Shimla: Bringing together an array of Himachali products, Oberoi’s Hotel Wildflower Hall weeklong exhibit cum sale – Shimla Haat (held from May 26 to June 2) presented opportunities for exhibiting them before high end tourists visiting the hills this summer.
Speaking to Hill Post about the initiative taken Sumit Joshi, general manager of Wildflower Hall says, “it has been a self rewarding experience and a humble way of contributing towards the region we are operating in.”
In a quiet hall that is paneled in Burma teak, stalls displaying working artists creating the famed Kangra miniature paintings, a handloom weaving the delicate geographical indicator fabric – the popular hand woven Kullu Shawl, thread and needle women artists painstakingly bringing alive clone designs and figures on both surfaces of the Chamba Rumal, wood craftsman displaying freezes of heritage architectural buildings in miniatures, bottled smacking preserves made of Himalayan temperate fruits and others were set up.
Guests staying at the starred properties of Hotel Oberoi Cecil, Hotel Oberi Clarkes and Wildflower Hall, besides a few walk-in tourists got the opportunity to see and partake of these rare exhibits.
Himachal Haat Stall Briefs
Kangra Art Promotion Society
Keeping a long tradition going, these paintings made by young artist is poetry in line and color. Kangra paintings, inspired by Hindu religious literature, are a 15th century art form that peaked in the 16th & 17th century.
Resident artists Sushil Kumar and Pawandeep Bansal having been creating masterpieces on this extremely delicate art from for the last 7 years at the society studio at Dharamshala.
Sentiment of love is the main virtue brought out in these paintings. Use of natural pigments and brushes, use of real gold and handmade paper is unique to this art form.
This all women nonprofit organization backed by an Austrian Dr Barbara has 35 members working mainly with rural communities since 1989 from their village near Dharamshala.
These married and single women with Nishta make handmade bags, which are sold to several organizations on demand and order.
The oroganisation also runs a homeopathy clinic, is active in imparting computer education and works in recycling polythene, to keep the hill environment clean.
Him Parvat Handloom
A master weaver, Ram Nath has been running this village level hand loom enterprise for the past 26 years.
Kullu woolen shawls, stoles, muffler, caps and jackets are the main products made by them
He uses yak wool, rabbit wool and sheep wool to make these products on hand loom with the wool being hand spun and hand woven.
A resident of Jaloora village in Kullu valley, Deepak Kapoor is a master wood craftsman specializing in making replica’s of famous hill temples and other heritage buildings.
Kotgarh Fruit Bageecha
Throwing up more than a decade old career in the media, professionals Kartik and Anuradha moved out of Singapore in 2012 to set up this village level enterprise at Pamlai village, in the apple growing heartland of Kotgarh, near Thanedhar.
Their dream project, a boutique fruit processing unit where ethnic recipes products are passionately handmade by local self-help groups has caught the attention of many taste buds.
Enjoyed locally, the duo aspire to make these delicious fruit recipes available to consumers everywhere.
A dying native footwear form has hope of surviving so long as Ritesh Sharma, with 10 years of experiences, continues to make these special handmade leather chappals in the heritage Chamba style.
Mrs Indu Sharma with over 15 years of experience, specializes in making the extremely intricate and artistic Chamba Roomal’s, an Indian napkin with exact cloned embroidery on both its sides.
The Chamba Roomal today is a rare heritage art form, mostly used for display purposes.
Belonging to the famous Pahari School of Painting, Parikshit Sharma with over 18 years of experience is a Chamba artist and designer specializing in Barohli paintings and designing the Chamba Roomal’s before they are set to delicate embroidery.
Dinesh Attry, a fine arts graduate from Chandigarh Art College with a home studio at Shimla, had set up a stall that displayed realistic paintings in acrylic, oil paints, water colours and charcoal sketches. His paintings about birds, animals and plants have endeared him to foresters, who regularly assign him commissioned jobs.
Sumit Joshi, the Hotel Wildflower Hall general manger disclosed that besides the brisk sales made at the Haat exhibit, the initiative has also brought about healthy business tie-up outcomes
The Hotel Wildflower Hall management has decided to source Kullu Caps from Him Parvat Handloom to be given as gift items to visiting guests, the Kotgarh Fruit Bageecha products are to be used in the hotel and also supplied in other Oberoi hotels, the HPMC fruit drinks have been introduced as welcome drinks, said Joshi.
The wood craft and Kangra miniatures would be displayed at the hotel boutique where guests can readily buy them from, he said.
All the travel and staying expenses of the stall exhibitors for the week long show cum sale exhibition were borne by the hotel.