Rajasthan produces around 40% of the country's raw wool and this sector supports nearly 30 lakh people. Sheep rearering is one of the major trade of Western Rajasthan.Wool is traditionally used in carpet weaving but Rajasthan carpets and rugs are also made out of silk and cotton fiber.
Rich colors and exquisite designing are major attraction of the hand-woven carpets and rugs. The tradition of weaving carpets and daries dates back almost 2000 years. The darie, a simple rug that was once used as an underlay, has now become one of the state's best known weaving traditions. The art of carpet and rug weaving was actively promoted in the state under the patronage of the Mughal monarchs and the Rajput royals.
Carpets first began to be manufactured in Rajasthan when weavers from Afghanistan were installed in the royal ateliers in the 17th century. The Daries were used as carpeted padding or underlay in olden days.
Currently the wool obtained from camel has been favorite yarn used in Dari making. Weavers sit on looms in villages, creating an interesting blend of patterns- mostly geometric, sometimes floral- in an exciting combination of colours. Made from cotton yarn, in areas such as Bikaner and Jaisalmer, the camel-hair, woolen darie too is available.
Unique themes and floral patterns provide the themes for these masterpieces and flowers and leaves, buds and fruits are the essence of the designs. The carpets and rugs woven at Bokhara are among the finest in the world and the hand knotted ones posses from 125 to 500 knots per square inch.
The art of carpet weaving was acquired from the craftsmen of Afghanistan and their products sell like hot cakes not only all over the country but also in international markets. Recent day trends have impelled the weavers to create custom made and contemporary designs instead of traditional ones.
In areas around Tonk, namdahs or felted rugs are manufactured.The embroidered Namdahs or felted up rugs of Tonk are treasured souvenirs and have been in constant demand by the tourists of the state.
Woollen fabrics have been made in north-western Rajasthan since very old times. The industry arose as a result of poor agricultural lands and a dependence on the rains, making animal husbandry the main stay. The need to shear wool off the skins of their camels, sheep and goats, led to a cottage industry of spinning yarn on indigenous spinning wheels, a job performed mostly by women. The woollen yarn was then given to a weaver for weaving. The woven textile was dyed and embroidered by the women. The weaving communities consisted of the Kolis, Chamars and Meghwals.