UNESCO designated Varanasi and Jaipur as members of Creative Cities Network

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Who: Varanasi and Jaipur
What: Designated by UNESCO as members of Creative Cities Network
When: 11 December 2015

Two Indian cities, Varanasi and Jaipur, on 11 December 2015 have made it to the Creative City Network of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for the first time ever.

Varanasi and Jaipur made it to the network in the categories, City of Music and City of Crafts and Folk Art respectively.

UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, announced the designation of 47 cities from 33 countries as new members of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

India had applied for the first time to UNESCO in these categories in 2015.

Varanasi: City of Music

Varanasi was advocated as a perfect example of India’s intangible cultural heritage as a combination of a temple city with its rich tradition in music.

The Varanasi School of Music or the Benaras Gharana is named after the holy city of Varansi. Semi classical genres like Hori, Chaiti, Tappa, Daadra trace city’s rich musical heritage.

The ghats, havelis and temples have housed the Benaras Gharana and nurtured it backed with the Banaras Hindu University with its Music and Dance departments.

Jaipur: City of Crafts and Folk Art

The Government of Rajasthan nominated Jaipur under the Creative Cities Network for its art and craft.

The city identifies 36 varieties of crafts including the ones related to Sculpture, Pottery Textiles and Jewellery making.

Right from King Sawai Jai Singh II of Jaipur in 18th Century to his successors, the city has been nurtured as a centre of artistic excellence.

Almost 30 percent of Jaipur’s economy is sustained by small scale craft industries.

About UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network

The UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) was created in 2004 to promote cooperation with and among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development.

By joining the Network, cities commit to sharing their best practices and developing partnerships involving the public and private sectors as well as civil society in order to:

Strengthen the creation, production, distribution and dissemination of cultural activities, goods and services.
Develop hubs of creativity and innovation and broaden opportunities for creators and professionals in the cultural sector.
Improve access to and participation in cultural life, in particular for marginalized or vulnerable groups and individuals.
Fully integrate culture and creativity into sustainable development plans.

The Network covers seven creative fields: Crafts and Folk Arts, Media Arts, Film, Design, Gastronomy, Literature and Music.