A road to Sargaalaya: The other side of God’s own country

Default, Tourism, Travel — By on September 25, 2012 at 9:15 am
Sargaalaya Kerala Arts & Crafts Village, Iringal, near Kozikhode, is an off-grid retreat waiting to be discovered. An initiative of Kerala Tourism, the 20-acre centre brings together Kerala’s arts and crafts on a single platform, offering not only to the tourists to explore Kerala’s craftsmanship riches but also creates opportunities for craftsmen as well as for the revival of many an arts and crafts in Kerala in line with government’s sustainable tourism criteria. Rajesh T, General Manager, Marketing, Sargaalaya Kerala Arts & Crafts Village, sheds light on this unique village that boasts of a little-bit from the whole of kerala!

How do you look at the potential of promoting Kerala’s art and craft?

Kerala’s artisans create exceptional traditional handicrafts. Kerala is famous for its remarkable and intricate craftsmanship in various materials ie. Coconut Shell, Bell Metal, Bamboo, Pottery, Coconut Stem, Metal Mirror and various Natural Fibre Crafts and Mural Paintings etc. There are no branded arts and crafts products in Kerala with consistent quality and standard designs. Since the tourism industry is growing fast, there is immense scope for Kerala arts and crafts as souvenirs. Linkage between tourism and handicrafts has not yet been completely explored, understood and developed with a resultant loss of important revenue and job opportunities. Most of the tourists are interested to take back home arts and crafts of Kerala as mementoes or gifts. Crafts Village, Iringal, first of its kind in Kerala is going to be the hub of activities of Artisan and craftsmen of different trades practicing in Kerala.
What are Sargaalaya’s unique offering?

Sargaalaya Kerala Arts & Crafts Village, Iringal, unveils the crafts and craftsmanship of Kerala. This Craft Village is a resource centre of craftsmen in Kerala’s traditional handicraft making skills, all under one roof. The focus here is on creating a tourist destination centered on hands-on interaction between tourists and artisans, who create, display and market their crafts on site. The strategy being, to make our traditional crafts an integral part of the tourism experience while also providing sustainable development for the artisans economically. Broad Objectives of establishing this Marketing Centre are: A road to Sargaalaya: The other side of God’s own country Sargaalaya Kerala Arts & Crafts Village, Iringal, near Kozikhode, is an off-grid retreat waiting to be discovered. An initiative of Kerala Tourism, the 20-acre centre brings together Kerala’s arts and crafts on a single platform, offering not only to the tourists to explore Kerala’s craftsmanship riches but also creates opportunities for craftsmen as well as for the revival of many an arts and crafts in Kerala in line with government’s sustainable tourism criteria. Rajesh T, General Manager, Marketing, Sargaalaya Kerala Arts & Crafts Village, sheds light on this unique village that boasts of a little-bit from the whole of kerala! 1. Showcasing the qualified eco-friendly and ethnic craft products throughout the year. 2. Acting as a centre for bulk buyers. 3. Market information gathering & dissemination centre for artisans and entrepreneurs. 4. Establish it as a centre of E-commerce in the trade of the crafts of Kerala internationally. 5. Venue for internationally promoted Melas & Fairs. 6. Centre for attending Business Process Outsourcing. 7. Centre for Quality Certification and Warehousing Thus Sargaalaya is not only helping the artisans working permanently in the Village, but also support artisans from various parts of Kerala by marketing their quality arts and crafts made from their place. It can lend itself to the creation of a centre for teaching and developing such skills through appropriate skill development courses with the artisans as faculty. This could open up a new revenue stream for them while also creating opportunities for interactive learning.

What initiatives have you taken to promote the art and crafts of Kerala?

As a part of the marketing initiatives, we have participated at various exhibitions in Indian Cities including New Delhi. We have organized mega handicrafts expo & cultural fiesta titled “SARGOLSAV” mainly to market handicrafts made by artisans of the village. More than 100 artisans participated in the SARGOLSAV-2011. This first edition of crafts expo was very much instrumental in increasing sales of handicrafts made from the village and in creating awareness and appreciation of the products by the mass market. More than 65,000 persons visited the Village during the event. Eminent artisans from various parts of India are also invited to showcase their crafts. Next edition of SARGOLSAV is being organized as a national level arts & crafts festival by inviting eminent artisans from various locations of India in January 2013. As part of this two week festival, art & crafts exhibition and live demonstration, painters & sculptors camps, theme based paintings by group of artists, painting competitions for children, national level crafts seminar, celebrity painter’s meet & cultural programs by eminent artists from various states of India focused to promote national integration etc. will be organised. How has been the response to the packages that you are offering? We are getting lot of enquiries for packages offered by Sargaalaya from tourists and tour operators. Please highlight the visitors profile in terms of domestic and international tourists. About 1.30 Lakh people have visited Sargaalaya since April 2011. This includes foreigners and more than 23,000 students.

1. Showcasing the qualified eco-friendly and ethnic craft products
throughout the year.
2. Acting as a centre for bulk buyers.
3. Market information gathering & dissemination centre for artisans and
entrepreneurs.
4. Establish it as a centre of E-commerce in the trade of the crafts of
Kerala internationally.
5. Venue for internationally promoted Melas & Fairs.
6. Centre for attending Business Process Outsourcing.
7. Centre for Quality Certification and Warehousing
Facilities at Sargaalaya
· 27 Handicrafts making huts
· Open area to accommodate
200 stalls.
· Parking for more than 100
vehicles
· Mini Conference Hall –100 pax
· Open Air Theatre – 900 pax

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