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Delhiwale: Cottage Emporium, the ultimate mall for the aesthete

The Central Cottage Industries Emporium on Janpath is home to some exquitie handicrafts, representing Indian traditional arts.

delhi Updated: Jul 31, 2018 14:29 IST
Mayank Austen Soofi
Mayank Austen Soofi
Hindustan Times
delhiwale,Cottage Emporium,Janpath
The government-owned Central Cottage Industries Emporium is situated at Janpath .

The most exquisite objects in India aren’t always parked away in locked glass cases in some museum or at the house of a private collector.

Here at the extensive Central Cottage Industries Emporium you can literally feel with your naked hands the texture of a gold-plated Vishnu or perhaps an exquisitely crafted handwoven sari so expensive that only a Maharani can afford it.

This government-owned enterprise at Janpath is well worth an entire day browsing from one hall to the next, hemmed in only by the presence of beauty, sometimes too much beauty.

There’s that slender silver chain that resembles a string made of air. While on another floor you’ll run across a hefty teak dining table.

This afternoon, the lobby is crammed with original paintings from Karnataka. A “pure gold” painted work from Radha Krishna of Tanjore is startling in its absolute splendour. While in the woodcrafts department you’ll almost certainly come face-to-face with a sandalwood elephant.

Hand-woven carpets and durries abound, some casually flung onto a sofa. Which is what you may want to do after awhile, as a sort of psychological break from the vastness of the emporium and its treasures.

Being the rat race denizens of a smoggy hard-luck city, it is a great relief to walk amid this world and realise that there are people still occupied in distilling their life and experiences into creating endearing objects of traditional art. One doesn’t even have to buy any of these fine things. Just gazing upon them unhurriedly is happiness.

First Published: Jul 31, 2018 14:28 IST