July 2009
Around the World: India
FIBERcast announcement

India Facts

  • Capital: New Delhi
  • Location: Southern Asia, bordering the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, between Pakistan and Myanmar (Burma)
  • Population: 1,166,079,200 (July 2009 est.), the second most populous country in the world
  • Land Area: 2,973,190 sq. km., the seventh largest country by geographical area
  • GDP per capita: $2,900 (2008 est.)
  • Currency: Indian Rupee; exchange rate is approximately 47.9 INR per U.S. dollar
  • Ethnic groups: Indo-Aryan 72%, Dravidian 25%, Mongoloid, and other 3%
  • Religions: Hindu 80.5%, Muslim 13.4%, Christian 2.3%, Sikh 1.9%, other 1.8%, unspecified 0.1% (2001 census)
  • India is the most culturally, linguistically, and genetically diverse geographical entity after the African continent.
  • In 2008, India ranked as having the second-largest labor force in the world, with 523.5 million workers.
  • Exports: $175.7 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.). Export commodities include petroleum, textile goods, gems and jewelry, engineering goods, chemicals, leather products.
  • India’s total textile exports for the fiscal year ending March 2008 stood at $22 billion, of which 30–35% was exported to the United States.
  • The Indian textile industry is one of the largest segments of the Indian economy, accounting for over 20% of industrial production and providing employment to approximately 33 million people.

Sources: CIA World Factbook.
India’ FY09 Textile Exports Seen Flat — Official.
India’s Textile Exports to U.S. Go Up.

Embroideries of Rajasthan, India

Gurpreet Dhillon
Textiles and Clothing,
Sophia College,

Gurpreet Dhillon is a lecturer in textiles and clothing in the Department of Home Science at Sophia College, Ajmer, India. Dhillon’s teaching is focused on traditional textiles, apparel making, garment production, and textile science. She holds a graduate degree in textiles and clothing from Punjab Agricultural University and has been involved in the profession of teaching for eight years.

Dhillon has shown her interest in social responsibility matters by affiliating herself with the Vocational Rehabilitation Centre in Ludhiana, where she designs garments for inmates with physical disabilities. She also designs clothing for Klassic boutique in Ludhiana.


Indians are world famous for their magnificent workmanship and for producing exceptionally beautiful textiles. Unity in diversity is expressed not only through culture and customs, but also in costume and decoration. Each state has its unique embroidery expressing the lifestyle of its people, their occupations, customs, thoughts, beliefs, and likings.

The belt comprising the Saurashtra and Kutch regions of the state of Gujarat, up through northern Gujarat and western Rajasthan and into the Thar Parkar district of Sind in Pakistan was once the world’s richest source of embroidery in previous centuries.

cloth print

Rajasthan, a princely state in northwest India bordering Pakistan, has been rightly called the treasure throne of Indian handicrafts. Here, where the Thar Desert burns the land, people seem to compensate with riotous colors and exuberant form, creating a sense of luxuriance through their art. There is a profusion of hues in the buildings, the clothing, and in the embroideries of the region. Each textile product made is a source of fascination that exhibits visual and aesthetic flavor.

cloth print

A large variety of embroideries are practiced in different districts of Rajasthan. The main types of embroideries are Mochi Bharat, Heer Bharat, appliqué work, and bead work. Court embroidery is practiced in the princely cities of Jaipur (the capital and largest city) and Jodhpur. Marriage costumes, wall hangings, quilts, cradle cloths, and animal trappings are embroidered, appliquéd, decorated with bead work, and embellished with mirrors, sequins, buttons,
and shells.

cloth print

The court embroidery consists of Gota, Salma, and thread work. A special feature of Rajasthan that is popular all over the world is silk embroidery done on leather goods, especially shoes and purses. It is amazing to note that the women of remote villages, unexposed to modern civilization, are the experts in preparing articles of such great aesthetic value.

beaded purses

Most of the brightly colored, patterned, and embroidered blouses and shirts, decorated handbags, and rucksacks that are displayed in Western markets come from Rajasthan.

beaded shoes

Rajasthan is a colorful state known the world over for its embroideries. Centuries-old skill and imperial heritage make the traditional art and craft of Rajasthan a world-famous attraction. The dazzling traditional garments and textiles attract domestic as well as foreign tourists and markets and are a good source of income generation for the women who create these embroidered pieces of art. More work yet needs to be done in relation to self-sufficiency and women’s empowerment to protect and enhance the revival of the traditional embroideries of Rajasthan.