The National Handicrafts and Handlooms Museum, popularly known as the National Crafts Museum & Hastkala Academy, celebrates the rich, diverse, and practising craft traditions of India. Situated in a large campus at the corner of Pragati Maidan, opposite the majestic Purana Qila, the museum was designed by the renowned architect Charles Correa.
At present the Museum collection consists of over 33,000 specimens in various crafts, acquired over a period of 60 years collected from various states of India named as Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal. The collection reflects the continuing traditions of handicrafts and handlooms.
Museum collection consists of a variety of traditional artifacts such as Textiles, a vast range of metal lamps, sculptures, utensils etc, Wood-works, Folk/tribal paintings , range of cane and bamboo crafts, clay and terracotta figures and a lot more. The exquisite examples of textiles include Kalamkaris, Jamawars, Pashmina and Shahtosh shawls, embroidered fabrics especially Kanthas, Chikankari works and chaklas Tie and Die (Bandhani) fabrics, Baluchar and Jamdaani saris, Pichwais, phulkaris, Ikat fabrics of Orissa, Chamba Rumals, Block printed textile fabrics of Gujarat and Rajasthan, Himru textile pieces of Maharashtra, Naga shawls, Chanderi saris and a variety of tribal textiles of the Lambadi, Toda and Naga tribes of North- eastern India.
The rare and finest specimens of traditional Indian handicrafts and handlooms are preserved with the objective that these would serve as source material for the revival, reproduction and development of Indian crafts. These source materials are meant for the master craftsmen, art-historians and craft designers along with the people who are interested to know our age-old cultural heritage. Museum is a special attraction for foreign tourists who wish to have a glimpse of our material culture.
Lota Shop and Café Lota
The Lota shop is the selling outlet for a whole range of contemporary craft products ,books etc. on art, craft and design. The shop is considered to be one of the best in the world. The shop also keeps the artifacts made by the crafts persons participating in the craft demonstration programme after they are gone back.
The inspiration for the name of the National Crafts Museum & Hastkala Academy Shop is the film Lota based on the India Report by Charles and Ray Eames, the film celebrates the design credentials of lota found in so many variations across India. They expressed that the Lota, the simple vessel of everyday use, stands out as perhaps the greatest, the most beautiful.
Café Lota offers a range of vegetarian and non-vegetarian Indian cuisine with regional flavours. The café has received excellent reviews of food connoisseurs.