To get the glimpses of Kashmiri culture and handicrafts, Government Arts Emporium near Abdullah Bridge in Srinagar is the perfect place to be. A visit to the main showroom of the Emporium is enough to get the glimpses of the diversified culture of the Valley.
When one enters the showroom of the emporium, the Rich carpets and Ari Namda, displays the rich history of Kashmir, while, on another side, the hefty walnut dining table and paper machie items are mesmerizing.
The hand-woven carpets which are flung onto a walnut sofa explain the vastness of the emporium and its treasures. In addition to the handicrafts, the place boasts of a peaceful ambiance, intensified by the centuries-old heritage and regal interiors.
The elegant and colorful art form on the beautifully crafted products provides a spiritual feel to the visitors.
“Besides offering the handicraft products, the emporium provides an opportunity to the best artisans to showcase their unique handmade quality products. On daily basis, our artisans gives us the best quality handicraft products. We select the products and supply them to the other showrooms in different states of the country,” says Ahmed,” says one of the managers of Government Arts Emporium, Parvez Ahmad.
The showrooms also offer different varieties of Kashmiri Ari embroidery suits, pherans, coats, gowns, and shawls. Crewel embroidered curtains, walnut sofas, furniture, dining table displayed in the three rooms inside the showroom is a treat to the eyes.
The chain stitched items hanging on the walls at the entrance of the main showroom, colorful paper machie vases, graceful table lamps, copperware samovar, and the antique masterpieces of walnuts and paper machie items on a roundtable adds to the overall charm and beauty of the centuries-old showroom of the emporium.
Parvez Ahmad said the emporium represents the vibrant culture of the Kashmir. “The traders at our emporium never compromise with the quality of their products. They bring out best artefacts for the visitors,” he says.
He said that the rates of items differ as it depends on the kind of item, work, quality, and designs.
“We have fully carved and seasoned carved walnut items. We also have regular paper machie items which are cheaper and made by local artisans and master paper machie items which are expensive but made by the experienced master artisans of the Kashmir,” he says.
Ahmad said that the walnut wood is first soaked in water for about six months to prevent it from bending, damage and other harmful effects.
He said that there are two types of carpet; one is silk on cotton and the other is silk on silk. “The Silk on silk type is also known as commercial carpet and the price per square feet is Rs 1500. Another type is worth Rs 35000 per square feet.”
The emporium has four unique showrooms in Srinagar, one each in Jammu, Katra, and Ladakh. It also has showrooms in other states across the country.
Ranging from 8000 up to lakhs, the pashmina shawls consist of different types like Kani, Jamawar at Rs 80k are worth buying at the emporium. The price of one meter deep crafted crewel curtain is at Rs 1000.
“I have displayed almost hundred pieces of handicraft products here. There are different motifs made at each design,” says a salesman at the emporium.
Offering a wide variety of products, from Paper machie, Pashmina shawls, copperware, Ari embroidery and Sozni suits, walnut products, Kashmiri carpets to the home décor items, the emporium serves as the cultural hub and perfect heaven for all the art lovers.