The Indian textile ministry has started work on the construction of craft handloom villages on important tourist circuits across Jammu & Kashmir, Assam, Himachal Pradesh and Kerala to encourage integrated and sustainable development of handlooms, crafts and tourism. Work is under way at Mohapara, Kullu, Srinagar, Kollam and Rampur in Bodhgaya.

“Craft handloom villages will be able to offer traditional hand-woven products to the consumers and tourists by inspiring knowledge about authentic weaving technique through ‘hands on’ experience,” according to a note prepared by the ministry.

“These craft villages are to be set up with the cooperation from the respective state governments,” the note said.

The ongoing exercise is in line with the announcement made by textile minister Smriti Irani last year of the government’s intention to develop ten craft and handloom villages so that handloom products are not limited to clothes or home furnishing alone.

The idea is to have tourists visit these handloom villages to not only learn about the weavers but also contribute to the Aatmanirbhar Bharat mission by buying more of these items.

To help weavers, exporters, manufacturers and designers to create new designs in step with global demand, the ministry is also setting up Design Resource Centres (DRCs). A DRC is to come up in Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, while seven others have already been set up at Delhi, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Varanasi, Guwahati, Bhubaneshwar and Mumbai.