September 7, 2018
Bangla Govt turns remote hamlet of Natungram into Rural Craft Hub
The State Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises & Textiles department, in association with UNESCO, has developed Natungram in Purba Bardhaman as one of the Rural Craft Hubs of Bangla.
This has given a major boost to the wooden doll industry for which the village is famous, and is now becoming globally famous, thanks to the earnest efforts of the Trinamool Congress Government. Rural Craft Hub is a joint project of the Bangla Government and UNESCO, and is a brainchild of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
The formation of the hub has helped the artisans, particularly the women, to become self-reliant. West Bengal Khadi and Village Industries Board (WBKVIB) has developed a Folk Art Centre in the village, with lodging facility, that is equipped with all basic amenities.
Visitors at Natungram can stay at the centre and witness the artisans at work, explore the Folk Art Centre to learn about the craft and its techniques, and learn the stories behind. The hub is located in the region of Agradwip. The nearest railway stations are Agradwip or Katwa.
Every year, the artisans of Natungram celebrate their tradition of doll-making through a village fair in January. The next Wooden Doll Festival will take place from January 18 to 20, 2019. There are plans to make the festival bigger from next year, now that the UNESCO-recognised Rural Craft Hub is in place.
Courtesy the residential Folk Art Centre, people can now visit the place throughout the year to explore the process of carving the wooden dolls. There are about 60 families pursuing the traditional art form. Whereas the men do the carving and chiselling, the women do the painting.