Directorate of Handicrafts & Handlooms is the recent name given to the old Handloom and Handicrafts Centre of Sikkim. Located at a distance of half kilometer from the main market of Gangtok, the centre is also known as the Government Institute of Cottage Industries (GICI). The Institute was founded during the reign of the Chogyals of Sikkim. The undertaking started with the intention to preserve and propagate the art & craft skills of the local artisans.
The Institute is an authentic warehouse of traditional handicrafts and
handlooms that are exceptional to Sikkim. Here, you can see hand-woven
carpets with traditional motifs, blankets, shawls (in Lepcha weaves),
'thangka' paintings, graceful 'Choktse' (hand carved foldable tables),
hand-painted masks, dolls and many other objects. Established in 1957,
the Directorate has an emporium from where you can buy every kind of
handicraft at nominal price.
Apart from the above mentioned items, you can spot lovely dolls in
wood, dappled appliqué work, batiks, lamp-stands, shade,
bamboo-craft, sporadic silks, rich brocade and embroidered boots.
Sikkimese Carpets get the main attention as the quality of these class
carpets has made them popular not only in India, but in the whole world.
Besides carpets, the exclusive hand made paper is another specialty of
the Institute. This paper is made from the bark of Algeri tree.
The Institute has no less than hundred student workers, who produce the
cottage crafts, following strictly the conventional rules of genuine
Sikkimese designs. The carpets that are produced at the institute have
fine textures and amazing designs ranging from stylish contemporary
patterns to the traditional ones. The Directorate of Handicrafts and
Handlooms welcomes numerous tourists, who come to buy and admire the
crafts of Sikkim.