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Monday, November 13, 2017

The Treasures of India store is steeped in history and heritage. Aakriti Patni visits to understand how local arts and crafts are interweaved with modernity and history

Honouring his mother’s memories and celebrating the traditional arts and crafts indigenous to India, is Rudhra Kapur and his new lifestyle store, Treasures of India. Born out of the love that he has for Indian crafts and the passion imbibed by his mother, it is a lifestyle store and a gallery rolled into one.

In the midst of perhaps the busiest by-lanes of Colaba, Treasures of India stands silent, tucked away in the leafy enclaves of the ancient building that is, Dhanraj Mahal. That the store is housed in this heritage building speaks volumes for the theme and concept, as it too stands to persevere and nurture the traditional arts and make history come alive. On the busy Saturday afternoon when we visited, we didn’t expect to be left enchanted as we were, not just with the quaint store, but with the story behind it, too.

Hailing from the legendary pioneering family of Shori Lal Kapur — who was the brains behind the historical luxury shop, Burlingtons’, which traces its origins back to the early 1900s — Rudhra Kapur has often been regarded as the ‘Burlington Baby’. With historical background forming his very childhood, it was indeed no surprise that Rudhra wanted to bring to life a store that honoured and celebrated the beauty of history and the arts.

While the concept of the store was first initiated by Rudhra’s mother, Gabrielle Cerfontaine Kapur, who worked as a preserver of art and wished to infuse the work of Indian artisans with modern concepts and house them under one roof in a lifestyle store, it was Rudhra who made his mother’s dream his own. And, in her memory, he laid the foundation of Treasures of India and brought to life a modern art gallery and a lifestyle store, all in one. Even the space that the store occupies has a long history, with it being where the Burlington workshop once stood. In his own way, with the store, Rudhra pays tribute to his family’s legacy.

Treasures of India is created as a lifestyle concept gallery, and true to its description, the store is more than just a shop that honours local Indian arts and crafts. Modern interiors and soft hues characterise the store, with the lower half serving as the lifestyle shopping section and the mezzanine level housing an art gallery.

Truly celebrating Indian artisans and their craft, the store has on their racks everything from fashion, swimwear and jewellery antiques to home furnishings, miniature paintings and art. Textures and colour play an important role in the designs available, as local artwork is often defined by its embroidery and hand-block prints.

Traditional Indian products such as embroidered quilts, cushions and carpets are just what the store stands for, but modern products such as table linen, upholstery, frames, lampshades and other home décor furnishings are interweaved with the essence of Indian arts and crafts, bringing out what Rudhra’s mother wished and dreamed for the store — an amalgamation of the traditional with the contemporary. 

Playing on his love for art and his passion for history, the art gallery above the lifestyle shopping section is what makes the store decidedly different and perhaps more intriguing than regular shops or art galleries. While the space will be hosting different artists, painters, photographers, sculptors and heritage expositions on a regular basis, the store commenced its journey with a Salvador Dali exposition, showcasing seven prestigious works of Dali.

A one-of-its-kind lifestyle concept store, Treasures of India is aptly named, as it pays tribute to our country and celebrates the finer aspects of our heritage and history, and brings us authentic and traditional crafts with a contemporary flair.

Where: D-7, Dhanraj Mahal, CSM Marg, Apollo Bundar, Colaba

Contact: 22820117

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