Molela is a potter's village. Molela peasant-potters descend with a tradition that was handed down within families for over 5000 years. Even today these potters are satisfying the need for functional, decorative as well as religious ceramics. Being a part of Mewar kingdom, it has seen 76 rulers since 568 AD. Rawal Guhil laid the foundation of Mewar in 568 AD and it was ruled by Gehlot Dynasty till 1303 AD, the kingdom was then conquered by Allaudin's army. After several attempts to win the kingdom back, in 1326 AD, Maharana Hamir retook Chittor and ruling family's name was changed to Sisodia. In 1570 AD, Mewar's capital was changed to Udaipur by Maharana Udai Singh II, after Akbar conquered Chittor in 1568 AD. Maharana Pratap relocated Mewar's capital to Kumbhalgarh and fought the famous war of Haldighati in 1576 AD against Mughal forces. After Haldighati, Udaipur remained the capital of Mewar. Despising all luxury with prolonged struggle to gain back the throne of Chittor, Maharana Pratap died in Chavand in 1578 AD. Mewar had become habitual to frequent attacks from invaders and it resisted all the attacks with consistency, later when Mughals went weak and bankrupt in 1710 AD, Marathas came into supremacy and captured Udaipur. There on, Mewar had to pay huge sums to Marathas as tax. In 1773 AD, Diwan Amar Chand collaborated with Sindh to counter the attacks by Marathas. Eventually Sindh took control of Udaipur. Being in control of Sindh now, Maharana Hamir II brought Maratha to overthrow Sindh from Udaipur in 1774 AD. After 1778 AD, Mewar had a war with Maratha's. Several rulers came and they maintained good bonds with British army. Through all these years of enduring attacks and frequent shift in rulers, Mewar infrastructure bloomed and it is even now considered one of the most beautiful kingdoms of India. Statue of Maharana Pratap and his horse Chetak still illuminate Mewar with tales of endurance and bravery.
Molela is located in the Rajsamand district of Rajasthan, at 548 meters above sea level. Molela is located approximately 3.3 kms from Khamnor and 20.5 km far from its District Main City Rajsamand.
The nearby villages are Bagol(4.2 k.m.), Kunthwa(5 k.m.), Tantol(5.5 k.m.), Sema(5.7 k.m.). Nearest Towns are Khamnor(3.3 k.m.), Rajsamand(20.9 k.m.), Kumbhalgarh(23.2 k.m.), Railmagra(41.6 k.m.).
Molela has a hot-dry climate. The summer temperatures peak to 45 degrees Celsius in the months of March and the temperature keeps rising progressively through April, May and June. The winter temperatures dip to as low as 10 degrees Celsius, during the months of October to February. Monsoon arrives in the months of July, August and September. There are occasional pre-monsoon showers in mid-June while post-monsoon rains may occur in October. Wheat, gram, pulses, maize, jowar, sugarcane, barley, and groundnut are major crops cultivated near Molela.
Molela has a market place which gets its supplies from neighboring cities. There is substantial electricity and water supply for basic needs. Banking facility for villagers is available in Molela. As Molela is at the distance of few kilometers from Nathdwara and Rajsamand, the infrastructural needs are met by these cities.
The white plastered houses scattered across the village have a single entrance facing the street and the clay works line the sides of the homes. Several clusters of houses can be spotted in the village; the various houses in the clusters are of same clan. Majority of house plots have an area dedicated to cattle rearing. As Molela is famous for Terracotta artifacts made by the Kumhar clan, their houses have a separate area for pottery and plaque making.
Molela comes under Mewar region of Rajasthan, hence the culture and lifestyle closely resembles that of Mewar. Women mostly wear Saree or Ghaghra Choli while men's clothing includes Dhoti, Kurta and Safa (turbans). The village is known for terracotta plaques made by Kumhars of the village. Other resident clans of Molela include Bheel and Meena tribes, these tribes have their own rituals and festivals, still having a strong hold of their traditional values. Gawri is one of the major festivals of the Bhil tribe, several groups of dancers visit village to village with their performances, which are devoted to a deity and the festival lasts for a whole month.
The potters of this village belong to the many varieties of Kumhar clan. There are 30 Kumhar families who practice this craft. These potters farm their land, keep cattle and produce pottery on a large scale within their own tightly and hierarchically knitted family units. Some of them have been to Europe and regularly take part at International art fairs. Bhils and Meenas tribes constitute majority of population in Molela. These tribes tend to do activities related to agriculture or obtain livelihood from surrounding forests.
Molela is internationally known for its production of brightly painted terracotta plaques and figurines of the local deities and gods. These votives can be multi-colored or can have a terracotta hue, as can be seen in various temples in Rajasthan and Gujarat. While the potters of Molela are known for producing the religious votive style or idols, now a days they also depict scenes from the artisan's surroundings on plaques. Like most crafts, the traditional art form has been passed from generation to generation, through the sons of the family, evolving with each generation.
Molela is also known for their characteristic Leather Mojri or Pagrakha, these are traditional open-shoes made from leather with embroidery on the surface and vibrant colors. Men from Molela and neighboring villages are the main consumers for these shoes.