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Monthly Archives: September 2015

  • NAVRATRI

    Navratri is a Hindu festival of India which is dedicated to Goddess Durga, who is a symbol of power, purity and ‘shakti’. The literal meaning of the word ‘Navratri’ is nine nights. Thus, this is a celebration of nine nights and ten days.

    During these nine nights and ten days, Goddess Durga is worshipped in nine different forms. These nine forms are:Shailputri,Brahmcharni, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skandamata, Katyayani, Kalratri, Mahagauri and Siddhidatri. In some of the Hindu religious books there are also suggestions of 7 day Navratri, 5 day Navratri, 3 day Navratri and even 1 day Navratri instead of the usually observed 9 days.

    Image Credit - wikipedia.org Image Credit - wikipedia.org

    As per the lunar calendar followed by Hindus,Navratri in March/ April is celebrated as Chaitra Navratri and in September/October it is celebrated as SharadNavratri.Navratri is celebrated in most of the states of India, but is most popular in the states of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Karnataka. Ritual puja and fasting is performed during the festival and the functions performed have an underlying theme of the victory of ‘good over evil’.

    On the first day ofNavratri, Kalashsthapana or the Ghatasthapana is done at the appropriate ‘mahurat’, during which the Goddess Durga is summoned into a Kalash by enchanting ‘mantras’.

    In West Bengal, Durga Puja is just a three day celebration - these three days are known as Durga Saptami, Durga Ashtami and Durga Navami. The celebrations are performed on the last three days of the Navratri and similar to the Kalashsthapana, the people of West Bengal perform the Kalparambha and BilvaNimantran, which is done on the sixth day of Navratri.

    During Navratri, many devotees go for pilgrimage to the Vaishno Devi shrine in Jammu. In Himachal Pradesh, Navratrimela is organized to mark the auspicious occasion. Folk music and dance are also part of the celebration.

    During the Navratri celebrations, JyotiKalash, Kumari Puja, Sandhi Puja, Navami Homa, LalithaVrat and Chandi Path are some rituals which are performed. The best time to perform puja is sunrise.

    The tenth day is observed as Vijayadashami when the idols of Goddess Durga are immersed into a water body.Dussehra coincides with the tenth day of SharadNavratri and therefore playsfrom the Ramayana are also performed during the Navratri celebrations.

    This auspicious festival is celebrated with great devotion to achieve spiritual enlightenment.

  • JUTE PAINTING COLLECTIONS AT POOMPUHAR

    The artisans under the patronage of the Tamil Nadu Handicrafts Development Corporation Ltd, which is a Govt. of Tamil Nadu undertaking, have various exquisite handicrafts to exhibit - Jute painting being one of them.

    For making these paintings, especially trained artisans employ the technique of hand painting using special Jute Paints as a medium and Jute Fabric as the canvas. Beautiful jute paintings are available in various sizes and for various purposes at reasonable prices. The Jute Painting Collection which is available with Poompuhar includes:

    • 18 x 18 x 2 inches Jute Painting Table Stop Lakshmi and Jute Painting Table Stop Ganesh, of the same dimensions. These are both priced at Rs. 170 each.
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    • Dual purpose Jute Painting Key Stands are available in the form ofbeautiful quotes and sceneries. These are handcrafted wooden magazine holders, with hooks to hold the keys. These are priced at Rs. 270 each.
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    • Pen Stands are available with Peacock, Ganesh and Horse paintings on them. These are of the size 10 x 10 x 8 inches and are priced at Rs. 280 each. These pen stands with decorative patterns can be used for holding pens, and make for an attractive gift item.
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    • 30 x 8 x 5 inch Jute painting with Palm Art on it is available at an easy price of Rs. 270. It is a decorative wall hanging with Tribal Art on it. Jute Painting Wall Hanging of Elephant of the dimension 23 x 23 x 2 inch is available at a price of Rs. 280, while a traditionally styled wall hanging of a Peacock of the same dimensions is priced at Rs. 500.
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    • Delicately handmade Oval Paintings of 28 x 13 x 3 inch and 45 x 10 x 3 inch are available for Rs. 370 each.
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    • Besides these, a magnificent 43 x 43 x 2 inch, wall hanging Jute Painting Mirror Art Painting can be bought at acost of Rs. 770.
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    Time stands still as one admires the beauty of the magnificent Jute Painting Wall Clock in the dimensions of 30 x 30 x 5 inch. This, for an economical price ofRs. 1,050. This designer wall clock has an artistic painting of a dancing African man and woman.

    These outstanding pieces of art have been carefully are creatively made. These decorative pieces can be used at homes, offices and are best for gifting to friends.

  • INDIAN CLASSICAL DANCES – A SOURCE OF GRACE

    In India, dance and music are not only a source of entertainment, but are also the oldest forms of classical arts, which can be dated back to many centuries. The Indian dance form is said to have been originated from the ‘Natya Shastra’ by Bharat Muni which is regarded as the fifth Veda, and was probably written sometime between the 2nd century B.C. and the 2nd century A.D.

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    In the Indian classical dances, body movements effectively express the various moods and emotions. They are devotional in content and act as a medium to convey a message. The rich tradition of dance can be seen through the sculptures available from the past.

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    The dance forms are mainly composed of 108 mudras (which means poses) and nine ‘Rasa’(which means emotions). These are – Hasya (happiness), Shoka (sorrow), Krodha (anger), Karuna (compassion), Bhibatsa (disgust), Adhbhuta (wonder), Bhaya (fear), Viram (courage), and Shanta (serenity). These emotions are expressed beautifully in various classical dance forms, such as the Bharatnatyam, Kathak, Kuchipudi, Manipuri, Kathakali, Mohiniattam, OdisiChhau.

    Classical dance has mainly two features; The Tandava – this refers to the movements on beats. It emphasizes on the male characteristics of strength and firmness. The second one is the Lasya, which is symbolic of Bhawa, Grace, Rasa and Abhinaya. This is feminine in style.

    Classical dance is governed by the rules of the Natya Shastra; which in turn, is based on the Guru Shishyaparampara. Dance or Nritya; is a combination of Nritta and Natya. Nritta is basically the expressional enacting of the various sentiments of a particular theme, while Natya is the facial expression which includes eye, hand and facial movements.

    India is a vast country with diverse cultures and traditions which can be best seen through the dance forms emanating from that culture. Each region in India has its unique style of dance. The ancient sculptures in the temples and palaces speak about the culture. It can be seen that dance was not only a source of recreation or a way to celebrate; rather, it was also considered as an act of thanksgiving to the gods and goddesses and a way to worship.

    The graceful expressions and the body movements of the classical dancers leave the audience spellbound. The poise with which they carry out each act is worth appreciation.

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  • Tracking Down the Traditional Handicrafts of India

    India is a country with diverse cultures, religions and traditions. Each state has its own culture and traditions, which are most often a result of the empire that ruled over them. Most states have their own special type of handiwork for which they are famous. Beautiful works hand crafted by people of a particular region marks the heritage of that soil, and gives India its diversity.

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    Perhaps it began by making items of utility for their daily use. As the demand increased, these ancient handicrafts for better with creativity of the craftsmen. In order to please kings and queens, people used to gift them their carefully crafted works of art. The king, on being impressed would reward them suitably. The artisans made beautiful creations and took them to other places for trade and this was how they gradually became famous for their type of craft.

    Arjuna Penance in Mahabalipuram Image Credit - wikimedia

    India is a vast country and almost all its cities have some or the other special art and craft which makes the place famous and gives people a competitive edge in trading.

    The handicraft of ancient India dates back to the Indus valley civilization when the craftsmen were skilled in pottery making and sculpture making. This included sculptures made out of metals, stones, wood etc. Weaving and jewelry making were also practiced.

    In the Mauryan age, numerous stupas were built, which indicates that stone carved sculptures were the most prominent handicraft of that period.

    The forts and palaces of various places depict the type of art and craft practiced by their people.

    Image Credit - wikipedia Image Credit - wikipedia

    In the North of India, i.e. in Kashmir, beautiful handicrafts called Papier Mache art are extremely popular. Kashmir is also famous for its walnut wood crafts and the furniture made out of it. The people of Kashmir also make handicraft items carved out of copper which has an antique finish that lends the items a unique attractiveness.

    The handicrafts of Rajasthan include decorative paintings, puppet making, mirror embroidery etc. Fabrics are dyed in multi colored combinations by tie and dye method, resist dyeing method and by direct application method to create unique Jaipuri prints and paintings which are used for adorning wall hangings, bed sheets clothes etc.

    Maharashtra is famous for its Kolhapuri chappals made out of leather and the textile industry.

    Uttar Pradesh has various types of handicrafts in its various cities. Agra is famous for TajMahal, which has made the city home to countless number of artisans who make beautiful decorative items out of marbles. It is also known for leather shoes. Firozabad city is famous for its handicrafts items made out of glass such as chandeliers, bangles vases etc. Bareili is famous for its wooden furniture and other wooden handicrafts. Kanpur; which is an industrial city, is famous for its leather handicrafts. Lucknow is famous for its chikankaari and zardozi handicrafts, which are essentially different kinds of embroidery. Banaras is famous for its Banarasisarees and fabrics with Banarsi work on them.

    People from eastern states such as Assam, West Bengal, Orissa and Manipur use Bamboo creatively to make handicraft items. The people there also make crafts out of straw,wood, metals and stones.Straw hats, straw boxes and straw bags and baskets are a few items made out of straw by the craftsmen.

    Applique work and Madhubani paintings of Orissa and Bihar are famous. Their paintings and manuscripts on palm leaves are quite unique.

    South India on the other hand is also extremely rich in the differentkind of handicrafts which are made by skilled craftsmen. Leather lamp shades, Tanjore paintings, beautiful jewelry and decorative items made out of shells are made in Andhra Pradesh. Statues made of brass and handicrafts made out of coconut are also part of Andhra crafts. Beautifully carved wooden doors and interiors are used to decorate temples and homes. Brass and silverstatues of gods and goddesses in antique and polish finish are greatly admiredby worshippers. Madurai is famous for rosewood handicrafts. Kanchipuramsarees of South India need no introduction. Pearl jewelry and lakh jewelry which are made in Hyderabad - a city in Karnataka, are world famous.

    India with all its diversity has a lot of variety of handicrafts to offer to the world. The ancient handicrafts with a mix of modern ideas create a wonderful combination, which is worth appreciation. The Govt. of India helps its artisans in preserving the tradition and capability of its craftsmen by organizing trade fairs and exhibitions to promote the traditional Indian art and crafts.

  • GANESH CHATURTHI SPECIAL

    Ganesh Chaturthi; also known as Vinayak Chaturthiis celebrated by Hindus to mark the birth anniversary of Lord Ganesh. The deities of Lord Ganesh worship him as he is considered as the God of prosperity, wisdom and also good affluence.

    sleeping ganeshIt is celebrated in the Hindu month of Bhadrapada, and begins on theday of Shukla Chaturthi (which coincides with the English months of August or September). It is usually a ten day celebration, which ends on Anant Chaturdashi or GaneshVisarjan day.

    As per the Hindu division of the day, the time between sunrise and sunset is divided into five parts. These five equal divisions are:Pratahkala, Sangava, Madhyahna, Aparahna and Sayankal. It is believed that Lord Ganesh was born during Madhyahna Kala i.e. the midday. Therefore, the sthapana of the Ganpati and the Ganpati Puja are done during the Madhyahna part of the day which is in accordance with the Vedic astrology for being the most auspicious time for worshipping. During the festival, artistic clay images of Lord Ganesh; made by skilled artisans, are decorated at homes and also at mandapasandpandals in almost every locality. Thesepandals are the result of joint effort. Monetary contributions are collected and the idols are decorated beautifully with flowers, lights etc. The models of Lord Ganesha can be seen in various poses and the sizes of the images vary from less than an inch to over 70 feet.

    Devotees perform a comprehensiveritualistic puja, which is calledShodashopacharaGanpatiPuja,meaning – 16 ways of paying tribute. The offerings of jaggery, coconut, modaks, durva, red flowers and grass are made. A mixture of kumkum and sandalwood paste is smeared over the idol. The entire ceremony is marked by the chanting of Vedic hymns from the Rig Veda, the Ganapati Atharvashirsa, Upanishads and the GaneshaStotra from the NaradaPurana.

    The origin of the celebration of this festival dates back to the years 1630 – 1680; during the reign of Shivaji, the Maratha King. The festival was made a public event in Maharashtra in the year 1892, by BhausahebLaxmanJavale. Today, it is celebrated with great pomp and show in all the parts of the country and even abroad, but the places where the celebrations are at their grandest are Maharashtra, Telangana, Goa, Andhra Pradesh and some parts of western and Southern India.

    Ganesha was created by Parvati, the wife of Lord Shiva from the sandalwood paste that she used for bathing; she then breathed life into it and decided to make him her escort. She told him to guard the door as she took a bath. Lord Shiva and Ganesh were unknown to each other, so on his return when Shiva was not allowed to enter by Ganesha, there was a great combat between them and in the end, Shiva severed Ganesha’s head. When Parvati saw Ganesha’s head chopped off, she became very angry. Shiva promised her that her son would live again. The search for a dead person facing North began; but only the head of a dead elephant could be found. So, Lord Shiva fixed the elephant’s head on the child’s body and brought him back to life. He then named the boy ‘Ganesha’ – Lord of Ganas.

    Seeing the moon on the eve of Ganesh Chaturthi is prohibited as it is believed to be inauspicious and it is said to cause MithyaDosham or MithyaKalank. This belief originates from an event in the Puranic legends, where Lord Krishna had to face the curse of MithyaDoshabecause he sighted the moon on Shukla Chaturthi during Bhadrapada. This was because Lord Ganeshahad cursed God Chandra that whoever sights the moon on the Shukla Chaturthi will have to face the wrath and suffer the MithyaKalank i.e. dishonor by the society. As repentance, Lord Krishna had to observe fast on Ganesh Chaturthi and got relieved of the MithyaDosha. Thus, sighting of the moon is avoided till the Chaturthi Tithi (date) lasts. And in case somebody sights it by mistake there is a Mantra to save one’s self from the curse.

    Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated in many parts of our country with slight variations.

    Ganesh Chaturthi is a very important festival of Maharashtra. Most of the Hindu families put their own idol of Lord Ganesha and it is worshipped both in the mornings and evenings till the day of GaneshaVisarjana. Flowers and durva are offered to the idols. Worshippers sing aarti in praise of Lord Ganesha, other gods and even the saints. The song of the Ganesh aarti sung in Maharashtra was composed by saint Samarth Ramdas. Here, the celebrations last for 1, 3, 5, 7 or 11 days. On Anant Chaturdashi or the Ganesh Visarjan day, devotees take out a grand, colourful procession on the streets and immerse the idol of Lord Ganesha in ponds, rivers, lakes or the sea. Now a days, in order to avoid the pollution of the water bodies, the immersion is often done in tubs or buckets, and after a few days when the clay has completely dissolved in the water, it is put in pots or home gardens.

    This popular festival is also a source of income for various types of people. Artists get an opportunity to exhibit their art. Cultural programmes are organized and it gives a platform for budding artists to reach out toaudiences and customers.

    In Karnataka also Ganesh Chaturthi is considered to be the most important festival. Each house celebrates it by keeping idols for 1, 3, 5, 10 or even 21 days. The mandapa where the idol is kept is decorated beautifully by flowers. Laddoos, Modaka, Kadubu and karanjis are offered to Lord Ganesha till the Ganesh Visarjan takes place.

    In Telangana, Ganesh idols are made of clay, turmeric and evenPlaster of Paris. Here too, the celebrations last for 1, 3, 5, 7 or 11 days. On the day of GaneshaVisarjan, a huge crowd accompanies the idols and takes them to the Tank band Road and immerse them in the Hussain Sagar.

    In Tamil Nadu, Ganesh Chaturthi is popularly known as Pillayar Chaturthi or Vinayak Chaturthi. It is celebrated in the month of Aavani on the fourth day of the new moon. The clay or paper mache idols of LordGanesha, which are not more than 13 feet high, are adorned with garlands and Bermuda grass. At some places, the idols are made out of coconuts and other organic products. They are offered laddoo and Modak and also other dishes. People frequent the temples during the entire celebration period. In Chennai and also in other parts of the state, the idols of Lord Ganesha are put up at public places also. They are worshipped for some days and then on a Sunday, they are immersed in the Bay of Bengal. Ganesh Chaturthi is regarded as one of the most important festivals in Tamil Nadu and especially in Chennai.

    In Kerala, in the month of Chingam, Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated as Vinyakha Chaturthi or LamboodharaPiranalu. People perform milk abhishekam on the Ganesha idols. For the visarjan, the idols are taken in the form of a procession from PazhavangadiGanapathi Temple to the Shankumugham beach and immersed there. After Nivedyam, people are served a grand meal.

    In Goa, Ganesh Chaturthi is known as Chavath and also Parab. It is celebrated on the third day of Bhadrapada. Women observe fast on this day and they worship Haritalika along with Shiva. The festival is marked by aarti, puja and feasts. The celebrations include giving gifts, decorations, fireworks and also distribution of sweets.Ganesha idols are immersed in tanks, sea or rivers on the second day in most places, whereas, in some places it may be on the 5th, 7th or 9th or 11th day.

    Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated not only in India, but all over the world by passionatedevotees. In the year 2005, in London, The Vishwa Hindu Temple celebrated Ganesh Chaturthi and the idol was immersed in the river Thames. Similar celebrations take place at Liverpool, USA, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Canada, Malaysia, and Singapore etc. Cultural and devotional programmes are organized, decorations are done, weekend celebrations are arranged and processions are taken out on the occasion. The festive dishes of Modak, Karanji, Modakkam, Laddoo, Panakam, Vadapappu, Chalividi; which have rice flour, jaggery, cardamom and coconut as the main ingredients, are offered to Lord Ganesha. These offerings to god are called Naivedyam.

    Ganesh Chaturthi is a festival which brings happiness and prosperity and the devotees; no matter where they are, participate in all the rituals with full devotion and enthusiasm, thereby making it an important festival of bonding among people.

  • Ganesh Chathurthi

    Ganesh Chathurthi, also known as Vinayaka Chathurthi is the celebration of Lord Ganesha’s Birthday. The Hindu God Ganesh with the Elephant head is a popular God among the Hindus. He is also known as the God of knowledge, wisdom, prosperity, and good fortune.His birthday falls during the Hindu Month of Bhadra (August-September). This ten day long festival is celebrated with fervour all over the country but more so in the western part of the country, especially Maharashtra.

    The History

    It is believed that Lord Ganesh, son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, was born on the fourth day (chaturthi) of the bright fortnight of the Hindu lunar month of Magh. Thus, the festival dedicated to the worship of Lord Ganesha on this chaturthi day is named as Ganesh Chaturthi.

    Parvati, in the absence of Lord Shiva, used her sandalwood paste to create Ganesha and put him to guard while she had gone for bathing. While she was gone, Lord Shiva got into a fight with Ganesha as he did not allow Shivato enter, as per his mother’s orders. Enraged, Lord Shiva cut off Ganesha’s head. When Parvati saw this sight, she took the form of Goddess Kali and threatened to destroy the world.

    Shiva right away sent out his ganas (attendants) to get him the head of the first living creature they could find. Well, the first living creature happened to be an elephant. As instructed, theganaschopped the elephant’shead and brought it back to Shiva. Shiva placed it on Ganesh’s body, and brought him back to life.All the Lords blessed Ganesha and the day is celebrated as his birthday. Ganesh Chathurathi owes its origin to the Maratha Reign, where Chatrapati Shivaji started the festival.

    The Festival

    Ganesh Chaturthi is a time of immense excitement. People bring home idols of Lord Ganesh and worship it in a special way. The worship cum celebration is done for a day and a half, 3 days, 5 days, 7 days, or 11 days according to the family tradition. It is believed that the Lord brings in good fortune and prosperity with him. On the last day, the idol is taken out in a lively, colourful procession and immersed in the sea. This symbolizes seeing -off the Lord in his journey towards his abode in Mount Kailasas hetakes away with him the all the troubles of man.People of all community celebrate Ganesh Chathurthi Festival.

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    However, today large public pandals (temperoryshrines) are created and large clay idols are installed and worshipped for ten days. Various poojas are performed among the chanting of Vedas. Various kinds of sweets especially Lord Ganesh’s favourite Modaks are offered to him and the devotees. During the ten-day festival, such venues also serve as camps for charity tothe poor.Medical camps, blood banks, dramatic performances etc. can be seen all over the celebrations.

    Shop For This Kandistri Ganapathy Antique Finish - Click Here Shop For This Kandistri Ganapathy Antique Finish - Click Here

    Poompuhar offers a wide range of idols and artefacts of Lord Ganesh. Here you will find Ganesh Idols in brass, wood, stone, antique finish and a variety of materials. The favourite deity of millions in various poses will not fail to enthral you.

  • Revival of Our Handicrafts Industry: A Boon for Indian Artisans

    The handicraft sector is the second largest employment generator in villages, the first being agriculture. This is the largest decentralised and unorganized sector of the Indian economy. It is the craft of the people symbolising the inner desire and fulfilment of that particular community. These artisans form the backbone of the nonfarm rural economy.

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    India is a country that is by tradition very rich in art and craft. About seven million artisans in the country are engaged in some kind of handicraft. These handicrafts include pottery, mats, metal ware, weaving woodwork, etc. Most artisans have learned their skills from their parents and grandparents since cultural and family associations have a greater influence in India than market requirement or training. The handicraft industry is a home based one which requires very little expenditure, training or infrastructure to set up. The locally available materials and the individual skill is what is needed to make handicrafts.

    There were times when Indian handicraft received royal and aristocratic patronage, which is why Indian handicrafts are quite in demand the world over. Every piece of handicraft holds secrets, myths, and faiths that have transferred through generations both by the artisans and through people associated with it.

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    The agricultural community depends on the handicraft as a secondary source of income in case of drought, flood famine, or lean harvest.

    In the recent years, there has been a decrease in the number of artisans engaged in the handicraft industry. These artisans are engaged in manual labour work or are unemployed, giving up their high skills. One of the major reasons for this change is the commercially and machine-made cheaper alternatives available in the market. The limited exposure of the artisans to the market, loss of urban consumer interest, competition has also added to the decline of the handicraft industry. Today India adds only 2% to the global handicrafts market. Thus, you find that many of these artisans are living in abject poverty and economic conditions.

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    The government, the private, and the non-profit organizations have played a major role in trying to revive the handicraft industry. However, the impact has been isolated and limited. Much effort is required to completely revamp the handicraft industry using rural resources. Various organizations are helping by setting up exhibitions both domestically and globally to showcase the crafts produced by these artisans. These organizations are creating marketing opportunities for craftsmen to sell their products at a better price to a wider consumer base. They are using unique business models to create these market linkages from artisan to consumer, thus being profitable to all involved, especially the artisan.

    With the advancement of communication networks all across the country, it can be used positively to the artisan’s advantage. New designs, ideas, orders, and markets can be within the reach of the artisan with the right training. Educating customers too is an important part of revitalizing the handicraft industry. Today online marketing is a buzzword to buy and sell products. Some organizations are already connecting buyers and sellers directly online.

    The handicraft industry is very important for the country as it is the second largest employment generator in the rural sector. Efforts must be made to revitalize and develop it to its full potential. It is also an industry that helps to showcase the rich cultural heritage of the country. The new initiatives can help boost the lives of millions of artisans in the country.

  • Craft Galaxy ‪Exhibition

    Craft Galaxy exhibition grandly inaugurated and press meet speech given today by Th. T.P.Rajesh IAS District Collector Krishnagiri.

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  • Inaugural function of Ganesh Darshan exhibition

    Photos from the inaugural function of "Ganesh Darshan" exhibition at Shri Sunderbai Hall, Church Gate, Mumbai from 27th August to 8th September.

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