Introduction

In a state as vast as Uttar Pradesh – a geographical expanse of 2,40,928sq km, a population of 204.2 million people – there cannot but be great diversity in all facets of life. There are diverse terrains, diverse crops and foods, diverse climates, and coming from all these, diverse community traditions and economic pursuits. Hence comes the great and beautiful diversity of crafts and industries in Uttar Pradesh, in which even small towns and small districts are known for interesting and unexpected products typical of that area.

The UP government’s One District, One Product scheme aims to encourage such indigenous and specialized products and crafts. There are products in UP that are found nowhere else – like the ancient and nutritious 'Kala namak' rice, the rare and intriguing wheat-stalk craft, world-famous chikankari and zari-zardozi work on clothes, and the intricate and stunning horn and bone work that uses the remains of dead animals rather than live ones, a nature-friendly replacement for ivory. Many of these products are GI-tagged, which means they are certified as being specific to that region in Uttar Pradesh. Many of these were also dying community traditions that are being revived through modernization and publicization.
Other district-specific industries are more commonplace, but their products are still unique to those regions. Asafoetida, Desi ghee, Fancy glassware, Bedsheets, Jaggery, Leather Goods – the districts that specialize in these crafts are in UP, and you might already own or use a UP product without knowing it. These are also small and medium industries that need modernization, machinery and productivity enhancement.

Like the diversity of its people, climates, faiths and cultures, the diversity of products and crafts in UP is also breathtaking. Embark on this journey of exploration and travel across 75 districts to see the one product they are known for – some will already be in your home, and the rest, we have no doubt, will soon get there.