New Delhi: Visiting G20 Heads of State, leaders and their spouses were presented with handcrafted artefacts signifying India's rich culture by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

It is comprised of a curated compilation of handcrafted artefacts and products, which speak volumes about India’s rich cultural traditions.

Some of the products are the product of centuries of tradition and are cherished across the world for their unparalleled workmanship and quality. These were meticulously created by the hands of master craftsmen. However, some products are the result of the unique bio-diversity of the country.

The Government of India presented a Kashmiri Pashmina Stole in a Papier Mache box to the spouse of Brazil President Lula da Silva, Rosângela da Silva.

This Kashmiri Pashmina stole has many enchanting stories woven into its fabric. The wool is obtained by combing (and not shearing) the undercoat of specific Himalayan goats. Skilled artisans hand-spin, weave, and embroider their delicate fibres using age-old processes. The result is a light, warm and intricate stole that embodies timeless elegance and craftsmanship.

For centuries, Pashmina has been a symbol of royalty. From being the favourite of empresses to adorning the modern fashionista. The exquisite elegance and feel of these stoles have been adored by women across generations.

Moreover, the stole was 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.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi gifted an Assam stole in a Kadam Wood Box to Iriana Joko Widodo, the spouse of Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

Assam stoles are traditional pieces of clothing woven in the northeastern state of Assam. This stole has been crafted by skilled artisans using Muga silk. These stoles are known for their intricate designs and motifs that often draw inspiration from the region's natural surroundings, often showcasing elements like flora and fauna.

Assam stoles are not just garments; they embody the rich cultural heritage of the Assamese people and their weaving traditions.

Draping an Assam stole isn't just donning clothing – it's embracing a glorious cultural heritage and artistic legacy.

The Assam stole was presented in a Kadam wood box. Kadam (Burflower tree) wood is considered auspicious in Indian culture and features in Indian religions and mythologies. This box has been handcrafted by the artisans of Karnataka.

PM Modi further presented Kanjivaram Stole to Yuko Kishida, the spouse of his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida. Kanjivaram silk creations are a true masterpiece of Indian weaving, renowned for their rich and vibrant colours, 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 is handcrafted from pure mulberry silk threads, by skilled weavers who have inherited the tradition and techniques from their ancestors. It is a very durable and strong fabric. At the same time, it exudes a queenly elegance, sophistication and grace.

This stole was presented in a Kadam wood Jali box. Kadam (Burflower tree) wood is considered auspicious in Indian culture and features in Indian religions and mythologies. This box has been handcrafted with ‘Jali’ or latticework by the artisans of Kerala.

Furthermore, PM Modi presented an elegant Banarasi stole to the spouse of the UK's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Akshata Murty in Kadam Wood Box.

Banarasi silk stoles are India's elegant treasures. Handcrafted in Varanasi, they're soft like dreams. Luxurious silk threads create intricate patterns, reflecting the city's cultural richness and its weaving heritage.

Banarasi silk stoles are adored for weddings and special occasions. They add a regal grace to the wearer. Their shimmering texture and vibrant hues make them coveted fashion accessories. Whether draped over shoulders or worn as headscarves, these stoles exude timeless charm. ‘Banarsi’ is one of the most prized possessions in the wardrobe of every well-dressed woman in the sub-continent.

This stole was presented in a Kadam wood box. Kadam (Burflower tree) wood is considered auspicious in Indian culture and features in Indian religions and mythologies. This box has been handcrafted by the artisans of Karnataka.

Moreover, PM Modi further extended the gift to the spouse of Mauritius PM Pravind Jugnauth, Kobita Ramdanee. He presented the Iakkat Stole packed in the Teak Wood Box.

Ikkat Stole is a timeless masterpiece created by the artisans of Odisha – this is 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. Precision is the heart of this art. Originating in the 12th century when artisans migrated from Gujarat, the legacy of Odisha Ikat endures and thrives.

Presented in a Teak wood box, the stole has been handcrafted by artisans of Gujarat using the hardy and durable teak wood.

PM Modi presented a Banarasi Silk Stole in an Ebony Jali Box to the spouse of Argentina's President Alberto Fernández, Marcela Luchetti.

Banarasi silk stoles are India's elegant treasures. Handcrafted in Varanasi, they're soft like dreams. Luxurious silk threads create intricate patterns, reflecting the city's cultural richness and its weaving heritage.

The other handcrafted artefacts included a Khadi scarf, Sheeshamwood Sandook with Brass Patti, Araku Coffee, Kashmir Saffron and many more.

Khadi Scarf originated from India and Khadi is an eco-friendly clothing material most 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. In fact, its name was coined by Mahatma Gandhi himself.

The rural artisans of India, comprising 70 per cent women, hand spin and hand-weave these intricate threads into the ultimate fashion statements adorned across the globe. From its beginnings on the spinning wheel during India’s independence movement to today being a marker of high quality and luxury, khadi has been epitomizing sustainable fashion for decades.

Another gift was Sheeshamwood Sandook with Brass Patti. ‘Sandook’ is the Hindi word for a treasure chest. Traditionally, it is a strong box made of solid old wood or metal, with a lid on top and embellishments all over. It holds a special place in Indian cultural and folk legends, besides being the epitome of exquisite workmanship.

This Sandook has been hand-crafted using Sheesham (Indian Rosewood), which is valued for its strength, durability, distinctive grain patterns and rich colour. The brass patti (strip) is delicately etched and embedded into the wood, transforming the piece into a masterpiece of visual delight and tactile splendour. It is worthy of being treasure on its own, besides storing other treasures within.

The present also included the most exotic spice in the world, Saffron from Kashmir. Saffron (‘Zafran’ in Persian, ‘Kesar’ in Hindi) is the most expensive spice in the world. Across cultures and civilizations, saffron has been valued for its unparalleled culinary and medicinal value.

It is a treasure of nature, both rare and enticing. Each strand of it comprises the stigma of ‘Saffron Crocus’. The stigma's crimson hue holds the concentrated essence of sun-soaked days and cool nights. Cultivating saffron is a very labour-intensive process. It requires the delicate hand-harvesting of thousands of flowers (each flower contains three crimson stigmas) to yield a mere ounce of the spice.

Kashmiri Saffron stands as a true embodiment of exclusivity and exceptional quality. Its intense aromatic profile, vibrant colour and unmatched potency set 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.

Apart from being a luxurious and sought-after culinary spice, saffron is abundantly rich in antioxidants and provides many health benefits.

Another present was the Pekoe Darjeeling and Nilgiri Tea. Pekoe Darjeeling and Nilgiri Tea are two illustrious gems from Bharat’s tea tapestry, epitomizing 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 3000-5000 ft. These nuances, along with the soil’s unique character get reflected in the highly aromatic and invigorating cup that comes to your table.

Nilgiri Tea comes from the most spectacular mountain range in South Bharat. Cultivated amidst the mountains’ lush terrain at an elevation of 1000-3000 feet. The tea is relatively mild. At the same time, it is renowned for its bright and brisk liquor and clean flavour. It is a preferred choice for lemon or iced tea.

The government of India also has the world’s first terroir-mapped coffee, Araku coffee. It is grown on organic plantations in the Araku Valley of Andhra Pradesh. These coffee beans bear the essence of the valley's rich soil and temperate climate.

The coffee plants are cultivated by the valley's farmers who farm the land in complete harmony with nature. They 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. What the end user gets is traditional coffee powder/beans directly from a farmer’s house.

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

One of the gifts was from the largest mangrove forest in the world, Sundarbans. Sundarbans Multiflora Mangrove Honey mirrors the bio-diversity of the area and has a distinct and rich flavour profile.

Sundarbans is the largest mangrove forest in the world, located on 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 from the wilderness. This tradition of beehive hunting is still practised among the people of Sundarbans.

Sundarbans Multiflora Mangrove Honey 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 per cent natural and pure, Sundarban honey is also high in flavonoids and provides valuable health benefits.

PM Modi also presented the texture of a rare luxury, Kashmiri Pashmina.

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 fibres 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 rituals of bestowing honour upon anyone.

Every piece of clothing made using Pashmina is a rare amalgamation - of craftsmanship, of exclusivity, of legend and of style.

Adding to the list of gifts, the government of India also presented Zighrana Ittar to the global leaders. 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. Skillfully 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, allowing the notes to harmonize and deepen. This alchemical journey culminates in Zighrana Ittar - a fragrant symphony that resonates with the rich heritage of Kannauj. Some niche and artisanal perfumes also incorporate Ittar into their creations, for its unique and natural scent profile.

Zighrana Ittar transcends time, conjuring up images of ancient bazaars and royal courts, where once its scent graced the air.

Moreover, to commemorate India's G20 Presidency, PM Modi released special G20 postage stamps and coins on July 26, 2023. The G20 India Stamps and Coins were released during the inauguration of Bharat Mandapam at Pragati Maidan.

The designs of both the coins and stamps draw inspiration from India's G20 Logo and theme of 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam' or 'One Earth. One Family. One Future'. The two Postage Stamps of denomination 20 each, celebrate India's G20 Presidency period from December 1 2022-November 30, 2023.

The first G20 Commemorative Postage Stamp demonstrates togetherness and the collective will of G20 members to achieve inclusive, decisive and action-oriented outcomes under India's Presidency.