WINDS OF CHANGE: Srinagar on UNESCO creative city list

Srinagar is now part of elite 295 UNESCO Creative Cities. It recognizes innovation, sustainability and creativity as primary drivers for inclusive urbanization.

The Kashmir Valley has been embroiled in controversies and turmoil mostly sponsored by neighbouring countries since the last 30 years. The disturbance in the valley led to decline in tourism, especially amongst the foreign tourists. However, the abrogation of Article 370 came as a ray of hope for the people situated in Kashmir. Trade, arts, culture have thrived like never before with unprecedented investment from all sides. The tackling of the pandemic in the valley too has been lauded on national and international forums.

With the Valley opening up to tourists, it is on its way to realize the full potential in terms of tourism and trade. The people of Kashmir have preserved their legacy of fine arts through ages. The Kashmir Valley is well known across the world for various intricate craft work and folk art such as the papier Mache industry, the textile industry, wood carving work, the exquisite Pashmina wool and many more. Apart from this, the Valley is a beautiful amalgamation of old and new, where folk music, lore and traditions have been preserved, while adapting to the modern times. All these have led to the city of Srinagar being listed on the UNESCO creative cities network for craft and folk art. This is a prestigious recognition for the age-old heritage and craft in the Valley.

The artisans of the valley will benefit from this honour as people globally would recognize the exponential growth options in Kashmir as well as the intricate work undertaken by them. This puts Srinagar on a global map of selected few cities in the world that have been bestowed with this honour. Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi congratulated the people of Kashmir on achieving this feat by a tweet where he stated that – he was ‘delighted that Srinagar joined the UNESCO Creative Cities Network with a special mention for the vibrant cultural ethos of Srinagar.’

Srinagar is now part of elite 295 UNESCO Creative Cities. It recognizes innovation, sustainability and creativity as primary drivers for inclusive urbanization. The fields focussed upon are Design, Film, Literature, Media Arts, Craft & Folk Art and Music. It is the sixth Indian city to find itself included on this list which speaks volumes of the Indian culture and arts. This UCCN tag shall be instrumental in getting international funding, development of craft universities and pitching craft as a product for trade globally. This year three other Indian cities, apart from Srinagar too had applied for this prestigious tag, however, only Srinagar qualified as per the standards and decision of UNESCO.

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