Jute is a versatile natural fibre with a golden and silky shine, hence called ‘the golden fibre’. It is the second most important vegetable fibre after cotton. For ages, it has been used to create a wide range of products from sacks, bags and ropes to folders, mats and wall hangings.

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      Jute is used to make a wide variety of accessories. Bags, various kinds of hammocks, folders, bottle covers, tea coasters, dolls, wall hangings, pen holders, door mats, belts and even mobile covers are made using jute. It also used widely in manufacturing different types of packaging material for agricultural and industrial products. Its coarse quality has a unique charm while heavy texture, natural colors and twill kind of body typify it earthiness.
      In India jute craft is impregnated with a rich past. Before transmuted as a commodity used for commercial exploration jute had its utilitarian usage amidst the globe to make household and farm implements such as ropes, hand made clothes, wall hangings, etc. The jute craft has developed in India centring the Eastern India. Bengal reveled in sacks and saris made of jute were usually used in the Middle Age producing maximum jute globally. Export of jute sacks, as an essential commodity, started in the 18th century.
      During the 19th and early 20th centuries jute had grown to be an indispensable industry. The uses included: sacking bag, ropes, boot linings, aprons, carpets, tents, roofing felts, satchels, linoleum backing, tarpaulins, sandbags, meat wrappers, sailcloth, scrims, tapestries, oven-cloths, horse covers, cattle bedding, electric cable, even parachutes.


      Jute, the second cheapest textile fiber is widely used for packaging industrial and agricultural products. Apart from its coarse character and heavy texture, the natural color increases its unique charm. Jute has the attraction of being a fibre both naturally strong and a good colour. It does not shrink or fade, is available easily and is durable. In the jute products, there is no joinery. Smaller products like doormats and phone covers are made out of the leftovers of the larger ones.
      Jute fibre is 100% biodegradable and recyclable and thus environmentally friendly. Jute has low pesticide and fertilizer needs. It is the second most important vegetable fibre after cotton, in terms of usage, global consumption, production, and availability.
      Advantages of jute include good insulating and anti static properties, as well as having low thermal conductivity and a moderate moisture regain. Other advantages of jute include acoustic insulating properties and manufacture with no skin irritations. Jute has the ability to be blended with other fibres, both synthetic and natural, and accepts cellulosic dye classes such as natural, basic, vat, sulfur, reactive, and pigment dyes. Jute can also be blended with wool.

      Myths & Legends:

      While jute craft is taken into consideration, one ruefully reminiscences the illustrious observation of the Mughal emperor about coconut; the same fruit instills a cup of sherbet and luscious fruit.
      The usage of Jute as a raw material unfurled its existence in the ancient Indian scriptures namely ‘Manu Samhita’ and ‘Mahabharata’. Evidence of the trade of jute cloth in the 16th century still whispers from the pages of history. “Ain-i-Akbari” (1590) written by Abul Fazl during the reign of Akbar (1542-1605), mentions sackcloth originating from Bengal, for instance, ‘the poor villagers of India used to wear clothes made of jute. The weavers, who used to spin cotton yarns as well, used simple handlooms and hand spinning wheels.’


      Jute has been in use since time immemorial. The exact time is not charted since it is a natural fibre, abundant and easily put to use. Several historical documents have the mention of the material. History states, that Indians, especially Bengalis, used ropes and twines made of white jute, for household and other uses.
      From 17th to 20th century, the British East India Company delegated the jute industry in India, which was the first jute trader. During 20th century, Margaret Donnelly I, a mill landowner in Dundee, first set up the jute mill in India. In the year 1793 East India Company exported the first consignment of Jute. In the beginning of year 1830, Dundee spinners have determined spinning of Jute yarn by transfiguring their power driven flax machinery. This lead to an increase in the export and production of raw jute from the Indian subcontinent, which was the sole supplier of jute. The major jute growing areas were mainly in Bengal at the Kolkata side. In 1869, five mills were established with around 950 looms, the growth was so fast, that by the year 1910, 38 companies were operating around 30,685 looms, rendering more than a billion yards of cloth and over 450 million bags.

      In the year 1880, jute industry has acquired almost the whole of Dundee and Calcutta. In the following three decades, the jute industry in India enjoyed even more remarkable expansion, rising to commanding leadership by 1939 with a total of 68,377 looms, concentrated mainly on the River Hooghly near Calcutta. These mills alone have proved able to supply the world demand. Then later in 19th century, the manufacturing of jute had started in other countries also like in France, America, Italy, Austria, Russia, Belgium and Germany.
      Calcutta (now Kolkata) had the raw material close by as the jute growing areas were mainly in Bengal. There was an abundant supply of labour, ample coal for power, and the city was ideally situated for shipping to world markets. The first jute mill was established at Rishra, on the River Hooghly near Calcutta in 1855 when Mr. George Acland brought jute-spinning machinery from Dundee. Four years later, the first power driven weaving factory was set up.
      The earliest goods woven of jute in Dundee were coarse bagging materials. With longer experience, however, finer fabrics called burlap, or hessian as it is known in India were produced. This superior cloth met a ready sale and, eventually, the Indian Jute Mills began to turn out these fabrics. The natural advantage these mills enjoyed soon gave Calcutta world leadership in burlap and bagging materials and the mills in Dundee and other countries turned to specialties, a great variety of which were developed.
      After the fall of British Empire in India during 1947, most of the Jute Barons started to evacuate India, leaving behind the industrial setup of the Jute Industry. Most of the jute mills in India were taken over by the Marwaris businessmen.


      The jute fibres are braided in different styles for different products:
      – Twisting braid for wall and door hangings
      – Normal braid with three splits for Pouch, Hand bag, Door hanging, Table Mat, Dry flower Basket, Floor mat, Pen stand, Pot, Hat, Wall Hanging
      – Pineapple braid with four splits to make handbags

      Various other designs include the following processes:
      Stitching ~ Jute cloth is cut according to the required pattern and then the pieces are stitched together on the sewing machine to come up with various products such as bags.
      Crochet ~ Crochet is a process of creating fabric from yarn, thread, or other material strands using a crochet hook. Crocheting, like knitting, consists of pulling loops through other loops, but additionally incorporates wrapping the working material around the hook one or more times.
      Sticking ~ Jute cloth is cut and various embellishment materials are stuck onto the same to create jewellery.


      Some noted disadvantages of jute include poor draping characteristics and crease resistance, brittleness, fibre shedding, and yellowing in sunlight. Jute has a decreased strength when wet, and also becomes subject to microbial attack in humid climates.
      The jute craft has not gained popularity on a commercial stage. The products are mostly sold during exhibitions, to which many craftsmen are not able to make due to heavy taxes. The biggest threat to the jute products is the rats. They have to be stored carefully and measures taken to keep rodents away.
      Indian states have taken initiative to promote the creativity and sales of jute crafts. Since the antiquity jute has remained the favourite material for its utilitarian and eco friendly quality. The present scenario of jute industry offers a huge inspiration to the jute craft in India and encourages its expansion and demand in abroad. With the progression of time, this established form of Jute craft is flourishing in the national and international market.

      Introduction Process:

      Jute items like baskets, hanging lamps, flower vases, hammocks, swings, purses, footwear, table mats etc. are some of the major jute works of Bhopal, Gwalior, Indore and Raipur. Jute is processed into fibres and the craftsmen turn them into a range of products. They go through various methods such as weaving, braiding or crocheting etc. according to the required finish.

      Raw Materials:

      Raw jute
      Jute yarn
      Handles and zippers
      Coloured beads, mirrors and threads

      Tools & Tech:

      Inch tape
      Chaaku or small knives



      Jute items like baskets, hanging lamps, flower vases, hammocks, swings, purses, footwear, table mats etc. are some of the major jute works of Bhopal, Gwalior, Indore and Raipur. Jute is processed into fibres and the craftsmen turn them into a range of products. They go through various methods such as weaving, braiding or crocheting etc. according to the required finish.

      Cutting and plucking out the Jute plant from the wet land forest area. They are mostly found in places, which are covered with water and mud, as the raw jute plant needs water to grow.

      Stacking together the cut and plucked out Raw Jute and dipped into the water and once the Green coloured topcoat gets removed from the raw jute straws, then they are separated

      The separated raw jute straws are again stacked in groups and placed diagonally on a slanting position so that the water is poured out and evaporated. Once they are dried they are beaten and are made into loose raw jute fibres which are again dried out

      The Dried Raw Jute fibres are brought to the wholesale market by the labourers and they sell it to various NGOs or Govt. organisations.

      The raw material is cut into desired lengths and the loose and hard ends are again cut further and the cut pieces are thrown away.

      After getting the desired length the raw jute fibres are combed properly so that there are no knots in between. After that they are either dyed or braided with various styles.


      The waste generated is just in the form of cut pieces of jute, which are mostly disposed off.

      Cluster Name: Bhopal-Bhopal


      Bhopal is the capital city of the state of Madhya Pradesh, the culture and heritage of which brims with the rich influence of the Nawabi rule. The city is a versatile blend of old and new traditions. It has also evolved into one of the busiest commercial centers in the country. It is one of the primary centres for zardozi in India. The workshops of Zardozi are all across the city and it also provides employment to a lot of craftsmen or as they are colloquially known, ‘Karigars’.

      District / State
      Bhopal-Bhopal / Madhya Pradesh
      2,390,000 (2020)
      Hindi, English, Urdu
      Best time to visit
      October - March
      Stay at
      Jehan Numa Palace Hotel, Noor Us Sabah Hotel
      How to reach
      Bus, Train, Flight
      Local travel
      bus, metro, radio taxis, auto-rickshaws
      Must eat
      Chaat, Mughlai Kebabs, Goat Biryani, Chicken Tikka, Jalebi, Ras Malai


      Bhopal is said to have been originally called Bhojpal and was established in the 11th century by King Bhoja of the Parmara dynasty. It was a small village in the Gond kingdom by the 18th century, during which the Mughals had captured and ruled. The Afghan soldier - Dost Mohammed established the princely province of Bhopal in 1723 by warding off the Rajput rulers. He transformed the village of Bhopal into a fortified city, and acquired the title of Nawab. Bhopal came under the British protectorate in 1818 and was subsequently ruled by the famed Begums - Qudsia Begum, succeeded by her only daughter Sikandar Begum and then Shahjehan Begum. Bhopal flourished into a well established city under their just rule, excelling in art and infrastructure.
      In 1926, the son of Jehan Begum, Hamidullah inherited the throne. During the rule of Nawab Hamidullah, the Bhopal State signed the 'Instrument of Accession' and became the part of the Indian Republic in 1947.


      Bhopal is located in the state of Madhya Pradesh on the Malwa plateau. It lies at an elevation of 500 meters. The landscape is uneven and specked with small hills. The city has two beautiful lakes namely the Upper Lake and the Lower Lake, collectively known as the Bhoj Wetland. The city is lined by the Vindhya ranges to its south.

      By air: The Raja Bhoj Airport of Bhopal is 15 km away from the heart of the city. It is connected to Mumbai, Indore, Gwalior and Delhi as well as international flights.
      By rail: Bhopal Railway Station is a major rail-head in Mumbai - Delhi broad gauge. It has connecting trains to all major cities in India. The railway station is near Hamidia road. Major trains going from Bombay to Delhi via Itarsi and Jhansi also go through Bhopal.
      By road: Bus facilities, both public and private are available in Bhopal. All cities in the state are connected to Bhopal by bus services. There are numerous daily buses to Sanchi (46 km), Vidisha, Indore (186 km), Ujjain (188 km) and Jabalpur (295 km).


      Bhopal has a humid subtropical climate. The summers are from April to June and the winters span from November to February. Summer temperatures peak to about 47 degrees Celsius and in winters it falls to 8 degrees Celsius. Monsoon season is marked by moderate rainfall from mid June to October, but isolated rains are experienced by the city all through the year. Bhopal receives an annual rainfall of 1200 mm.


      • Bhopal is a thriving city with well established infrastructure like banks, hospitals, transport etc.
      • The major industries in Bhopal are electrical goods, medicinal, cotton, chemicals, weaving and handicrafts.
      • Bhopal boasts of more than five hundred state government sponsored schools  and many other prestigious educational institutions like the Rajiv Gandhi Proudyogiki Vishwavidyalaya, Barkatullah University, Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology (MANIT) etc.


      • Bhopal is a buzzing modern city which has moved to contemporary construction and yet retains its historic flavor.
      • It boasts of the presence of Taj-ul-Masjid which is the largest mosque in Asia. Its construction was commissioned by Begum Shahjehan and it was completed in 1971 after her death. The large complexes are resplendent with intricate details and grand architecture.
      • The Shaukat Mahal was built in a combination of Greek, Latin and Islamic styles.
      • Monuments like the Moti Masjid and Taj-ul-Masjid still stand exuding grandeur and overlooking the concretes and high rises of the city of Bhopal.


      • The rules of the Mughals and the Begums have left a beautiful mark on the culture of Bhopal. Extravagance and splendor are blended into the culture with ease.
      • The city holds people of all religions and all the major festivals are celebrated with much aplomb. It is a vibrant amalgamation of the Hindu and Muslim culture. A three - day Iztima (Muslim religious assembly) used to be held in the precincts of the Taj-ul-Masjid annually. It draws scores at Muslim pilgrims from all parts of India.
      • In the culinary side, Bhopal is known for its meat delicacies like the Kebabs, honed over its Muslim rule. A well known snack is the Bafla, which is a wheat cake dunked in ghee is an ideal accompaniment with a thick bowl of Dal (pulses). Paan or betel holds a popular place in Bhopal. Here, it is considered a science and art to make the different delicious varieties.


      • The people of Bhopal are a mix of Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Jains, Buddhists and Sikhs.
      • The main language spoken is Hindi but a dialect called Bhopali is also prominent. The other languages spoken are Urdu and English.
      • The traditional attires include Salwar - kameez, Kurtas and Sarees which are now worn during occasions. The younger generations have taken to contemporary and kitsch attires.
      • The artisans here also collaborate with the ones in the nearby villages, they invite them to teach this craft as well go to those villages and teach it there. This way, increasing the awareness among the locals. There are some artisans who have been doing Zardozi since over 30 years and have the tradition of crafting Zardozi in their family.
      • Traditionally during the karkhana culture, only men used to work on this embroidery in the workshops and then the products were sold in the market. While the women of the house, occasionally worked on it at their homes and only made the products for themselves. Now, since mainly the workshops are home-based both men and women do Zardozi embroidery together. This also helps them financially.

      Famous For:

      • The Bhopal lake lend immense beauty to its landscape and is a feature which lingers in the memory. The vast lake called Bhojtal is a major source of water supply for the residents. It is said to have been built by the Parmara Raja Bhoj during his tenure as a king of Malwa. The city has grown around the lake and is culturally attached to it. The lake also contributes to the city's rich biodiversity.
      • Bhopal is famous for the Batuas known as 'Bhopali Batuas'. They are embellished in zardosi work in which coins or betel nuts used to be carried by the womenfolk. The zari-zardosi handicraft has also flourished beyond this and is now a sought after craft form for its beauty and grandeur.
      • A Paan shop can be found in every nook and corner in Bhopal and the city is known for its 'Bhopali Paan'. These are available in many delicious varieties, toppings and even custom-made options.


      List of craftsmen.

      Documentation by:

      Team Gaatha

      Process Reference:


      Cluster Reference: