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Leather Craft

Punjab is popular as a state that engages itself in making interesting leather items such as bags, jackets and jootis (shoes). It is also an economically important industry of the state.

The northern state of Punjab in India is renowned for its rich history, cuisine and culture. Patiala, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Amritsar are the most visited cities in Punjab. The state is located in North West and it is the second largest producer of a wide range of agricultural products. Punjab is also one of India’s most prosperous and flourishing states. It’s a place of several attractions such as pristine lakes, wildlife, shrines and Gurudwaras.

The state of Punjab is also the focal region for several arts and crafts that are not just sold in India but also in several other countries. The leather craft, which is part of the handicraft industry of Punjab, is also quite popular.

Tradition of Leather Crafts

The state of Punjab boasts of a long and rich tradition of intricate leather crafts that range from leather stools, handbags, Jootis, Kolhapuris and Khussa which are quite popular not just in Punjab but also in other states like Karnataka, Maharashtra, Delhi and Rajasthan. These juttis are embroidered intricately and their production dates back to the reign of the Kings and Queens. In that era, these elaborate juttis were embellished with real silver and gold threads and accented with precious and semi precious pearls and gem. However, as the time passed, gold and silver embroidery was replaced by bells, beads and other artificial decorative materials which made them affordable to the common man. The Khussas and the juttis are manufactured with camel, cow or buffalo leather soles. The upper part of the jutti consists of any simple textile or leather. Both these parts are fused together by an adhesive paste and then, it is stitched using cotton threads, preferably white in color.

How is the Khussa Made?

Handcrafted, the khussa is a type of footwear produced in Punjab. The artisans make use of vegetable-tanned leather for making khussa. The upper section of the khussa  consist of a single leather piece or any other textile embellished and embroidered with ceramic beads, bells, mirrors, cowry shells and brass nails. The khussa is bonded from the upper section to the sole by a cotton thread. Apart from being environment friendly, the cotton thread holds the leather fibers with enormous strength. Some of the product variants of the Khussa also make use of ornate or vibrant colored threads.

In the pre-historic times, the Khussa was worn by the royalty and the multitude. Over the centuries, its style and designs have evolved greatly. Today, individual artisans manufacture these in an eclectic range of colors and designs. The Khussa encapsulates Punjab’s ethnicity, ethos and cultural diversity.

Popularity of the Jutti

Juttis made in Punjab are quite popular across the world for their elaborate designs and durability. Even though the silver and gold threads adorning these juttis are replaced by other affordable materials, the artisans do not compromise on the quality and the durability of this ethnic footwear. One reason why the juttis are so popular is that they are exceptionally light in weight. The medieval craftsmen have created unbreakable record when it comes to the lightness of these shoes. For them, the maxim was that the shoes should be as light as that even sparrows can fly away with them.

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