Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay, doyenne of handicrafts was deeply committed to raising the status of craftspersons. Kamaladevi instituted the National Awards in 1965 to give recognition to master craftsmen. Craftspersons were reminded that they were inheritors of a great tradition and their contribution was recognized by all in India and across the world.

Echoing the same sentiment, The Crafts Council of Karnataka, instituted the Vishwakarma Awards in the year 1986, with a difference. The awards were given to young and talented craftspersons with promise, for excellence in their craft. The recognition of their talent served as motivation for continued involvement in their craft and further accolades.

The Shilp Guru awards for master craftpersons was introduced during the year 2002, on the occasion of “Golden Jubilee Year of Handicrafts Resurgence in India” The award is conferred on legendary master craftspersons, for their supremacy and excellence in their craft and their contribution to the preservation of the rich and diverse craft heritage of the country.