Markets for Rajasthan’s Leheriya Textiles

How a living craft is adapting to a changing market with new designs, techniques, and products

Dastkari Haat Samiti

Dastkari Haat Samiti

Leheriya Tie-Dye: Open air shop display (2017-08)Dastkari Haat Samiti

Leheriya in the Market

Leheriya is a resist technique unique to Rajasthan, its main centres being the cities of Jaipur and Jodhpur. It was patronised by the Rajput rulers of Rajasthan, who used Leheriya turban cloths. The craftsmen also made traditional products like saris and veils that were used during the festivals of Gangaur and Teej, heralding the coming of spring and monsoon. 

Leheriya Tie-Dye: Fabrics for sale in a retail store in Jaipur (2017-08)Dastkari Haat Samiti

From a craft primarily patronised by the local royalty and aristocracy in Rajasthan, and which catered also to ritual garments used during festivals, Leheriya has adapted to the changing market. While its ritual use continues, the craft is now done on various fabrics, such as cotton, silk and georgette, and is a part of the contemporary textile repertoire.

Leheriya Tie-Dye: A shop display in Jaipur (2017-08)Dastkari Haat Samiti

By definition, a living craft must have a market. In Jaipur's old town, markets like Johari Bazar are home to shops like this one, which sell an assortment of textiles for local and tourist consumption.

Leheriya Tie-Dye: Fabrics for sale in a retail store in Jaipur (2017-08)Dastkari Haat Samiti

Customers are ushered to cushions or plastic chairs, while salespeople opens various pieces to suit tastes and budgets.

Leheriya Tie-Dye: Leheriya fabrics for sale (2017-08)Dastkari Haat Samiti

Leheriya pieces are stored in bundles and are opened in front of customers.

Leheriya Tie-Dye: Leheriya fabrics for sale (2017-08)Dastkari Haat Samiti

Bundled leheriya textiles are opened for customers, to reassure about these being genuinely (made through tied and dyed resist techniques) and not printed imitations.

Leheriya Tie-Dye: Leheriya fabrics for sale (2017-08)Dastkari Haat Samiti

The shops here cater to all requirements, and many times, genuine Leheriya has to compete with its cheaper printed versions.

Leheriya Tie-Dye: Leheriya textile (2010) by Badshah MianDastkari Haat Samiti

New markets, new designs and new destinations

Leheriya Tie-Dye: Leheriya textile (2010) by Badshah MianDastkari Haat Samiti

The more successful leheriya artisans are not limited to the local market and the shops of Johari Bazar. They cater to a variety of customers.

Leheriya Tie-Dye: Leheriya textile (2010) by Badshah MianDastkari Haat Samiti

Discerning customers include textiles lovers from Japan who have a preference for handwoven fabrics and natural colours.

Leheriya Tie-Dye: Leheriya textiles (2010) by Badshah MianDastkari Haat Samiti

Indian customers look for new designs that are either bold or subtle, and while still using traditional techniques, contribute to a more contemporary wardrobe.

Leheriya Tie-Dye: In the Leheriya workshop (2017-08) by Badshah MianDastkari Haat Samiti

Sometimes experimentation produces interesting results to attract new customers.

Leheriya Tie-Dye: Leheriya production (2017-08)Dastkari Haat Samiti

Credits: Story

Text: Aloka Hiremath, Jaya Jaitly
Photography: Suleiman Merchant
Artisans: Badshah Mian and family
Ground Facilitator: Charu Verma
Curation: Ruchira Verma

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Explore more
Related theme
Crafted in India
Meet the makers. Explore their craft. Share their stories.
View theme
Google apps