The carpet industry in India is one of the oldest and well established regionalised sectors employing over two million weavers. The industry has been thriving since the 16th century. India is one of the largest handmade carpet producers and exporters in the world. As a matter of fact, almost 90 per cent of the carpets produced in India are exported. Indian carpets are known for exclusive design, attractive colours and quality. Indian carpets have an outstanding demand in the international market.

 

Carpet weaving was introduced in India by the Mughals. Some of the most splendid and magnificent carpets were woven during their time. Royalty, nobility and the wealthy were its patrons. Later, carpets entered the house of common people and the business class. Over time, weavers have turned into artists who not only weave carpets in exotic colours and designs but give an aesthetic touch to Indian carpets.

 

Post-Independence

The carpet industry progressed rapidly during the post-Independence. Overseas demand surged in the 1970s. As a result, exports which were worth around INR 110 million in 1970-71 registered an amazing increase to INR 36 billion in 2006-07. According to a report by Wool Research Association, there was a sharp decline in carpet exports after 2007-08 due to global economic recession.

 

Major carpet weaving centres

Earlier, there were a few carpet weaving centres. Carpet weaving centres have gradually spread across northern India due to availability of resources and several other historical reasons. The major carpet manufacturing centres are Agra, Jaipur, Srinagar, Danapur and Bhadohi. In the past few decades, Panipat has also emerged as another major centre for carpet production.

 

Types of carpets

 

India has a variety of hand-made carpets:

  • Pure silk carpets
  • Tufted woollen carpets
  • Hand-knotted woollen carpets
  • Staple and synthetic carpets
  • Gabbe woollen carpets
  • Hand-made woollen dhurries
  • Chain stitch rugs

 

Each type of carpet has its own significance, pattern and tradition satisfying different needs of the customers. Each is unique in its respective category.

 

Overview of key players

Carpets and rugs are used for their visual appeal and functional properties in homes, offices and public institutions. It provides a protective layer to floors. In predominantly cold regions, carpets and rugs are used to give warmth. Until a few years back, the demand for carpets was highest in developed countries. The top five leading countries in carpet imports from India have been the US, UK, Germany, Canada, France and Japan.