Dastkari Kendra, Opposite Village Kutalpura Maliyan, Ranthambhore, Rajasthan

Dastkari Kendra, Opposite Village Kutalpura Maliyan, Ranthambhore, Rajasthan

On the way towards Ranthambhore National Park I saw a display board: Dastkar – A women’s self-help initiative since 1989. The wish was to visit and a day when I along with Gopal ji – a local on the way via local bus.

Dastkar is situated at Kutalpura Maliyan village (close-by Ranthambhore National Park).

Dastkar is on the way towards Sher Bagh and Aman-i-Khás. One can reach via hired taxi, bus, auto, jeep directly from Sawai Madhopur Railway Station or Ranthambhore Chowk or Ranthambhore road. Bus and Jeep charges Rs. 10 per person. Auto charges – Sawai Madhopur railway station till Dastkar Rs. 150 approx.

Morning hours when we reached few women working busy with patch work and a young guy at reception. Namaste – said I. A request to enhance our knowledge but first your good name?

Ganga Ram Mali

And another question: How many days in a week Dastkar is open and from when to when.

Sunday and National Holidays working is closed. Other than that it is open for display of products as well as sale including Sunday.

Opening & Closing Hours?

9 am – 6 pm

Thank you – said I. And talks how actually organization started? When and where and by whom?

In the year 1989 Laila Tyabji from Delhi along with six women started this initiative from a small village – Sherpur where mostly patch work, cushion cover was the project traditional products. After four years a camp was organized at Kutalpura Maliyan village and later more traditional products and more employees.

Currently at Dastkar, Sawai Madhopur there are more than 150 employees mostly women from nearby villages.

In the year 2004 Dastkar became an organization.

And a walk inside the shop. Ganga Ram enhancing knowledge about various products made traditionally such as Potli to carry mobile, Bags, Cushion-Cover, Belt, Bed-Sheet, Tablecloth, Napkin, Black-Pottery, Ladies Sleepers made with tractor tyres, Uni-sex Jackets, Kurta, Gents Shirts, T-shirt, Night Dress, Lehenga and the most important: Handmade. Yes, all are handmade. Even if cloth waste is there it is re-cycled to make toys, key chains, hair-clips. Nothing is wastage even water is re-cycled.

Bleaching, Dye, Cutting, Indigo Block Printing, Vegetable Colors, Stitching, Ironing all are part of product making process. Stitching is done only by Women employees. One can find traditional products available for one year kid till aged person.

Dastkar is currently within nineteen Indian States making different different products traditional way. All together there are 352 branches of Dastkar all over India.

Sale is done at shop location or via exhibition organized by various associations within India such as Kala Ghoda, Mumbai and Yes, export is also done.

A display board talks about women independence, traditional craft, why one should buy, organization benefits and case studies.

After visting Dastkar, watching the set up and reading display I have to say: One should visit and not only visit only should buy traditional made product if possible. I purchased a wall hanging colorful calendar with a story written & illustrated by Premola Ghose.

Dastkar take care of women as well as environment as they provide carry bags with the message: Say no to plastic bags. And another display: Tiger Nation. Are you on tour?

Yes, I was on tour and regarding Souvenir of Ranthambhore I also remember visit to souvenir shop situated inside Hotel Vinayak. Today as I was opening the cover of a packed T-shirt I read an important message from the company – Part of sale proceeds is donated for conservation. There were paintings, coffee mugs, pen stand, bone china plates, T-Shirt etc. with wildlife imprints for display. I was interested in wildlife painting drawn by local artist but as they were costly as per tour budget I selected T-Shirt as souvenir. Rs. 350 – The cost. Maybe someday I will buy painting but I like the T-Shirt with Tiger imprint. Spreading the message of conservation – I agree and remembering Ranthambhore tour.

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