Here’s What Was In ‘Treasure Chest’ Gifted To G20 Leaders By PM Modi


Some of the gifts were given to the leaders in a sandook, or chest

New Delhi:

Apart from the hospitality, customised menus and special attention paid to their every need, heads of state and leaders representing their countries at the G20 summit were also given a special hamper by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The hamper consisted of handicrafts and products reflecting India’s rich tradition and depth of craftsmanship.

These are the gifts that were given to the leaders: 

Handcrafted Sandook

Some of the gifts were given to the leaders in a sandook, or chest. The chest was hand-crafted using Sheesham (Indian Rosewood), which is valued for its strength, durability, distinctive grain patterns and rich colour. The chest had a brass strip etched onto the wood, transforming it into a  masterpiece of visual delight.

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Red Gold

Saffron (‘Zafran’ in Persian, ‘Kesar’ in Hindi) is the most exotic and expensive spice in the world. Across cultures and civilisations, saffron has been valued for its unparalleled culinary and medicinal value. The stigma of Crocus sativus, saffron’s crimson hue holds the concentrated essence of sun-soaked days and cool nights. 

Kashmiri Saffron stands as a true embodiment of exclusivity and exceptional quality. Its intense aromatic profile, vibrant colour and unmatched potency sets it apart. This is due to the crisp air, abundant sunlight and well-drained soil of Kashmir, which yields saffron with a higher concentration of essential oils. Saffron is also rich in antioxidants and provides many health benefits.

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The Champagne Of Teas

Pekoe Darjeeling and Nilgiri Tea are two illustrious gems from India’s tea tapestry, epitomising the delicate art of tea cultivation and infusion. 

Darjeeling tea is the most valued tea in the world. Only tender shoots are handpicked from shrubs, located on the misty hills of West Bengal at altitudes of 3,000-5,000 feet. The soil’s unique character gets reflected in a highly aromatic and invigorating cup of tea.

Nilgiri Tea comes from the most spectacular mountain range in south India. Cultivated amidst the mountains’ lush terrain at an elevation of 1,000-3,000 ft, the tea is relatively mild. It is renowned for its bright and brisk liquor and clean flavour, and is the preferred choice for lemon and iced tea.

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Araku Coffee

Araku Coffee is the world’s first terroir-mapped coffee, grown on organic plantations in the Araku Valley of Andhra Pradesh. The coffee beans bear the essence of the valley’s rich soil and temperate climate. Farmers work by hand in small farms and grow the coffee naturally, without the use of machines or chemicals. This ensures that the coffee is organic and the cultivation is sustainable.

Pure Arabica with a rare aromatic profile, Araku Coffee is known for its unique texture and a symphony of flavors that makes for a smooth, well-balanced cup.

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Mangrove Honey

Sundarbans is the largest mangrove forest in the world, located in the delta formed by the confluence of the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers in the Bay of Bengal. It is home to wild colonies of honeybees. Before the culture of beehive farming, people used to hunt honeycombs in the wilderness. This tradition of beehive hunting is still practised among the people of the Sundarbans.

The distinct and rich flavour profile of Sundarbans honey mirrors the biodiversity of the area. It blends the nectar of various mangrove flowers like Khalisha, Bani and Garan to create a harmony of sweet and earthy notes. It is less viscous than other types of honey. Besides being 100% natural and pure, Sundarban honey is high in flavonoids and provides valuable health benefits.

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Pashmina Shawl

The Kashmiri Pashmina shawl has many enchanting stories woven into its fabric. ‘Pashm’ means wool in Persian, but in Kashmiri, it refers to the raw unspun wool of the Changthangi goat (the world’s most unique Cashmere goat) found only at a height of 14,000 feet above sea level. The wool is collected by combing (and not shearing) the undercoat of this goat. 

Skilled artisans hand-spin, weave, and embroider their delicate fibers using age-old processes. The result is a light, warm and intricate shawl that embodies timeless elegance and craftsmanship. In ancient courts, Pashmina was used as an indicator of rank and nobility. The fabric was an integral part of the ritual of bestowing honour upon anyone.

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Telling A Fragrant Story

Zighrana Ittar is a masterpiece of fragrance hailing from Kannauj, a city in Uttar Pradesh. ‘Ittar’ (meaning ‘perfume’) is an essential oil derived from botanical sources. It showcases a centuries-old tradition of exquisite perfume crafting. Skilfully distilled using a method passed down through generations, ittar is an ode to precision and patience. Master artisans delicately gather rare blossoms like jasmine and roses at dawn, when their fragrance is most potent. 

Through the meticulous process of hydro-distillation, the essential oils are extracted and then matured over time. This alchemical journey culminates in Zighrana Ittar – a fragrant symphony that resonates with the rich heritage of Kannauj.

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Khadi Scarf

Khadi, which originated in India, is an eco-friendly clothing material beloved for its beautiful texture and versatility throughout the seasons. It can be spun into life from cotton, silk, jute or wool. It is also one of the most important symbols of India’s freedom struggle and its name was coined by Mahatma Gandhi. 

Rural artisans of India, 70% of whom are women, hand-spin and hand-weave these intricate threads. From its beginnings on the spinning wheel during India’s Independence movement to being a marker of high quality and luxury, khadi has been epitomising sustainable fashion for decades.

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Commemorative Stamps, Coins

The leaders were also given a coin box with commemorative stamps and coins marking India’s G20 Presidency, which had been released by PM Modi during the inauguration of Bharat Mandapam in New Delhi in July.

The designs of both the coins and stamps draw inspiration from India’s G20 logo and theme of ‘One Earth. One Family. One Future’. The two postage stamps, with a denomination Rs 20 each, celebrate India’s G20 Presidency period from 1 December, 2022 to 30 November, 2023.

The two G20 commemorative coins have denominations of Rs 75 and Rs 100, signifying the completion of 75 years of India’s Independence, and the beginning of ‘Amrit Kaal’, India’s journey towards 100 years of its freedom. 

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Gifts For Spouses

The Prime Minister also gave gifts to the spouses of the leaders.

Kashmiri Pashmina Stole in Papier Mache Box

These were given to the spouses of Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Brazilian Prime Minister Lula Da Silva. The stoles were presented in a papier mache box, which is among the most delicate, decorative and renowned crafts of Jammu and Kashmir. A masterpiece of craftsmanship, it is made from a mixture of paper pulp, rice straw and copper sulphate.

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Assam Stole In Kadam Wood Box

The spouse of Indonesian President Joko Widodo was given an Assam stole in a Kadam Wood. Assam stoles are traditional pieces of clothing woven in the northeastern state. The stole that was gifted was crafted by skilled artisans using Muga silk. 

Assam stoles are known for their intricate designs and motifs that often draw inspiration from the region’s natural surroundings. They are not just garments but embody the rich cultural heritage of the Assamese people and their weaving traditions. 

Kadam (Burflower tree) wood is considered auspicious in Indian culture and is featured in Indian religions and mythologies. The box has been handcrafted by the artisans of Karnataka.

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Kanjivaram Stole In Kadam Wood Jali Box

This was given to the spouse of Japanese PM Fumio Kishida. Kanjivaram silk creations are a true masterpiece of Indian weaving, renowned for their rich and vibrant colors, intricate designs, and unparalleled craftsmanship. 

‘Kanjivaram’ derives its name from a small south Indian village – Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu, from where the craft originated. The stole was handcrafted from pure mulberry silk threads by skilled weavers and presented in a Kadam wood jali box. 

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Banarasi Stole In Kadam Wood Box

UK PM Rishi Sunak’s wife was given a Banarasi Stole In a Kadam Wood Box. Banarasi silk stoles are India’s elegant treasures. Handcrafted in Varanasi, luxurious silk threads are used to create intricate patterns, reflecting the city’s cultural richness and its weaving heritage.

Banarasi silk stoles are widely used for weddings and special occasions. Their shimmering texture and vibrant hues make them coveted fashion accessories. 

The stole was presented in a Kadam wood box. 

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Ikkat Stole In Teak Wood Box

The wife of Mauritius PM Pravind Jugnauth was given a timeless masterpiece created by the artisans of Odisha – a traditional mulberry silk stole adorned with the exquisite ‘Ikat’ technique. ‘Ikat’ is a meticulous dyeing process on silk or cotton. It involves tying and dying specific sections of threads to produce a symphony of shades, while keeping the tied portions untouched. 

As these threads intertwine, they create a resplendent fabric, graced with pale motifs against a dark backdrop. The stole was presented in a Teak wood box, handcrafted by artisans from Gujarat.

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