Culture buffs in Delhi can now joyfully embrace an exceptional experience of a small slice of the remote, but very vibrant expanses of India’s Northeast region. While most of us are familiar with the regional diversity of India showcased by the line-up of state emporia at Delhi’s premier shopping hub–Baba Kharak Singh Marg, in Connaught Place, the State of Meghalaya has gone many steps further by creating a fantastic new platform to dip in its amazing offerings of its crafts, agri-product persuasions and heritage art traditions.
Launched early this winter, The Meghalayan Age Store is located in Rajiv Gandhi Handicrafts Bhavan here. What makes it stand out is that everything that it intends to launch, promote and sell is Homegrown, Handpicked, and Handcrafted. What you will love about it is it’s not just a shopping outlet; it, in fact, is a brilliant platform for showcasing Meghalaya produce and crafts and but also introduces you to the works of some of its highly talented artisans. It also serves as a showboat for a calendarfull of events which put the spotlight on many of Meghalaya’s rich traditions and heritage through carefully curated programmes.
Forget cluttered shelves and sleepy sales attendants. The minimalist décor of the Meghalayan Age Store is aimed directing the lens on an almost museum-like handpicked display of Meghalaya’s fabulous array of alluring textiles, handicrafts, Black Clay Pottery from Sung Valley, Jaintia Hills, Ryndia silk and a host of indigenous agri-products such as Lakadong Turmeric, Wild Forest Honey and Sohiong Jam.
Meghalaya state has long been renowned for its arts, crafts, textiles and agri-produce. But sadly its artisans and farmers have not been able to command the premium prices their products deserve, simply for the sheer lack of a decent marketing platform that could help generate market-relevant design inputs, quality control and market connect, that could elevate them into a niche consumer segment willing to pay the best prices for them.
The idea behind The Meghalayan Age Store is that it will serve as that much needed overarching platform that will connect Meghalaya’s artisans and farmers with patrons from India and abroad, in what could be a winwin situation for all stakeholders.
What’s interesting about the unique name of the brand, is that it is “a reference to the geological time period that we are in, and that this era was coined after the name of the State due to the discovery of a stalagmite in the Mawmluh Cave in Meghalaya which led to the addition of ‘Meghalayan Age’ to the geological timescale of the planet.”
It is a platform to also put the spotlights on the State’s rich heritage, its arts, heirloom crafts, culture, music, literature, and food. The Meghalayan Age Store is a proactive theatre… an experiential space of many delights, that aims to keep patrons constantly engaged with the state through the promotions of its artisans, the culinary diversity,its cultural richness, its performing arts—through workshops, films, exhibitions, even tasting menus and much more.
The launch of the store has opened up a beautiful opportunity to embrace forgotten, neglected, or underrepresented voices, correlating strongly with the importance and urgency of archival awareness and aesthetic sensibility with which one need to preserve Meghalaya’s history, recent pasts, and also the contemporary. The beauty of this platform is that it provides a brilliant insight into Meghalaya through the thoughtful curating of the best of craftsmanship, artistic vision and extraordinary stories from the crafts and culture.
What you will love most about The Meghalayan Age Store is that it also serves as a pioneering exercise in the emporia complex, which, it will surprise us, not, could be quite a trend-setter for others to embrace and shape a new regional culture adventure here in Connaught Place.