BANGALORE:  For all those who are new to Bangalore a trip to a Handicrafts  emporium is always recommended by family and friends.Bangalore carries all the richness and goodness that the state of Karnataka has to offer. Year after year handicraft stores and cottage industries seemed to be gaining more popularity. Originality  and unique pieces to accent home seems to be the new trend.
” Yes, people come to Bangalore and do visit the handicrafts store without fail, ” ,said Mr G. Muniswamy general manager of the marketing department at Cauvery Emporium. ” people want to take a piece of Bangalore with them. Once Mahatma Gandhi road used to be most visited by tourist, students, one and all.”
Sandalwood, rosewood inlay work, Bronze sculptures, stone carvings etc are somethings that never get old and are always in demand. Cauvery Emporium was set up in 1964 and has seen the rich and famous walk in and out of their doors.
” We would provide raw materials like silver, zinc etc artisans at subsidized rates. Craftsmen from Iran and Persia when they came to India started practising art and craft. Soon the local people picked up crafts and cultural painting styles from them.” ,said G.Muniswamy ” Whether they work by order or have their own business, craftsmen did very well.  Channapatna famous for lacquer toys, Ramanagara for pottery, Bangalore for bronze artwork,Mysore for silk. There was a lot to offer and a variety to choose from.”
Handicrafts and cottage industry products always receive attention. Once the client is told that the product is handmade then they immediately show interest. Handicrafts are never ignored. But despite the rise in number of shops there has been a slide in sales.
” People just walk in have a look and leave.” ,says Akbar of Jamal Mir ” They do praise the work but not many buy. sales aren’t as good ad 2 years before. Only little items sell or something religious. Before wood carvings of elephants and elephants heads were in major demand but now they are all manufactured by the factory,. Everything is machine made. Craftsmanship is almost extinct now.”
Jamal Mir was the only handicrafts store on Cunningham road  and just celebrated it’s hundredth year. Now there are over 7 handicrafts store on Cunningham road.
” Most of the store are not government owned,” ,says G.Muniswamy ” Most they things they sell may not be authentic. They spray their products with sandalwood fragrance and claim it to be made of sandalwood.”
 The government ban on  cutting and selling of sandalwood or even growing sandalwood trees at home made the life of artisans very difficult.
” Before we would get tonnes of sandalwood but not it is extremely rarely. Continuous felling of sandalwood trees let to deforestation and massive shortage.Growing sandalwood at home was illegal. Now the government woke up to reality and started growing sandalwood but it is still highly demanded. ” ,said G.Muniswamy. ” Another reason why handicrafts popularity is dying because there aren’t any craftsmen left. Youngsters are not keen on doing carving and sculpture. So it is very hard to find master craftsmanship like before. Everything comes from the factories. People prefer to shop in malls these days causing serious decline in sales of handicrafts.”
Countries like Chine and the US have taken an interest in handicrafts. A lot of the big artwork, cultural paintings etc are exported in bulk fro  Bangalore. A Sandalwood sculpture  depicting Krishna’s reincarnation costing Rs 85 lakhs was recently exported to China.