A magnificent series of 12 carpets, spectacularly custom weaved in some of the most desolate villages of Kashmir by master craftsmen specializing in the ancient Persian style of artistry, adorned the main Summit Room of the Bharat Mandapam.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed the world\'s top leaders in his version of the modern-day King Arthur\'s table of equals at the G20 Summit in New Delhi on September 9. Meticulously designed and executed by India\'s oldest carpet weaving company Obeetee, over nearly 15 months, the carpets are so intricate that it has nearly 74 million knots of hand-crafted genius tying them together.
Nearly 50 master craftsmen from five different villages outside Srinagar worked on 12 different looms in the most challenging natural conditions to produce the Magnum Opus - the Prime minister\'s big intent to open up the finest version of Kashmir to the world.
The carpets that are steeped in the narrative of the Flora and Fauna of Kashmir with the medallion Ardebil being the starting point adorned the main Summit room in the form of 12 individual carpets forming a perfect circle where PM Modi held his bilateral talks with the biggest world leaders to the likes of US President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Chinese Premier Li Qiang, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese among others.
Each carpet made with the finest silk from Kashmir has a different narrative meticulously crafted at Obeetee\'s design labs in Noida and Mirzapur. While one of them speaks of the tree of life, the other weaves the story around the birds of paradise. While another carpet portrays the flora like the Cypress trees which are symbolic of immortality, another weaves the story around the indigenous animals of the region.
The Summit on September 9 and 10 marked the culmination of India\'s year-long G20 presidency. The Group of Twenty includes Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the United States and the European Union. Obeetee braved grave challenges over the past 17 months to bring the project to fruition.
\"The design process took nearly 1.5 years while the weaving and finishing of the carpets took another 8 months. Work had stalled after several master craftsmen from the villages in Kashmir were affected by the Covid wave. The weaving pace was very slow initially owing to the fact that there was no electricity in these villages. Weaving therefore could only take place during the daytime. Generators were then installed in the villages of Sringlipura, Moraji, Habar lassipora, Lakshman pura, and Hill Chaupan - all within a 70-200 km radius of Srinagar - to enable the artists to weave through the night. We managed to complete the carpets in record time and the results are beautiful,\" said Mr Rudra Chatterjee, Chairman, OBEETEE Carpets.
He added \"The G20 area was a large circular conference space. Initially, the plan was to create a large circular carpet woven in Kashmir in the best quality possible. PM Modi wanted to show the world the inclusivity of Kashmir in India and what better place than the main hall of the G20 summit area. Due to the paucity of time, we made 12 slices that would come together in the main hall forming a part of a larger circle. This brought down the weaving timeline down to 1 year. A single round carpet would have taken 2.5 years\".
\"The design process began in April 2019 while the actual weaving started in January 2021. We explored an all-silk quality in 572 knots in Kashmir. In total, there are as many as a whopping 744, 74,400 knots tying together all the carpets\", said Ms Angelique Dhama, CEO, OBEETEE Carpets - Retail.
Besides the 12 carpets for the main G20 circular space, the carpets for all the public areas of the Pragati Maidan - like the breakout lounges, and VVIP spaces were designed and executed in Obeetee, Mirzapur.
\"These villages where the weaving was carried on not only did not have electricity there were many villages which did not have proper roads leading to them. Their weaving skill however is extraordinary\", said Ms Dhama.
Obeetee created a record of sorts recently when 900 weavers from the districts of Bhadohi and Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh spent a whopping 10 lakh man hours carpeting India\'s New Parliament building - both the houses of the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha. The New Parliament Building was inaugurated by Prime Minister Modi on May 28. Obeetee\'s weavers crafted 158 carpets for the Lok Sabha and 156 for the Rajya Sabha before stitching them into a single carpet in the form of a semi-circle to sync with the architecture of each of the Houses spread across 35,000 square feet of area. The weavers used the laborious and ancient art of hand-knotting to create magnificent masterpieces.
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