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  • Embroidery In India


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.

Here are three major embroideries from Rajasthan:

SHISHA EMBROIDERY: A representation of Colorful Rajasthan

It is an art form in which, mirrors of various shapes are fixed and stitched on to the fabric through embroidery. It is commonly seen in parts of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana, and Delhi. Mirror work is used on various fabrics like georgette, crepe, cotton, silk, chiffon. Intricate motifs of needlework and sparkling mirrors used in the art attracts a number of tourists. It has gained a unique identity and has become a trade mark of Rajasthan.

Metal embroidery:- Another kind of embroidery for which Rajasthan is famous for is metal embroidery. Its patrons are the royals and well-to-do merchant classes. They preferred garments abundantly embroidered in gold and silver because embroidery was thought to be of good omen and it also signified wealth, power and importance

The embroidery done is so immaculate that the ground fabric cannot be differentiated. Metal embroidery can be classified into three kinds, zardori, Gota work and Danke-ka-kaam.


The most unique embroidery is from Jaisalmer and Jodhpur that excels in silk thread embroidery on leather which is done especially on shoes and waistcoats. The knuckle pad is another article made of leather which is decorated with scenes resembling miniature paintings. Leather saddles are equally popular.The work done in the cities is fine and in subdued colour and is sometimes highlighted with gold or silver thread. In rural areas the designs are bolder and made with bright colors and thicker thread. Horse and camel saddles are embroidered with an awl and are richly colorful. While doing this job, minute details of the embroidery are worked out and the group compositions are done carefully.

Gota Patti

Gota patti or gota work is a type of Rajasthan embroidery. Gota is crafted using an appliqué technique with a strip of gold or silver or various other coloured ribbons of different widths woven in a satin or twill weave. It involves placing woven gold cloth onto fabrics such as georgette or bandhini to create different surface textures. Originally real gold and silver metals were used to embroider, but these were eventually replaced by copper coated with silver as the genuine way of making it was very expensive. Nowadays there are even more inexpensive options available. The copper has been replaced by polyester film which is further metalized and coated to suit requirements. This is known as plastic gota and is highly durable as it has a good resistance to moisture and does not tarnish as opposed to metal based gota.

Gota creates a rich and heavy look but is light to wear. In Rajasthan, outfits with gota work are worn at auspicious functions. It is generally done on dupattas, turban edges and ghagras.

The Royal Embroidery Style of Dabka

Dabka embroidery is a technique that is used to create intricate patterns with a coiled wire which resembles a spring. This delicate tightly coiled spring of fine metal wire is what is known as dabka. Since the wire is used in the embellishment, it lends its name to the technique as well. Dabka embroidery is said to have originated in Rajasthan and surrounding areas which now belong to Pakistan. The embroidery is done on the fabric once the printing on the fabric is complete. The dabka is tightly coiled, in a way that it is hollow inside. To make the embellishment, craftsmen cut it into the required size and stitch it onto the fabric.

Dabka embroidery is very detail oriented and requires a tremendous amount of skill to execute the precise designs. A cotton thread is first stitched on the printed or stencilled design. Once this is complete, the metal coil is stitched onto the fabric by passing a needle from the middle.The embroidery is usually done on chiffon or silk with zari threads and once complete, the embellishment has a 3D appearance.

Embroidery in Gujrat

Kutch Embroidery is rightly said that Gujarat has given India the greatest heritage in embroidery work and craft through its famous and versatile Kutch embroidery. The hub of the Kutch embroidery work is basically located in the regions of Kutch and Saurashtra wherein the local artisans churn out the most creative and exquisite designs. From mirror and bead work to Abhala embroidery along with the usage of silk threads of bright colors, the Kutch embroidery basically ornate the entire fabric and embellishes it completely. The impeccable designs of Kutch embroidery is a tribute to Rabaris, a nomadic tribe that crafted the art of Kutch embroidery which is now an artwork of international repute.

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Origin & History

Historically, it is said that Kutch embroidery was brought about by ‘Kathi’ cattle breeders who later settled down and created some fine needlework which displayed a variety of elements, designs, themes, patterns and moods. Kutch embroidery has been there for centuries and in the 16th and 17th centuries Kutch embroidery pieces were exported by western countries. It is also believed that mochis or shoemakers were taught Kutch embroidery 300 years ago by a Muslim wanderer in Sindh and that is what started the tradition. However, Kutch embroidery clubbed with Sindh tradition owns styles such as Suf, Khaarek, and Paako, Rabari, Garasia Jat and Mutava


Origin: Gota work roots from Rajasthan and uses zari in its close knitted patterns.

Soof: The term ‘soof’ is derived from ‘saaf’ meaning cleanliness, indicating the neat needlework that is done in the technique. It also refers to the angular formation of the stitch patterns. Triangles are the basic patterns on which complex, symmetrical patterns are developed. Stitched from the backside of the fabric, the design is done without any prior drawing. It requires a high level of skill in the precise counting of the stitches.

Kharek: ‘Kharek’ is inspired by the corrugated texture of date trees. This uses satin stitch in geometric patterns in which squares are made with black outlines. The front spaces are entirely filled with satin embroidery along the warp and weft of the fabric.

Mutwa: The Mutwas are a group of Muslim herders whose works show an intricately embellished and bejewelled fabric. It takes months to create a fully adorned Mutwa work using round mirrors and fine, minute stitches. Ornamental patterns and varied motifs are used in this

Rabari: The Rabari embroidery originates from the Rabari community. This kind of embroidery uses mirrors of different shapes and sizes along with a complex pattern of chain stitches. A number of colours are utilised for decoration. The Rabaris are well known for the back stitching technique called ‘bakhiya’ popularly found on the seams of women blouses and men’s kediyal jackets.

Jat: This type of embroidery is associated with the pastoral and nomadic clans of this region. The Jat embroidery shows an immaculate display of dense stitches on the fabric using cross stitch and mirror work. The counted geometric patterns draw its influence from the Sindh region.

Kathi Embroidery of Gujarat includes Kathi embroidery, the oldest form of embroidery which is known for its romantic motifs. Geometrical motifs are fabricated with multicolored fabric pieces leading to a patch work effect. Saurashtra is the centre of Kathi embroidery done by the Kathi community. The women of this community have a fancy for black cloth embroidered in crimson, violet, golden, yellow and white in combination with greens and blues that render vibrancy and enhance the beauty of the item. The main stitch is based on a prolonged darn and chain-cum-interlacing. There are two forms of Kathi embroidery that includes Aditya Fatiya and Patch Work which are mostly used in embellishing wall hangings, door frames and other decorative items. Gureri is a popular item of Kathi Embroidery.