G20 Summit Room Adorned With 12 Handcrafted Kashmir Carpets


SRINAGAR: A series of 12 carpets, custom-woven in some of the remote villages of Kashmir by 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 they have 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 to produce the Magnum Opus – the Prime Minister’s intent to open up the finest version of Kashmir to the world.

The carpets, steeped in the narrative of the Flora and Fauna of Kashmir with the medallion Ardebil as the starting point, adorned the main Summit room in the form of 12 individual carpets forming a perfect circle. It was there that PM Modi held his bilateral talks with world leaders such as 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 Kashmiri silk, has a different narrative meticulously crafted at Obeetee’s design labs in Noida and Mirzapur. One speaks of the tree of life, another weaves the story around the birds of paradise, while yet another portrays the flora like the Cypress trees, symbolic of immortality, and 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, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union. Obeetee faced significant 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 due to the lack of electricity in these villages, so weaving 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 Rudra Chatterjee, Chairman of OBEETEE Carpets, as per The Business News.

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 part of a larger circle. This brought down the weaving timeline 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 with 572 knots in Kashmir. In total, there are as many as a whopping 744, 74,400 knots tying together all the carpets,” said Angelique Dhama, CEO of OBEETEE Carpets, while speaking to The Business News.


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