charankanya on July 10th, 2009

Whenever I visit other countries I’m always looking for souvenirs to bring home – from fridge magnets to coffee table books.  Sadly, most of the places I’ve travelled to in India it’s not been easy to find good quality souvenirs.  INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage) has opened two shops in Pune, which can fill this need.  These shops carry absolutely amazing it souvenirs or to gift someone a little of India.

Here’s a short write-up about INTACH by Monika Trivedi, which gives some wonderful insight into the organization and the shop.

It is always so exciting to come to a new country and absorb new sounds, new sights, new cultures and meet new people. Apart from the perks of the job, it is these non tangible perks which make the expat lifestyle such an adventure.  India is a country which is a sensory treat in every sense of the word.  Indophiles will say it is a ‘Love it or Hate it’ type of country but certainly it is a country which leaves an impact.

India is an ancient country. Over a few thousand years, it has become an amalgamation of various cultures and many different architectural styles.  Unfortunately many of these amazing monuments and ancient traditions have slowly become derelict or eroded from people’s memories.  In a country of over a billion people, this comes as no surprise because priorities change. However there are many organizations working behind the scenes to promote, preserve and protect our heritage. One such organization is INTACH, the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural heritage. While ‘Heritage’ is often misconstrued to be limited to man-made structures such as buildings and monuments, the term ,as used by INTACH, covers not only these but also our Natural and Cultural Heritages.

INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage) is a National NGO headquartered in New Delhi and founded in 1984. The Pune Chapter was founded in 1986 and currently has over 150 members with wide ranging backgrounds and interests. Many of the cities leading architects, environmentalists, historians, educationists and industrialists are members.

Pune, the land of the Peshwas, has played a prominent role in the history of India over the years. If you drive through the city, you will stumble upon many beautiful buildings and monuments juxtaposed beside modern buildings or abandoned on a teeming street.  INTACH Pune is involved in cataloguing these structures and creating heritage walks where people can get a glimpse of these buildings with knowledgeable guides and capture a sense of the history of this city.

INTACH is also actively involved in preserving Pune’s abundant natural resources as well as in producing  heritage related publications. People residing abroad are aware of gift shops at heritage sites. INTACH  has introduced this concept in Pune with it’s heritage shops, Warsaa. Currently there are two Warsaa outlets in Pune, one at Shaniwar wada and the other at Ishanya mall. The unique selling point of Warsaa is that all the products are made by local craftsmen and adapted to suit modern needs. There are items using traditional fabrics, copper and terracotta. There are also Pune mugs and teeshirts. Warsaa is also tying up with craftsment across India to source and stock their products at the store.

If you are stuck for gifts to take back home to your loved ones, if you are a keen lover of traditional Indian arts and crafts, Warsaa could become your one stop resource to fulfil these needs.

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