Sun City, Blue City, Gateway to the Thar…Do you have any idea what I’m referring to? All these names belong to the same entity. Capital of the erstwhile kingdom of Marwar, second largest city of Rajasthan – Jodhpur. Founded by Rajput chief Rao Jodha in 1459, Jodhpur has always played an important role in India’s history.
In the past, Jodhpur’s strategic location on the road linking Delhi to Gujarat helped in the trade of opium, copper, silk, sandals, date palms and coffee. Today, the city serves as a key base for the Indian army, a popular tourist destination and a foodie’s delight. Makhaniya lassi, Mawa ki kachori, Gatte ki sabzi…the list of mouthwatering dishes that originated here is endless!
Jodhana, as the city is locally known, is also a shopper’s paradise. What can you get here? Spices, bandhani fabric, handicrafts, jewellery, mojaris and…furniture.
How did a desert city become a furniture destination? The answer lies in the cultural heritage of the city. Kings of yesteryears encouraged and promoted craftsmanship. During the days of the Raj, too, various crafts, especially woodcraft, were actively supported. As a result, Jodhpur’s contribution to the Indian furniture industry, especially exports, has always been quite significant.
What is so special about Jodhpur’s furniture? Exquisite artistry, ethnic – yet contemporary – designs, superior craftsmanship, eco – friendly products – these are but some of the qualities that have earned this Sun City a place of honour in the world of furniture. Latticework on wood, white metal furniture, skillful use of papier-mâché and the use of bright enamel colours are some of the hallmark features of this industry.
Moving with the times, Jodhpur’s furniture industry has shifted from using expensive woods like teak, mahogany and rosewood, to local hardwood like acacia and mango. The variety of designs that have captured the attention of the world include vine leaf patterns, floral, geometric and figurative decorations, and jali – or fretted ornamentation.
Recent times have witnessed a spurt in demand for handcrafted furniture the world over. In 2019, India’s furniture exports stood at nearly $ 2 billion, of which, a sizeable chunk is Jodhpur’s contribution.
A new craze rapidly gaining momentum is e-commerce. Nowadays, you can buy almost anything online. From books, to clothes, to food, to furniture. That’s right, furniture. Many companies are investing in e-commerce sites dealing exclusively in furniture. There are couple of e-commerce companies that are giving a new fillip to the Indian furniture industry.
India’s online furniture market, currently valued at approximately Rs.750 crore, is expected to grow to Rs.15,000 crore in three years. Due to Jodhpur’s dry climate and proximity to the country’s biggest metros, it has captured nearly 50% of the e-commerce firms’ supply market.
From industrial to handmade, from shabby chic to contemporary, from factory to bespoke furniture, Jodhpur has something for everyone. The next time you buy a bedside table or an easy chair, look for the ‘Made in Jodhpur’ label.