The Indian carpet industry is the true expression of the worker's philosophy and their insight in to the nature. They express nature's changing moods in the form of designs on carpets. The designs, composition, color, size, finish, methods have been influenced by the incidents in Indian history, culture, myths, life style, and geographical conditions prevailing in the country.

History of Indian Carpets

Indian carpet industry does not originated as a part of tradition, but as an act of importation by Mughal emperors. It is believed that the first Mughal emperor Babur (1526-30) imported carpets from Turkey and Persia to enhance the ambience of his court. But, later imperial workshops for carpet production were actually set up by Akbar in Agra and Fatehpur Sikri. With the ruin of Mughal Empire, Indian handicrafts faced a set back. During 19th century local carpet workshops were governed and directed by English or European companies.

In the post-British period such indigenous industries started flourishing in different parts of the country. Each region engaged in making different types of carpets with variations in material (silk, wool, etc.), designs, color and quality. On the basis of quality of wool used in the production, the feel of carpets differs. Northern region carpets are soft and shiny - while those of southern region are rough and opaque. The leading carpet manufacturing workshops are located in Kashmir, Rajasthan, Punjab, Utttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh.

Carpet Industry in Kashmir

Kashmir is famous for its fine quality hand knotted carpets, which are expensive and considered as lifelong investment. An average piece is made with about 324 knots per square inch. Persian culture influenced the Kashmiri carpet for quite a long time, but gradually the Kashmiri Carpet industry has acquired an indigenous character. Kashmir has developed some of its own designs based on, the traditional paisley, shawl patterns, leaves and flowers. In Kashmir, Talim method is used to train craftsmen.

Wool is the basic material used. Silk is also commonly used not only for the pile but also for the warp and weft. The number of knots on the back of the carpet indicates the quality. Bokhara hand knotted carpets are one of the finest with about 120-500 knots in a square inch.

The deep pile of Indian hand knotted carpets comes in magnificent colors, with designs which are oriental, exotic and uniquely modern.
Namdhas: The namdha is a specialty of Kashmir; these carpets are embroidered with woolen thread that completely covers the base of Hessian. A namdha is prepared by spreading wool with certain quantities of cotton evenly either on mats, as in Kashmir, or on sackcloth, as in Rajasthan. This is moistened with a special solution, which is pressed either by tramping upon it or by applying pressure by hand. Namdhas are either embroidered or appliqued.