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India Handmade Carpets

Ablaze with thrills…..Aglow with delights……read the poster of the old time Hollywood classic "The magic Carpet" which starred Lucille Ball (of I Love Lucy fame) and John Agar. The movie was a legendary story that depicted the powers in a Carpet which could fly in the air and ferry across the hero in this film. Similar tales have been part of our growing up years, where Alladin was blessed with a flying carpet on which he flew to fetch his love of life Princess Jasmine.

Emperor Akbar is said to have laid the foundation of carpet weaving tradition in India, by bringing some fine and expert carpet weavers from Persia. Mughal carpets were brightly colored and it is amazing to note that some of the hand knotted silk carpets had as many as 4224 knots per square inch. Soon full-fledged carpet weaving centers were spread across Agra and Delhi. Hence the present carpet weaving tradition in India is largely influenced by the carpet tradition of the Mughals.

Today Carpets are an integral part of Indian craft traditions, well applauded across Globe. The tradition of carpet weaving in India is centuries old. Carpets are generally made from wool and silk. On the other hand floorings like mats and durries are made up of a variety of material, ranging from wool, cotton, jute, coir, bamboo and grass. The origin of carpet weaving traditions in India goes to the medieval period. The Mughals borrowed the Persian technique of carpet weaving. Mughal carpets were as elaborate as their miniature paintings and illustrated court life, animals and floral motifs.

The modern Indian carpet and flooring traditions are largely a continuation of and they have beautifully molded themselves to suit the needs and aspirations of the modern times. The credit of popularizing Indian carpets in foreign markets goes to the artistic abilities and skill of the Indian carpet weavers. In India, different states have their own carpet weaving traditions. However, this artistry is no longer a trade that is still isolated in the villages or towns. Along time, this craft has evolved spreading its wings not only at the domestic front but also the international markets. This article is an interface of a complete know-how regarding the carpet industry right from its hubs to the measures taken by the government to further extend the export of carpets globally.

During the 19th century, the Indian carpet scenario nosedived. Bored with the umpteen repetition of similar Mughal trends and styles were commonly seen in the Western market. In addition, the local English markets saw their inventories filling with products imitating the Mughal motifs as directed by the European companies. In addition, the standard Indian dyes couldn't remain rivals to the newly made synthetic dyes in trend. Gradually, all reputed Indian carpets were known by the place of their origin, for instance carpets from Agra were called as Agra Carpets. Since India never had its own nomadic origination of carpet weaving like Persia, Indian carpets squeezed within the city workshops and couldn't be branded like the Persian ones.

Fortunately, the Indian carpet industry saw a refreshing yet a conservative revival after several years during the British rule in India. After independence, the Indian government has taken some drastic steps to empower the artisans and the weaving industry. Today, the Indian carpet Industry fascinates the world with its enthralling array of carpets woven. Indian carpets are specimens of excellence designed and woven as legends, which proudly embellish homes both in domestic as well as International front. Some of the popular patterns and designs appreciated worldwide include - Afshar, Antique, Bakhshaish, Bakhtiari, Baluch, Gabbeh, Persian, Oushak, Sarough, and Tabriz to name a few.

When it comes to purchasing a carpet or rug, it is recommended that the fiber used in the carpet be considered important before investing. Wool carpets or rugs are resilient to high moisture areas, thus offering the best durability with elegance. Since wool can be easily dyed and has excellent piling quality, they are generally suited for rough and tough areas. Being a natural fibre, chances of allergies are highly reduced. Wool is the most favored material for the piles of oriental rugs and carpets. They often have cotton foundation but at times the weft may be of wool. Cotton foundation provides a better strength. Varanasi in UP is the best place to take your pick for a woolen carpet or rug.

Silk is a natural lustrous fibre and has a high tensile strength. The fibre is so lustrous that weavers at times exploit the play of light in their patterns. Silk makes wonderful oriental carpets or rugs. It is also used as pattern highlights in woolen carpets. These carpets are rich and expensive and are usually made on the cotton foundation but some may even have silk foundation. Silk carpets or rugs are highly preferred in soft, even and dry areas owing to the delicacy of the fibre. Also, silk carpets require a high maintenance as compared to that of wool carpets. The State of Kashmir is famous for manufacturing finest silk carpets in India. It is recommended that tourists visiting Srinagar should definitely pay a visit to the shops selling these lovely carpets.

Jute carpets or rugs are very economical. They are woven into beautiful patterns and form perfect area or accent rugs. The only drawback with jute rugs is that they do not hold very well in moist or dampness. Jute can be woven, knitted, twisted, corded, sewn, or braided.

Nylon is the most preferred synthetic carpet material. Other variety of fibre used includes polyester, olefin and acrylic. Nylon is the most durable of all, resilient, and easy to clean and maintain. Olefin is preferred for outdoors due to its resistance for water damage pilling and static. Polyester is not so durable but easy to maintain. It offers a wide variety of textures but susceptible to piling and shedding.

The modern carpet weaving industry in India is primarily spread across eastern UP, in Bhadohi- Mirzapur belt. This belt is said to be the leading woolen carpet-producing center in the country. Tufted woolen carpets are gaining popularity these days. Gabbe woolen carpets, chain stitch rugs and carpets, and namdas are also made in India. Delhi and Agra are the destinations that offer a wide variety of carpets, as these two places are frequented the most by International traveler during their visit to India.

No House looks complete without a carpet or rug embracing its floors.

An apt line by Ralph Waldo Emerson "Love of beauty is taste and creation of beauty is art" truly defines this.