The organization

Dastkari Haat Samiti is a national association of crafts people with members from all states of India. It functions independent of grants for its general activities and administrative work which come from contributions made by its members and basic infrastructural support provided by public spirited persons.


 It is a not-for-profit organization functioning according to democratic procedures and self help. Through its 26 years of work artisans have achieved self-confidence and have gained dignity and recognition in society through many of the programmes organized by the Samiti.


It is truly an artisan’s organization with work contribution by its President and Executive Committee members for no remuneration. It employs only five administrative staff persons, a full time accountant and a full time designer. All the organizational work done at its exhibitions and craft bazaars is with voluntary help of its artisan members and supporters.



As on January, 31, 2012 it has 1498 members comprising of individuals and societies. This represents more than 30,000 direct and indirect beneficiaries from artisan families. It conducts its general body meeting annually, elects office bearers once in three years and maintains accounts which are regularly audited and verified. It submits its income tax returns regularly and pays required taxes under PAN NO-AAAAD2141E.



The Samiti conceived of and worked for the establishment of an innovative marketing infrastructure for traditional artisans known as Dilli Haat. It was set up in 1994 jointly by Delhi Tourism (Govt of Delhi), the Ministry of Textiles (Govt of India), and the New Delhi Municipal Corporation. This crafts marketplace is a contemporary interpretation of a traditional village market. Participants stay only for a fortnight, enabling a kaleidoscope of products throughout the year. Dilli Haat has enabled over 75,000 small crafts producers to conduct direct sales of crafts and handloom textiles to over 2 million customers in fifteen years. The Government of India has since adopted Dilli Haat as a model to be replicated in 30 cities across India. It has become an extremely popular landmark of the capital city and is a major achievement of the Samiti in its efforts to expand markets for crafts.


Haats have been established in the following cities:-

Jaipur, Ahmadabad, Kashmir, Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Shilparaman, Hyderabad, Mysore


Crafts Council of Sri Lanka and UNESCO have used the Dastkari Haat Samiti’s expertise to model Colombo Pola on the Dilli Haat Concept. Concept papers have been sought by Nepal and South Africa.


Regular design assistance

The Samiti gives ongoing design assistance through its President and in-house designer to individual crafts people at its office on a regular basis. This service is provided free of cost


Design projects across the country

Knitting& Aipen Products, Uttaranchal

Khurja Pottery, Uttar Pradesh

Badohi basketry, Uttar Pradesh

Kite making, Uttar Pradesh, Dhokra metal work, Madhya Pradesh

Nirmal Toys & Kalamkari workshop, Andhra Pradesh

Gond Painted toy project, Madhya Pradesh

Madhubani Toys & steel boxes, Bihar, Lathe turned lacquered wood, Gujarat

Souvenirs in terracotta and leather for Haryana Tourism, & won first prize

Embroidery, Papier Mache & copper, Jammu & Kashmir

Embroidery, Jharkhand

Potters, Kerala

Pattachitra Painting on wood, Orissa

Leather with Embroidery, Punjab

Embroidery, Rajasthan

Miniature painting, Rajasthan

Basket workshop, with MRM, TamilNadu

Zari & Zardoji, New Delhi

Wire work, New Delhi

Toy making, New Delhi

Stationery, New Delhi

Puppet making, New Delhi

Workshops with Schools

Modern School, Barakhamba Road & Vasant Vihar

Muskan, (for persons with disability)

Workshop with Katha Publishing


Bazaars across the country around 120

Dill Haat, New Delhi, Bombay, Pune, Hyderabad, Goa, Ahmadabad, Srinagar, Bangalore, Triputi, Indore, Gowhati, Cochin, Bhopal, Chennai, Kolkata, Luck now

Sales in small & big bazaars between Rs 50, 00000/- to 900, 000, 00/-


International Events



March 2004, Pakistan At first glance the group of craftsmen sitting together, intent on the work at hand would not have seemed extraordinary to anyone passing by. They looked like old friends who had been working together in the same workshop for years. In actual fact, seven traditional artisans from Pakistan and ten from India were meeting in March 2004 and collaborating to craft new prototypes of products using the combined skills of both countries for the first time since one country was divided into two in 1947. These were people from countries that had fought three wars with each other and had problems that would take a long time to resolve, But in March, 2004 at Dilli Haat, a popular crafts marketplace in New Delhi, the people of both countries came together to create a new world of their own. The name Dostkari is a combination of dosti(friendship) and Dastkari (craftsmanship


December 2004 Vietnam

The Success of Dostkari inspired the Vietnamese Embassy in New Delhi to approach Dastkari Haat Samiti to organize a similar exchange between Vietnam and India from 16th December to 31st December 2004. The Government of India cleared an allocation of 20 Lakh Rupees to cover the cost of two Indian and one Vietnamese designer and nine artisans from each country to participate in a workshop that would create prototypes fusing the skills of the crafts persons of both nations. Artisans from Vietnam and India, in Collaboration with Craft link, Hanoi and the Hanoi Trade Department of the Government of Vietnam worked for two weeks at Dilli Haat.

The graphic identity of the workshop was designed with the Lotus pond as the theme, thus the name “Lotus Links”.



December 2005, South Africa

Afri-khadi was born in January 2003 when Ms Nadia Meer and Mrs. Jaya Jaitly, president of Dastkari Haat Samiti met when Ms Meer was visiting India to explore the possibility of developing a relationship between South Africa and India in the field of handicrafts, textiles and khadi and followed up with a range of garments sewing Khadi fabrics for a fashion show involving Indian and South African design in South Africa. These were enthusiastically supported by the Indian High commission and conducted by Ukusa Designs.

 As a follow up to the obvious success of Afri-khadi in South Africa, Afri-Khadi 2005 Crafts design workshop was Proposed by the Dastkari Haat Samiti to the Ministry of Textiles, Government of India and executed in December, 2005 . During its crafts Bazaar at Dilli Haat. Dastkari Haat Samiti developed  new prototypes for the global market in collaboration with Ukusa designs which obtained sponsorship for their travel and design fees from the Department of economic Development, government of Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa, in collaboration with the Khadi Village industries and the National Institute of Design, and the Eastern Cape Government, South Africa. The name recollects that the idea of making khadi a motif of the freedom movement began in Africa.



2006, Sri Lanka

In 2006, Dastkari Haat Samiti, chose Sri Lanka as the country with which to create bonds in the field of handicraft and hand –Embellished Textiles. Persons from Dastkari Haat Samiti first travelled to Sri Lanka in January 2006 to collaborate with the crafts people of the Agro mart Foundation based in Kurunegala, sponsored by a grant from the Office of the Development Commissioner (Handicrafts), Ministry of Textiles, and Govt. of India. The skills exchanged were vegetable dyed hand block printing, palm leaf; coconut woodcrafts, beadwork and sequin/metal thread embroidery.

The Dastkari Haat Samiti collaborated with the Matale Heritage Centre for Craft Design and Cultural Exchange Workshop to be held at Dilli Haat, New Delhi from 16th December, 2006 -2nd January, 2007. The Matale Heritage Centre worked directly with local crafts people who had been trained by Mrs Ena De Silva (founder of the Centre). The crafted products ranging from range of batiks and Embroideries fetch adequate orders for export. The profits from their sales are shares by the community of craft workers attached to the centre.   An extremely senior and renowned artist and designer of her country, Mrs. De Silvia would bring considerable international experience to our project. We proposed the idea of naming our workshop Elephant Tales, in tune with our earlier practice of giving the project a memorable name and identity.

Since the quality and marketability of Sri Lankan batik is higher than Batik textiles of India, the Dastkari Haat Samiti concentrated on raising the level of Indian Batik which had stagnated over a period of time. In addition the Samiti invited crafts persons practicing embroidery, woodcarving and metal repose work from Sri Lanka. A jeweler also became part of the group so that jewelry in wood and metal could be created.

Then workshop brought about a feeling of deep friendship and co-operation between the craftspeople and organizers of both countries. Visitor to Dilli Haat were exposed to Sri Lankan crafts and their relationship to Indian arts.



November, 2007 Thailand

The Year 2007, observed 6o years of Diplomatic relations between Thailand and India. Thai craft people have innovative design ideas and sophistication while Indian craft people are highly skilled and tradition bound. Under AHPADA, Asean Handicraft Promotion and Development Organization, able and dedicated co-ordination a group of 8 crafts people, a designer from Chiang Mai University and a coordinator prepared themselves to come to New Delhi for two weeks at the end of November 2007.

The Office of the Development Commissioner (handicrafts) Ministry of Textiles, Govt. of India gave invaluable support in term of partial grant and enabled us to hold this important workshop at Dilli Haat along with our annual crafts bazaar so that our Thai friends could see the Indian version of a craft marketplace and the vast variety of craft skills India offered. Thai food and a Thai jeweler who was also an exhibition designer and dancer added flavor to our wonderful exchange so aptly named “Under One Roof”.

The crafts covered were Embroidery, Silver craft, Basket weaving, Natural Dye, Wood with gold paint and Wood inlay.



2008 Planet Finance, Nepal

We have arranged a Workshop with 2 components. Skill development for 4 Pashmina craftspeople and a Training Module for handling aspects of the modern market which will make it easier for Nepali entrepreneurs to deal with the demands of an expanded market in Europe. We have kept 12 stalls for the Nepali SMEs to enable them to sell Nepali Pashmina, Silver Jewelry and Metal Craft under the Planet Finance SME Link Project. We have also requested FHAN and FWEAN to send interested entrepreneurs working with Lokta Paper, Carved and Painted Wood and Tanka Painting so that Dilli Haat could see the beautiful Handicrafts of Nepal.



December 2009 South Asian countries

The Dastkari Haat Samiti hosted the South Asian Women’s Network, an initiative of Jamia Millia University, to take forward a programme of partners in development called South Asian Women for Peace and Creativity. Women practicing a variety of craft skills were invited from Pakistan, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bangladesh. There will be craft representatives of the Tibetan and Myanmar communities residing in India as well.


Dr ShashiTharoor, Minister of State for External Affairs, inaugurated the multi-faceted event at DilliHaat.

One resource person and two artisans from each different craft NGO of their respective countries gathered together for two weeks to create Prototypes with the intention of further developing these as products that could be marketed as SWAN products at a later stage in the evolution of SWAN.



January 2011, South Asian countries

Once again under the financial patronage of ICCR, Dastkari Haat Samiti was able to invite members of the SWAN community to have a Design Exchange between Indian artisans and the respective members. This year SWAN was represented by NGO from Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. More Prototypes were created to add to the diversity of existing products from the previous year. The ultimate goal being the creation of SWAN products that can be marketed through outlets that assist and retail Crafts in the entire South Asian region.



January 2012, African countries

18 African craftswomen and resource persons from around 6 African countries        (Kenya, Ethiopia, South Africa, Uganda, Rwanda invited by Dastkari Haat Samiti to Dilli Haat for Crafts Skill Development and Natural Dye Workshop. There was a Skill Training and Exchange workshops for the African countries, by Expert craftspeople from different parts of India:  The Crafts covered were Basketry, Leather, Beadwork, Embroidery, Weaving, including Capacity building in Natural Dyeing. Prominent persons in the African Craft Sector were present at the Bazaar. The Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, funded the workshop.


African crafts persons had an opportunity to learn from skilled Indian crafts persons Skills, Capacity building, Marketing was given the opportunity to showcase their crafts for Indian market feedback. The entire fortnight’s collaboration resulted in long term friendships and provided unique inputs to the crafts sector while enhancing economic well-being and diplomatic ties at the ground level.


BREAKIN BOUNDARIES, India-Pakistan Craft Training and Skill Exchange Workshop, Dilli Haat, 1-15thJanuary 2013

Breaking boundaries, conceived by the Dastkari Haat Samiti, was a positive concept to bring together ideals of friendship and cooperation within the parameters of craft and design. This was executed by a variety of embroidery skills by women from India and Pakistan. The results were in the form of marketable goods. The Samiti collaborated with Behbud Association of Pakistan. They have a very strong craft component in their development programme.

Ten women-five from India and five from Pakistan engaged in conversation about their own cultures and shared techniques in embroidery for a fortnight. Women participants broke boundaries by coming out of their own homes to travel to another country. They moved out of conservative embroidery pattern layouts to express individuality and freedom by exploring concepts of abstraction and non-standardization in design.

The sisterly spirit and camaraderie, while discovering the positive realities of each country, reinforced the learning and teaching process. The “boundaries” of misunderstanding and tensions, national borders and socio-cultural misconceptions quickly dissipated.



24 Craft Maps representing and describing each State of India have been created and Published by the Samiti at an estimated cost of 70 lakh Rupees. The Map Exhibition was held at Dilli Haat 2005 inaugurated by President Abdul Kalam, in the presence of Pundit Ravi Shankar and Anjolie Ella Menon. It was then taken to the Frankfurt Book Fair where India was guest of honor. In India it was taken to Kalakshetra in Chennai and National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad.


Half the Map exhibition was taken to Dilli Haat at Trafalgar Square in 2005 India’s arts and crafts, it’s fabulous handmade textiles, its vast range of popular food, herbal offerings and yoga for the health and beauty conscious, organic produce for those who care not only for their health but a sustainable environment as well, classical and folk dances, music for all ages-old and new creativity, the endless variety of what a tourist can find at Dilli Haat, was packed and presented with finesse by Delhi Tourism and taken to London. Two Workshops were held in London after the event.  These were at Cockpit Arts and the Nehru Centre.

Dastkari Haat Samiti, flamboyantly integrated its artistic Craft Maps, Beautiful graphics in an exhibit conceived by Jaya Jaitly, the Samiti’s president, to portray the boundless variety of Indian craft traditions.


Finally the Maps were donated to Crafts Museum, New Delhi. Its value is approximately 70 lakhs.


ART IN ACTION IN OXFORD, UK 2006 and 2007 Some of the major programs to present our best before an international audience have been our collaborative ventures with Delhi Tourism (a part of the Delhi Government) to take Indian crafts and crafts people to Trafalgar Square, mounting a major exhibition of arts, crafts and textiles at the Frankfurt Book Fair where India was the Guest of Honor country and participating in the prestigious Art in Action fair held at Waterperry House near Oxford, UK.


The Art in Action Fair has been held every year for 27 years by the fellowship of the School of Economic Science, (a registered educational charity),  which brings the best of  British, European, and now Eastern, Arts and Crafts together for four days. Over 25,000 people visit the Fair and it is considered one of the oldest and most prestigious art events of the year. Crafts people are expected to demonstrate their skills in a peaceful and educational atmosphere. Sales are a result of a better appreciation of the skills observed. Since the hosts are a philanthropic organization and we are a non-profit organization working to directly benefit crafts people, there are no commercial profits involved for the organizers. Last year we were exempted from paying VAT or any customs duty in the UK. Some of our workers give their services voluntarily to the Samiti.


In July 2006 the Dastkari Haat Samitiorganized the entire India Tent at the Art in Action Fair.  It was a great opportunity for Indian crafts people as they were able to rub shoulders with the best of European and British crafts persons and held their own in both skill and excellence of product. Such opportunities enable our crafts persons to gain confidence and self respect and stop seeing themselves as poor and illiterate even though they come from the weaker sections of society.


Our participation was a great success as India was highlighted in a major way for the first time, and has resulted in the Samiti being invited again in 2007. In 2007 Shabir Ali Beig won the “Best of the Best” prize.



In collaboration with the United Nations in India,Dastkari Haat Samiti mobilized the creativity inherent in the Craft Sector to translate the eight MDGs into eight exclusive works of high artistic merit. The works representing skills in art, craft and textiles were commissioned for United Nations Day, 24th October, 2007. These were exhibited at UN Day and remained in their office lobby thereafter.


United Nations “Grass to Gold” UN Day 2009 in India

The United Nations declared 2009 as the International Year of Natural Fiber’s, recognizing that the diverse range of natural fiber produced in many countries provide an important source of income for farmers and can thus play an important role in contributing to food security and eradicating Thee United Nations in India celebrated National Day (the International Year of Natural Fibres) in collaboration with the Dastakari Haat Samiti with a special exhibition. Twenty skilled crafts persons working with natural fibres ranging from the finest pashmina to mountain nettle and hemp, banana fibre, date palm, cotton and silk will be presented under the UN banner. The Uttarakhand Bamboo and Fibre Development Board will be contributing an exhibit to show the processes of creating textile and crafts out of natural fibres growing in the hill states



Depending on the demands of the market, the forms and design of crafts have continuously grown and changed, while keeping the core structure of the skill intact. It is with this approach that the Department of Handlooms Government of Madhya Pradesh, combined with the Dastkari Haat Samiti, a national association of Crafts people, to invite Sri Lanka batik artists under the guidance of Mrs Ena De Silva of the Matale Heritage Centre, to share their special knowledge and experiences in working with batik. Madhya Pradesh batik workers carry out their work in clusters in Bhairavgarh and Neemuch, and hand block printers are located in Bagh. Selected number of these areas was invited to participate at the workshop located in Bhairavgarh, on the outskirts of Ujjain between 15th-26thMarch 2007.

The most interesting part of the exercise was that the concept of design was imparted to them to be translated into their own compositions for the range of prototypes. These were cushion covers, tablecloths, scarves and stoles. It was the process of discovery and creation that was to leave a lasting impression. The emphasis was on quality and excellence of finish.




2011 May India Africa Summit 200 women craftswomen went to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 200 women craftswomen were invited to Addis Abba on the occasion of the India Africa Summit. The name of this historic exchange was coined Handcrafting Hope. African women from many African nations interacted with Indian Craftswomen and a special feature of Handcrafting Hope was the opportunity for interaction through seminars discussions that were held every morning on 20th 21st and 22ndMay 2011 at the Handcrafting Hope venue in the Millennium Hall. These seminar discussions brought together resource persons from Africa and India, who exchanged views on leveraging craft-skill to create sustainable livelihoods and gender empowerment. They discussed the problems facing craftswomen in their respective countries. The seminars focused on issues like contemporizing traditional design for global markets, access to high quality raw materials and allied inputs, special focus on finishing and packaging training for participation in the marketing process, and development of marketing skills, including through branding, and exchange of ideas on national best practices, including the idea of “DILLI HAAT”as a model establishment and marketplace for supporting sustainable livelihoods for women through crafts. The discussion also focused on future projects between African and Indian craftswomen, combining the interests and needs of each side.



New Delhi, India Habitat Centre, 16th September to 22nd September, 2012

The Akshara Project was being implemented by the Dastkari Haat Samiti, to weave together important agendas:  teaching the value of literacy to unlettered crafts people, demonstrating the visual beauty of India's many languages, creating a new design vocabulary developed through artistic calligraphy in regional scripts and finally, applying them to a variety of traditional craft skills.  A multi-dimensional exhibition of its results showcased:


  • Innovatively designed products of excellence show stone work, wood carving, handloom weaving, embroidery, traditional art and hand block printing among other hand skills, speaking the language of the artisan in their embellishments. 


  • The art of handwriting and the history of our scripts formed a part of the display to highlight the aesthetics of the written word.


  • Traditional artists and artisans conducted demonstrations of how they worked upon Akshara, expert calligraphers will explain their vision, regional musicians and classical dancers will extend the concept of Akshara into their fields of expertise.


  • The 'language' of dance and the 'talim' of the loom share space in a short film, to demonstrate that the disappearing art of handwriting, the cadence of our regional languages, and our vast traditional skills of handcrafting, are human expressions to be nurtured.


  • An attractive art book/catalogue, Crafting Indian Scripts was be published by the Samiti for the occasion.


  • The programme was held for a week from 16th 2012 at India Habitat Centre with their active collaboration.


AKSHARA: Indian Calligraphy redefined at the Hanager Arts Centre, Cairo, 15th to 21st April, 2013

Akshara was exhibited as part of the festival of ‘India on the Nile’ The Samiti developed profound links with Egyptian Artists. A canvas produced jointly by an Indian and an Egyptian calligrapher is a tribute to this exchange and link. The Samiti team comprised, Jaya Jaitly, President and founder, a Samiti member, an Indian Calligrapher, and the head of the exhibition design company.


AKSHARA, Crafting Indian Scripts at UNESCO, Paris, September, 14th to September, 22nd, 2013

Akshara has been invited by UNESCO to be exhibited at UNESCO in Paris. This exhibition has the support of 3 Ministries. HRD, Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Textiles. 5 Craftsmen, 2 Calligraphers a Samiti member and the head of the exhibition design company will accompany Jaya Jaitly, President and founder of the Samiti to Paris. During the exhibition, Seminars, discussions and workshops between leading Calligraphers from Japan, China, Middle East and France and Indian Calligraphers and Crafts persons will be held.


Affiliations with special interest associations


The Samiti has actively supported members of the South Asian Community in developing sustainable livelihoods in Crafts.


Retail outlets for crafts


NIDUS at NID, Ahmadabad

Kamala Shop, Connaught Place, New Delhi

Dastkari Haat at Mauve &Pink, Khan Market Shop, New Delhi (On June 15th, 2009 Dastkari Haat Samiti set up its first Store at Mauve & Pink etc, 39 Khan Market, top floor, Middle lane, New Delhi) .  Apart from showcasing the many crafts produced by our member Crafts persons, the store also liaisons between crafts persons and individuals wishing to decorate any space with painted or crafted Murals. E.g., Fabindia, Greater Kailash, top floor.

Katha Shop, Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi

National Museum Shop, National Museum, Janpath, New Delhi

INTACH Shop, New Delhi

Either Or, Pune

Madras Craft Foundation, Chennai

Friends of Uttarakhand (Himjoli), Uttarakhand

1469, (United Steel Industries), Chandigarh, New Delhi, Karnal

R.K & Company, Hyderabad,

Babaji Store, Valence, France



The National Book Trust collaborated with Dastkari Haat Samiti to conduct a workshop publish 4 books designed by the Samiti and illustrated by Crafts persons.

A grant by UNESCOenabled the Samiti to Design, Written and Illustrated (by Crafts persons) Three Children’s Story books, which were published by Penguin. Copyrights have been now bought by PrathamPublishing and have been re-published in 7 Regional Indian languages.


On April 12th, 2012 Nyogi Publishing is launching Crafts Atlas of India, adapted from Crafts Maps created by the Samiti.


In-house Documentation:-

The Samiti has a comprehensive collection of documents describing all its workshops and Exchanges of skill and craft Techniques, Domestically and Internationally.


Lotus Links, Afrikhaddi, Elephant Tales, Under one Roof, Handcrafting Hope

Handcrafting Promises, Dilli Haat Goes to London, Crafting the Future (UN Project)

International Year for Natural Fibers’, Transforming Lives, Grass to Gold (UN Project)

Akshara - Calligraphy Exhibition and Workshop, Bhadohi Baskets, Map Catalogue

Sri Lanka Batik Workshop, Dastkari haat Samiti Samiti Brochure, Indian Crafts Journey Journal


Study Tours, 2007, 08, 09

A large group of 18 persons from Sri Lanka to different crafts institutions in Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, Uttar Pradesh to see varied skill.


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