Capital of the State of Rajasthan in India, Jaipur is home to a population of 3 million inhabitants. In the early 18th century, the city was called the House of the 36 Industries (Chattis Karkhanas) for being an historical trade centre largely supported by crafts and folk art, including painting, carving and jewelry. This period has shaped the city and is honoured through the dedication of specific streets and markets to each of these industries. Today, this legacy continues to bear witness to the diversity and vitality of the field of crafts and folk art, which employs about 175,000 people working in around 53,500 workshops.
Jaipur views creative industries as a means to sustain its rich cultural heritage, passing on many traditions through local festivals and fairs which have always been embedded in the city’s cultural life. The Jaipur International Heritage Festival is the best-known event showcasing traditional works of crafts and folk art, as well as contemporary works. This event puts particular emphasis on fostering partnerships between the public and private sectors and civil society, as well as developing interdisciplinary approaches between crafts and folk art and design. Jaipur is also home to the Indian Institute of Crafts and Design (IICD), the largest resource centre in the country, which is currently undertaking cross-cutting research and offering residencies.
To further protect and promote crafts and folk art, the Municipality is developing many initiatives, including the Heritage Walks. This project aims to give new life to the ancient streets and markets, thereby improving artisans’ working conditions and supporting direct selling. In addition, there are plans for establishing a Global Art Square in the heart of the city, creating a unique hub for new generations of craftspeople to sustain Jaipur’s artistic traditions.
As a Creative City of Crafts and Folk Art, Jaipur envisages:
- enhancing the working conditions and status of craftsmen through the Citizens Outreach Cell and the Heritage Walks, to foster a sustainable urban and socio-economic development based on direct selling and workers’ well-being;
- establishing the onsite and online museum Jaipur Haat, as well as the Crafts and Folk Art Gallery at the Jaipur International Airport, to facilitate international showcasing of local works of crafts and folk art; and
- encouraging exchange of knowledge and knowhow with other Creative Cities of Crafts and Folk Art, notably through local and international festivals and fairs.