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Bangles of every colour; red, green, blue, yellow, gold-lined, edged silver, you name it the city has it.

If you're even a little familiar with the Indian culture you'll be aware of the traditional bracelets made of glass worn by women in India. Firozabad, a small industrial town approximately 200 km from the capital of India, Delhi is famous for its glass industry and especially its bangles. Thus it is rightfully known as "The Bangle City" or the "The Glass City of India". This city had is notable for the production of the bulk amount of indigenous glass. Bangles of every colour; red, green, blue, yellow, gold-lined, edged silver, you name it the city has it. Gorgeous bangles with intricate designs and rich colours are the unique art crafted by the hands of thousands of artisans living in Firozabad.

Making glass useful and a decorative object has been the city's tradition for more than 200 years. 75% of Firozabad's population including children are directly or indirectly involved in the traditional glasswork industry. Bangle making is a household business with generations passing on traditional techniques, from grandparents to parents and then to children. The city employs thousands of craftsmen and around town. Some of the town's units run 24 hours. There are about 150 bangle-making and decoration units in the city. A single bangle is expected to move to pass as many as 45 to 50 hands before turning it from a pure lump of glass into a piece of disposable jewellery.

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Chikankari is world-famous for its intricacy and beauty.

Lucknow, a city filled with the mystic beauty of its traditional arts and crafts that have been nurtured for centuries and continues to flourish. The rich Indian history becomes visible as one takes a walk in the lanes of Lucknow. From humble tea stalls to sizzling kebabs and the endless beauty of mesmerizing Chikankari fabric. It is a place with diverse art and culture that have evolved over the centuries. It is the birthplace of world-famous delicate embroidery, Chikankari. The Chikan work in Lucknow is older than 200 years and later it was patronized by Nawabs. There are approximately 5000 families involved in the Chikankari embroidery industry, in and around the villages of Lucknow. The majority of artisans belong to the local Muslim community.

Chikan translates to the word 'embroidery'. It is simple and precise handwork on a piece of garment. The technique gives a garment a very subtle and classy feel. Chinakari is an eminent craft amongst various other handloom specialities of India, which has been popular amongst most renowned people from royalties in ancient India to celebrities of today. The main essence of the garment is its simple design, and while motifs are now added to make the garment look rich, it remains a simple and affordable fabric choice. Chikankari is world-famous for its intricacy and beauty.

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The Kotagiri hills where the tribes reside

Other than the Todas, the Nilgiri hills are also home to the Kota tribe. This tribe populates the hills in nearly seven separate villages, and are much more private compared to the Toda tribe. They are not known for any particular craft, but certainly share linguistic traits with their tribal contemporaries.

The Kotas are believed to be a society that emerged from the Tamils and the Malayalis. They also share ancestry with the Kannadigas. They speak a dialect of Tamil which places more emphasis on the sound produced from the tongue touching the palate. Their words are structured similar to the Tamil form, but have an added click sound from the way it is pronounced. Their language is officially called Kov-M-ant.

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AIACA is an apex body that has been working on a range of issues, since 2004, to promote market-led growth for the crafts sector; and increased incomes, and improved living standards of crafts producers. IANS

A recent survey report brought out by All India Artisans and Craftworkers Welfare Association (AIACA) has detailed cash flow crunches, wage losses, cancellation/withholding of orders, supply disruptions in the raw material value chain, and uncertainties regarding shipment (both domestic and export) to be some of the key challenges highlighted by craft enterprises after the Covid-19 lockdown.

Broad recommendations emerging from the survey include expectations of a stimulus from the government for craft-based enterprises, including measures like reduction/deferral in GST across categories, soft loans and interest-free working capital loans to aid production and the easing of access to raw material supplies.

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