Arastan has an interesting collection of artefacts from places on the Silk Route

The trail that Nisha Misra follows while collecting handcrafted treasures for her store Arastan is that of the Silk Route. “There is a certain nostalgia about the Silk Route,” says Nisha, who finds both similarities and differences in the artefacts she collects from Uzbekistan, Morocco, Turkey, Thailand and parts of North India such as Rajasthan, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.

“For instance, one can trace the origins of the Jaipur Blue Pottery to Kazhakstan or the Lucknow Zardozi to Bukhara.” Arastan offers artefacts in three categories: Art and Décor, Jewellery and Accessories and Carpets and Kilms. The store has on display some quaint and unusual townscapes done by an artist from Uzbekistan, whose play of light and composition fascinated Nisha, who quit her job in an IT consultancy to pursue her passion of collecting artefacts.

There are some exquisite miniatures: some Mughal-inspired and some free-hand exclusives done by a Russian artist from Tashkent. Encased in warm wood, these, as Nisha says, are an ideal gifting option. She has Moroccan silver plates encased in iron with Bidari work that originated in Syria, moved to Morocco and came to India. There is also a collection of vibrant ceramic platters from Jaipur, hand-crafted bronze lamps from Morocco and inlaid Indian mirrors.

Her collection of largely woollen rugs, sourced from countries like Afghanistan and Turkey (apart from India) is quite extensive. These come in intricate and bold prints, in a variety of colours, both vibrant and pleasantly subdued.

Meanwhile, the collection of silver jewellery is quite quirky. There are patri pendants with miniature figures carved into the metal, Moroccan tribal pendants in silver, and chains with hand-crafted beads from Thailand. This is apart from a range of earrings designed by an Indian designer.

Originally an online store, Arastan has just set-up shop in the city. Most of their collection can also be viewed online at www.arastan.com. Décor at Arastan is available from Rs. 1,500 onwards up to over Rs. 1 lakh, carpets are available between Rs. 10,000 and over Rs. 2 lakhs. The price range for the jewellery and accessories category begins at Rs. 500 and goes up to over Rs. 15000.

Arastan is located at 23, Nandidurga Road, Jayamahal Extension, opposite the Airtel showroom.