Immerse yourself in the traditional arts and crafts of India at the National Handicrafts and Handlooms Museum, also known as the National Crafts Museum. The largest craft museum in India, the building itself was designed by the renowned architect Charles Correa, who incorporated a blend of modern architecture with traditional Indian design. The museum was championed by the famed freedom fighter, Smt Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay, who brought together diverse craftsmen from across India to help preserve the country’s traditional arts and crafts.
Today, the museum boasts over 35 000 pieces made by local artists and craftsmen. The lively paintings, intricate embroideries, abundant textiles and animated sculptures made from dark clay, smooth stone and rich wood all reflect various aspects of local culture. Some of the most renowned exhibits in the museum include rare, centuries-old Kashmiri dushalas shawls, precious regalia decorated with jewels and remnants of 300-year-old Bhoota clothing from Karnataka, used in folk dances that worshipped the spirits.
The museum is also home to a carefully re-created village complex typical of rural India, where the craftsmen employed by the museum work and sell their wares to museum visitors. Every month, different folk artists are invited to the museum for exhibitions. The museum also has research and documentation facilities, a conservation laboratory, a photo laboratory, a reference library and a massive auditorium.
Drink in your fill of the various displays and browse through the well-stocked gift shop before relaxing at the Café Lota, with its artistic décor and calm ambience. Delight in traditional Indian fare with a continental twist as you savour a decadent palak patta chaat that combines vermicelli with green mint chutney, with syrup-infused apple jalebi for dessert.