JAIPUR, AUGUST 10, 2022.
Long heralded as the custodians of Indian heritage, the history of Indian Hotels Company (IHCL), India’s largest hospitality company, is tightly woven into the fabric of India’s rich culture. Led by the values of Paathya – IHCL’s ESG+ framework – one of IHCL’s key focus areas is preserving and promoting India’s intangible cultural heritage. With this objective, IHCL has collaborated with UNESCO to offer experiential tours for travellers at various IHCL hotels including Rambagh Palace, Jaipur.
Special itineraries allow in-house Palace guests to experience an authentic Kalbelia performance at the tribal village, or learn about the intricacies of blue pottery making or even try their hand at Bagru hand block printing at the local artisan villages, a short distance from Jaipur.
Speaking about these unique experiences in collaboration with UNESCO, Mr. Ashok S Rathore, Area Director-Jaipur & Ajmer and General Manager –Rambagh Palace, stated, “The Pink City of Jaipur is world renowned, not just for its rich history, but also for the many local arts that have originated here. As part of IHCL’s Paathya initiatives, we are delighted to collaborate with UNESCO to conserve and retain the indigenous crafts of the respective artisans, and offer guests an opportunity to understand the intricacies and legacies of these centuries-old art.”
Each of the three itineraries offered at Rambagh Palace have been curated so that guests can experience the living heritage of Jaipur’s crafts better.
Blue Pottery, a Turko-Persian tradition, has been kept alive by the artisanshailing from a small village of Sanganer, about 15 kms from Jaipur. Named after the eye-catching ultramarine blue dye, derived from cobalt oxide, to colour the pottery, is what gives this art form its name. Unconventionally crafted from quartz and not clay, each piece is painstakingly fashioned by hand. Artisans deftly paint Mughal-inspired patterns as well as animal and bird motifs on a variety of plates, vases, glazed tiles, and more.
Very close to the city of Jaipur is the village of Bagru, which houses the extremely skilled artisans of the Chhipa community. These artisans are known for their block printing and mud resist printing techniques, practiced for over 500 years now. The artisans use Sheesham-wood blocks that are hand-carved with intricate motifs, which are then dipped into natural dyes, also made by artisans, before being imprinted onto the textiles. In the Dabu technique, a locally prepared mix of mud is used as a colour-resistant on the textiles. With significant manual labour and sun-drying involved, both these techniques consume time and effort.
Kalbelia dance is a cultural expression of erstwhile snake charmers, who often live outside villages and cities in makeshift camps called Deras. Performed primarily by the women of the tribe, the dance involves imitating the movements of a serpent to the enchanting tunes of a traditional Poongi or Been instrument played by the men. The sight of the women gracefully swaying in their distinctive black lehengas and elaborate jewellery to the reverberating rhythm of traditional Rajasthani folk instruments, is what makes this dance form unique.
For more details about IHCL’s collaboration with UNESCO under Paathya, which will see the adoption of 100% ofIntangible Cultural Heritage (IHC) projects in the geographies the company operates in, please visit here.