Ancient India is known for having a rich tradition when it comes to forms of art. And Modern India has inherited a number of these art forms from ancient times, keeping the legacy of these art forms alive. One of these art forms is the world-renowned Khurja pottery.
Manufactured in the small town named Khurja in the Bulandshahr district of Uttar Pradesh at a distance of about 100 km from Delhi, the splendid Khurja pottery is known for its uniqueness that despite being hand-made and hand-painted, the items are quite reasonably priced.
The production of these lead-free pieces of art requires raw material that is procured from various parts of the country. The raw material then goes through a number of stages before the final outcome in the form of beautiful Khurja pottery items.
There are different beliefs associated with the history of Khurja pottery and the town which dates back to about 700 to 500 years ago.
According to one legend, the art with Egyptian and Syrian potters 500 years ago when they arrived in Khurja during a campaign of Turco-Mongol barbarian Taimur Lame. As per another legend, the art of pottery emerged in the region of Khurja only during the reign of Mughals and not any time before that.
However, Baidyanath Saraswati, the author of ‘Pottery-making Cultures and Indian Civilization’ has mentioned in the book that “Khurja in Bulandshaher is one of the oldest centers for glazed pottery in India”. He has further written that “These potters often call themselves as Multani Kumhars suggesting that their origin was Multan”.
Modern day pottery in Khurja, however, emerged in the 1940s when the Uttar Pradesh government established a pottery factory in the city in 1942. The factory was closed down in 1946-47 but was redeveloped in 1952 as Pottery Development Center.
And now, the town of Khurja, also known as the ‘ceramics city’, is a home to thousands of skilled potters supplying a huge variety of pottery and ceramic items such as art wares, crockery, sanitary ware, tiles, electrical goods, household items and a lot more to various places in India as well as abroad.
There are about 400 Khurja pottery factories in the town that have employed about 15,000 artisans as official and another 25,000 as unofficial employees. Apart from India, the pottery items manufactured in these units is sold in various other countries such as USA, UK, New Zealand, UAE and Australia.