Research scholar, University of Calicut
Art and Craft in tourism:
A study based on Irringal Art and Craft village at Calicut
The land of Kerala has a rich tradition in arts. All types of art forms were cherished here and among these, the handicrafts attracted the world centuries ago. The handicraft works of Keralites using tree roots, fibers, metals, and wood are unparalleled. In our traditional rituals and festivals, various craft makings are essential. However, during the period of British rule our self-reliant villages and cottage industry totally collapsed and gave way to the imported industrial goods from England or other European countries. Nevertheless, no steps have been taken into account by the government to improve the situation of handicrafts and cottage industry til date. Now the Kerala tourism department has put its steps into this line. The Kerala tourism department started ‘Art and Craft village’ at Irringal, Vadakara in Calicut district. It is an attempt to show casing the skills and products before the tourists and increasing the selling of handicrafts, increasing the earnings and creating more employment opportunities to the traditional artisans.
The aim of this paper is to find out how the tourism department arranged the handicraft items and artisans in the realm of craft village. The Art and Craft village is expected to attract native and foreign tourists. The data of this study were collected through the field visit done in the Irringal Art and Craft village at Calicut. The website of Kerala tourism department has been also used for this study. The framework of the paper is developed from observations, the first hand information from the stall owners and the managing team on the bases of unstructured interviews of the traditional artisans and trained artisans in the Art and Craft village.
Today almost in all states of India, the rural communities, and peripheral areas are facing the challenges of continuous economic development. The primary sector ‘agriculture’ has totally collapsed due to different reasons. Therefore, the government and planning authorities recognize tourism as a better solution to sustain rural economies. Because in the recent years tourism has become one of the fastest growing sectors of the world economy and is appreciated for its contribution to the rural economic development.
About 70% of Indian population lives in villages. Many of these villages possess a magnetic bundle of tourist resources- traditions, customs, arts, crafts, culture, long and prestigious history, rites, rituals and so forth. The government of India of late realized what the rural India could offer to the world. In the 10th plan, tourism has been identified as one of the major sources for employment generation and promotion of sustainable livelihood- especially rural tourism. Some states have taken some initiatives to develop necessary infrastructure and to promote rural tourism, such as Goa, Kerala, Hariyana, Uttaranchal, Tamilnadu, and Assam. In Kerala, the tourism department started Art and Craft village to promote tourism and save the rural communities. Irringal Art and Craft village, Calicut is the first of this kind in all over India.
Design of Irringal Art and Craft village
In the modern tourism, shopping is essential. It is a habit of tourists. For remembering the visited place, all tourists bring and keep some valuable materials from the visited site. That is why the shopping got an important place in the tourism attractions. ‘Sargalaya,’ the Art and Craft village at Irringal, is a production-cum-training-cum-marketing centre of handicraft products made of vazhanaru (plantain fibers), kulavazha (waterhyacinth), pananaru (palm fibers) , thazha or kaithayola (screw pine), mannu(soil), kalimannu (clay), wood , eetta (reed), mula (bamboo) chakiri (coir),chooral (cane), chiratta (coccunut shell), coccunut tree, vaikkol...