and dance mirrors the cultural integrity of the state.
Through their dance and music, the people of Himachal Pradesh beseech their gods during local festivals and other special occasions. It is one of the most beautiful states of India and also the center of different arts and cultures and its impact can be seen clearly in its fairs and festivals, dance and music, art, and architecture.
Due to its vibrant and ethnic art and culture, Himachal Pradesh is famous all around the world. Carpets, leather works, shawls, paintings, metal works are some craft forms in the state. Tribes are experts in manufacturing woolen items and bamboo items.
Started in 1974 the handloom corporation is sanctioned with energizing the extinct crafts. The corporation is assisting in design development, skill generation, pre-loom, loom and post loom facilities to weavers and other artisans, production in workshops, marketing of handloom and handicrafts items through a chain of the emporia, exhibitions, and expositions.
With active aid from the central governments and ministry of textiles, the corporation is assisting the Kullu handloom cluster with a financial outlay that benefits 5000 weavers, Gohar handloom cluster in Mandi district for the benefit of 350 weavers and a handloom cluster in Reckong Peo Kinnaur for the benefit of 364 weavers.
Besides the corporation’s 32 sale outlets, of which 15 are within the state, bulk orders from paramilitary forces, railways, and air force through Association of Corporations & Apex Societies of Handlooms (ACASH) and e-shopping is helping handicraft manufactures to sustain their livelihoods in the face of stiff competition from machine manufactured goods.
Himachal Pradesh has 23 handloom and handicraft clusters as defined by the Ministry of Textiles. Chamba, Lahaul and Spiti, Kangra, Mandi, Kinnaur, Shimla, Solan, Bilaspur, and Kullu have been identified as the craft regions of the state. Each cluster has a minimum of 190 artisans.
The different crafts in these regions are carpets and durries, paintings, cane and bamboo, shawls, Thangka painting, wood carving, crochet and embroidery, Pullan, rumors, jewelry making, and metal works. The village industry consists of sheep-rearing, wood carving, blacksmithing, spinning, weaving, leather tanning, pottery, handloom, handicrafts, and bamboo crafts.
As per a researcher in the field, S Dutta, “it’s worth mentioning that on one hand, we are ‘Community Patenting’ the Kullu shawls and on other losing the sale outlets”. It’s crucial to recognize the fact that sale outlets are very important to feed the handicraft cottage industry and hence the direct dependents of the Himachali handicraft.
If this trend prevails, our famous handicraft products would not even find a place in our own homes. It is sad to mention here that the state Govt. agencies have failed to check the imitation in the traditional Himachali handicraft products thus making it difficult for the original handicraft market to compete the price factor thus leading to losing the faith of tourist to buy the genuine product.
Our local weavers and artisans depend upon tourists for their revenue generation. But the tourism industry in Himachal Pradesh is highly prone to ‘seasonality’. It is administrated by the climatic plight abound in the tourist drawing regions.
This seasonality rate of the tourist industry alters the application rate of infrastructure. Thus, the advertising influences are to be conducted in such a way that tourist traffic would flow in regularly throughout the year. The marketing of Tourism has two angles.
Firstly, it is to be marketed to those who are already in the tourist population. Secondly it is to be sold to those who have not so far joined the tourist population. One of the important elements of Tourism Marketing is Tourism Promotion.
As applied to the Tourism industry the most important function of marketing is to bring about an awareness of the product in the minds of the overall market areas. Thus, the State should diversify its Tourism product in the Tourism promotional literature of the state there is a need for a more detailed description of the cultural characteristics of the local society.
The fairs and festivals should be given more local assistance. Prospects of enterprising new areas should be delved into because the local festivals and fairs are critical channels of expanding attentiveness. Recognition backing, conservation development of local art should be practiced.
Locally produced handicrafts should be improved in variety and quality, with the emphasis in the state by creating awareness among the local public regarding the benefits of tourism.
The state of craft products is at a rate of decline in Himachal Pradesh. The state needs strategy and planning in the area of promotion of craft products. Tourism is an economical resource for the state and can be utilized to promote craft as tourism products.
The assessment of challenges in tourism needs to be researched to deal with the decline of the craft products in the state. Even the locals need to be familiarized with new methods of design and development to be at par globally. Design development is an area that needs rectification in terms of understanding and usage.
Design has been an unspoken integral part of the utility-driven craft products of Himachal but has been not been complemented. The beauty of the state lies in its culture and its people and is the need of the hour.
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