The dying traditions of Jammu woodcraft come alive at IITF 2021
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The dying traditions of Jammu woodcraft come alive at IITF 2021

The wooden carved door at the stall is a splendid piece of Dogra craftsmanship

The dying traditions of Jammu woodcraft come alive at IITF 2021

The IITF 2021 came to its end on November 27, 2021. If you were lucky enough to visit the fair, you know what all it had, and if you didn't, well, you missed something good. This is our effort to introduce you to something worth appreciating at this year’s edition of the Trade Fair if you missed it.

Every year, the India International Trade Fair (IITF) brings with it an opportunity to explore lesser-known cultures and traditions from different regions of the country. While strolling through the fair, we came across one such unique stall at the Jammu and Kashmir pavilion. Though expectedly, this pavilion was bombarded with a huge variety of shawls, what grabbed our attention was a stall showcasing wooden handicrafts.

A big wooden carved door with impressive craftsmanship was the centrepiece of this stall. The stall also had other well-crafted wooden creations in the form of boxes, printing blocks and more. We were told that this impressive-looking wooden door is a piece of Dogra craftsmanship from Jammu. The carvings on the doors were worth giving close attention to, where minute details were needed to be explored. Two carved lion heads were very noticeable. They were inspired by two such lion heads from the famous Raghunath temple of Jammu. These Jammu wooden handicrafts are created on a variety of wood from teak, shisham and deodar. 

Sonali, a member of Jammu Handicrafts society at the J&K Pavilion says, "I am basically from Jammu, and I love my culture. Through this Jammu handicraft stall, I want to inform people about my Dogra culture. A culture that is slowly and gradually, fading away." Sonali seemed very proud of her culture and wanted to do something to protect it. Says she, “We want to inspire the younger generation and instil greater zeal and zest in them so that they work to revive our Jammu's lost cultural aspect. Over the years, the masses have somehow forgotten about the rich heritage of Jammu, and I hope one day my culture will reclaim its lost significance ".

Jammu handicrafts, society, is owned by Major Vishva Anand, who lives in Jammu.

The main attraction of their stall was the carved door. In addition, the essence of Jammu's culture could also be seen clearly in the handicrafts and clothes on display. Every piece of clothing seemed to have been created with painstaking effort. 

Calico painting from Jammu is a well-known block printing tradition. It comes from a place called Samba, located around 40 kilometres from Jammu on the Jammu Pathankot route. Here vegetable colour printing on handwoven cotton cloth with wooden blocks is used as cool, comfy floor/bed covers and is in high demand.