Handicraft Industries of Jodhpur


Jodhpur, enriched with its glory of heritage, is enamoured as the cultural capital of Rajasthan State of India. This medieval city, the second largest town of the State, yet retains its elegant charm and occult identity. The stone carved town surrounded by hills and vast tracks of land retains its ancient beauty with all around rippling sand dunes dancing to the tunes of whispering winds. Winding away through the bustling narrow streets of original walled precincts reveal the trait of life remained undisturbed down the ages where one can find women folk adorn in dazzling, colourful costumes and sparkling jewellery, maintaining a distinct traditional identify. The town with a spectrum of places of tourist attractions keeps on luring the international and domestic tourists round the year. The impeccable blend of variance architectural styles and influences lies in majestically standing Mehrangarh Fort with its impregnable walls and exquisite palaces. Again, the grandeur and magnificence blended luxury of Umed Bhawan Palace which was built with local yellow sand stone, perched on a hill takes one’s breath away at the first sight. Yet again, in the spirit of legendary warriors, the gorgeous well-carved cenotaphs and memorials in marble at Jaswant Thada attract telling the stirring tales of gallantry and sacrifices. The serpentine streets of the town and hustling markets provides a lifetime experience. The city, rich in architecture and culture heritage, is also the home of ethnic art and crafts. Jodhpur has lately emerged as a hub of wooden artistic furniture and handicrafts, the number one exporting town of the country in wooden crafts. The uniqueness of handicrafts of the town has led the world to the fantasy of our rich cultural heritage. Because of the artistic and ornate craftsmanship which do not have parallel the world over, the masterpieces of handicrafts of Jodhpur, while preserving the centuries old traditions and legacy, have carried out an important niche in the highly competitive international mercantile. The handicrafts of Jodhpur, thus, encompass rich assortment of numerous items having designers blend of spectrum with each individual item possessing an exclusive discerning subtle elegance depicting our priceless heritage.


Jodhpur, a land of Chivalry, tourism and heritage lately emerged as a big center of artistic furniture and ethnic / traditional handicrafts. Curiously enough Jodhpur, quite a serene town remotely placed on the map of India is serving almost all countries of the world with its broad spectrum creative products of artistic wooden furniture, life-style accessories, exquisite Indian crafts, decoratives, giftwares, metalewares, woodwares etc. The innovativeness, the undiscovered trends, the violent departures from the established precedents by the manufactures / exporters of Jodhpur have helped them create something uncommon, something unusual and something radically new to attract the buyers world over. The handicraft export industry of Jodhpur has virtually become the power house to sustain the economy of the State in general and the Region in particular. The Handicraft Sector is economically important to high potential for export thereby earning valuable forex for the nation reckoning to about Rs. 1500 crores a year. Again, handicraft export industry which is next to agricultural sector in the matter of employment generation, has benifitted the region by generating employment to not less than 3 lac persons directly or indirectly, most of whom belong to the weaker section of the society. Yet more the Handicraft Industry of Jodhpur is promoting Cottage Sector deep in the rural areas which keep on reeling under year-to-year drought conditions of the Region. Again the industry is singled out by being eco-friendly, no use of big machinery or much of power, no requirement of imported substance or technology in the manufacturing process and even not much capital is attracted by the manufacturing units. Yet the industry generates employment not less than three lac people, mostly belonging to weaker section of the society. Again, it contains vast range of products with opportunity for specialization mainly in wooden and iron materials of which almost 100% are exported. With the foreign buyers looking forward for the best value of their money, the Handicraft Export Industry of Jodhpur is the only destination in the country which far excels in their quality and are absolutely buyers’ friendly. The manufactures / exporters here keep on reconstructing their business, keeping conformity with the international standards and the competitiveness, doing away the things more better at competitive prices. Lately, there have been a conscious move from traditional handicrafts and artistic furniture to giftware in general and life-styles in particular for catering the contemporary demands of the international market. Again from furniture to accessories of home-decors, the unmatched range of super designed and super-quality keeping abreast the global demands, the handicraft export industry of Jodhpur works to the tune committed to its strategy of providing world class design development and services in honouring time-bound commitments. Jodhpur, thus, is rated one amongst the best in the country in wood-craft with manufacturing and export of handicrafts and artistic furniture. Rapid strides in such an export trade of Jodhpur caused opening of one after another Inland Contain Depots here, one in Govt. Sector, another in private sector while third by Indian Railways. The cumulative dispatches of containers from these three ICDs has risen upto 26,000 TEUs (Twenty Feet Export Units) per year. In terms of earning foreign exchange to the nation, Jodhpur is earning not less than Rs. 1500 crores a year. Jodhpur, rich in its cultural heritage has become home of ethnic art and crafts. The town has lately emerged as one of the biggest hub of India for manufacture and export of artistic furniture, accessories including home decor, life-styles and handicrafts. Within less than three decades Jodhpur had arose from zero exports of handicrafts & artistic furniture to an export of Rs. 1500 crores a year. The stupendous growth is a glowing tribute to the unflinching efforts of the exporters of Jodhpur particularly in the existing highly competitive international market. The growth rate of exports from Jodhpur is in itself a testimony of quality work and art by crafts persons and dedication of exporters. Their efforts to bring about standization, quality control and mechanization while retaining the uniqueness of handicrafts, are commendable. The dedication, devotion, dynamism and entrepreneurship of exporting community of handicraft exporters of Jodhpur, led the name of town spread to the world over. Their aggressive product development, deposition to artistic manufacturing growth, devotion to design development, dedication to quality merchandise, adhering to time schedules and committal to buyer’s satisfaction led them to create Jodhpur a hub of artistic furniture and handicrafts. It is a legacy that Jodhpur manufactures furniture / handicrafts only to be exported. The trend remained to be multifaceted. From original to recycled, from antique-finish to contemporaries, from traditional to exquisite artistic blend, from simple artistic to innovative quality product. The uniqueness of handcraft and furniture created by the manufacturer / exporters of the town has led the world to the fantasy of our rich cultural heritage. Because of artistic and ornate caftmanship which do not carry a parallel world over, the masterpieces of handicrafts and artistic furniture, while preserving the centuries-old traditions and legacy, have carried out an important niche in the highly competitive international mercantile. The handicraft and artistic furniture of Jodhpur encompasses rich assortment of numerous items having designers blend of spectrum with each individual item possessing an exclusive discerning subtitle elegance depleting our precious heritage leading to the international recognition of the town.


Just imagine few years back about two hundred trucks daily pouring in Jodhpur, particularly from villages not of Rajasthan only but the neighboring States laden with heaps of old, discarded items of wood worth using none else than fuel. Such items included old door panels, pieces of discarded furniture, old house-hold items, bullock-carts / camel-carts, yoke etc. It happened to be perception of design development by the handicraft exporters of Jodhpur mingled with the artistic touch of craftsmanship of high-profile craftpersons that ends in innovative merchandise which provided new look by refurbishing them. To quote, it is amazing to find a thrown-away piece of bullock-cart wheel turned into a beautiful artistic garden-coffee-table. It is the perception of manufacturer-exporters of Jodhpur with superb craftsmanship of the skilled artisans which turned the throw-away-items worth exportable goods through the refurbishing process.


What is manufactured at Jodhpur is not necessarily all which gets out of factories here. The art of handicraft is scattered over village to village, Dhani to Dhani all around Jodhpur from where the manufacturers keep on getting varied types of items which are later given shape in the factories, ornamented, polished, packaging done and exported. The export from Jodhpur is more or less cottage-oriented not invited much of power or much of infrastructure or much of machinery but providing multifold employment to masses. The Handicraft Sector of Jodhpur help Sustaining the economy of western part of Rajasthan which is a drought pron area reeling under year to year famine conditions.


Turning Jodhpur as a hub of handicrafts and artistic furniture, the contribution of number of States of India is also praise-worthy. Jodhpur apart from manufacturing and exporting its own broad-spectrum products, exports the products manufactured by various States of India which keep on pouring in here. As far Uttar Pradesh is concerned glass items of Firojabad, brass items of Aligarh, gift items of Saharanpur finds way to world through Jodhpur. Furniutre and decorative wood work relating to life circle of human being and animals depicted in wood and as also amorous depicting items are routed through Jodhpur from Orissa. Maharasthra supplies Victorian Bagghis while Himachal Pradesh flower pots. Gujrat is famous for minute woodwork as also artistic items of brass & iron which are routed through Jodhpur. The artistic furniture of Karnataka with micro-work and the inlay on bone and brass items are worth to mention. Punjab provides iron gates and pots of various shapes and sizes which are routed through Jodhpur. This way there are not less than twenty States of India which route their items of handicrafts and artistic furniture through Jodhpur. In terms of rupees it is not less than 400 crores worth of items which exporters of Jodhpur handles, belong to various States of India.


Not only every home or every office but every sector is in need of basic furniture but when things come to of artistic furniture there is decidedly stimulated market growth. The lifestyle changes has attributed to design developments and impact on the types of furniture demanded. Even blending of traditional and contemporary styling is much evident in the demands. Elegance has become more mainstream. There is increased demand of more innovation in furniture. Impact of fashion in interior design has become order of the day. Demographic changes are driving the market growth. Refurbished items carry stimulated demand. Various consumer groups have preferences in the various styles of furniture. It may vary from classic to colonial, country style to ethnic, rustic to designer, minimal to high-tech, ethnic to contemporary, traditional to modern style. The blending in styles are much in demand. The colour accents, textures, antique finish touches too count much. The material too makes the difference. Usually the buyers are driven by the demands of a particular place. The demographic groups too have their consequential impact on their demand. At places, reputations for unique designs is strong. Usually hard wood is preferred than veneer or ply etc. Jodhpur basically use hard wood like Sheesham, Mango and Teak wood. Only seasoned wood is used by the exporters of Jodhpur.


Jodhpur Handicrafts Exporters’ Association (JHEA) is a premier export organization of Rajasthan. As a non-profit earning organization it was established in the year 1998 and registered under Rajasthan Societies Registration Act 1958. Soon after its emergence, the Association has become a pivotal force providing nucleus to its members to achieve a sustained higher growth in export of handicrafts in global destinations. With its laudable objectives to coordinate the export promotion activities and mitigate the identical grievances of its members, the Association has virtually become a facilitating mechanism for promotion of export of handicrafts / and artistic furniture from Jodhpur. JHEA is an autonomous organization par-excellence with national mandate to act as an instrument in promotion of the SSIs in the Cottage Sector. The diverse activities of the Association include organizing various Workshops, Seminars, Interactive Meets etc. along with a number of promotional activities. It keeps on inviting high level Govt. Officers, Central and State Ministers and Technical Experts through the various national-level organizations, dedicated for the cause of export of handicrafts/woodcraft. Irrespective of its name being related with Jodhpur, JHEA provides services to nationwide exporters. Its members belong to a number of towns within and out of State and at the Metros too. JHEA is the one Association which is devoid of any politics and means business only, providing yeoman’s service to the country by facilitating growth in export of handicrafts and artistic furniture. During quite short span of its emergence, it has projected Jodhpur as a reliable supplier of high quality of handicraft and woodcraft items by its members who ensured various measures to maintain international standards and specifications. The Association’s constant efforts have carved out a niche for its members in the international market. The sizable contribution by the exporting members of Jodhpur in export of handicrafts from India, has made the country proud by their innovative and aggressive marketing programme across the globe bringing India’s image as a manufacturer and exporter of high quality products with a varied design development. In the process the dynamic support and guidance of JHEA has proved a catalyst of the immense success in export of woodcrafts from Jodhpur.

(i) Year-wise growth chart of increasing / decreasing trend of export of handicrafts from Jodhpur in terms of rupees is denoted herebelow:-
Year Rs. In crores (Approx.)
1998-1999 300
1999-2000 400
2000-2001 500
2001-2002 550
2002-2003 700
2003-2004 900
2004-2005 1000
2005-2006 1200
2006-2007 1500
2007-2008 1300
2008-2009 800
2009-2010 1000
2010-2011 1200
2011-2012 1400
2012-2013 1500
2013-2014 1300
2014-2015 1600
(ii) Year-wise increase / decrease in Export of Handicrafts from Jodhpur in terms of 20’ containers from various ICDs is as follows.
Year Containers
1998-1999 6351
1999-2000 7189
2000-2001 7515
2001-2002 9409
2002-2003 13986
2003-2004 17096
2004-2005 18354
2005-2006 20961
2006-2007 24727
2007-2008 26584
2008-2009 18926
2009-2010 21567
2010-2011 23846
2011-2012 25048
2012-2013 25686
2013-2014 24961
2014-2015 26986