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January 13, 2010

Shawl sales multiply, industry flourishes in Amritsar

     Amritsar: With north India freezing with the onset of winter season, the over two centuries old Amritsar Shawl industry is experiencing a boom in the domestic as well as international market. Though the Kashmiri shawls have dominated the Indian shawl industry for ages, shawls from Amritsar have also grown to earn a distinct recognition on national and international level. It is believed that Kashmiri migrants established the shawl industry here during 19th century, and with political patronage, the industry flourished. Application of intricate designs and patterns has made the shawls popular across the country, it is also said that the quality of water available for dyeing the shawls also give edge to the local shawl industry. And, to compete in the international market, people in the industry introduced modern machines and have started supplying embroidered stoles and maintained its distinction in the market. “People come to Amritsar to buy exclusive hand-embroidered arty shawls. The shawls produced in Amritsar boast of a wide variety. As winter has already started, there is a good variety of shawls available,” a shopper said. “We don’t get the same variety anywhere else. All the stuff is made in Amritsar . The handcrafted shawls and other varieties are supplied to hilly regions from where people buy them. Handcrafted and machine-made shawls are all available in Amritsar . Such a variety is not available anywhere else,” another shopper said. Thanks to mechanisation in the shawl industry in Punjab, the annual exports of shawls from Amritsar and Ludhiana have reached 111 million dollars. With 52 of its mechanised units, Amritsar is now focusing attention on markets in Australia , Europe, Japan , the Middle East and the USA . “At present around 52 units are operating in Amritsar and establishment of some units is also expected in future. Everything is depending on sales. This year because the season is good, winters started on time in the month of November, the demand in the domestic market is good and exports are also good. There is not a single country in the world where shawls are not in demand,” said Pyarelal Seth , General Secretary, Shawls Club Of India. Lately, Indian shawls have become an international fashion ‘statement’ and this has given an unexpected boost to exports from Punjab . To meet the international standards, the manufacturers have improved the designs, colour and also quality of the wool.
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