The Potter's Wheel...Khurja!

Tripoto
Photo of The Potter's Wheel...Khurja! by akanksha siwach

Route

One of the stalls in Dilli Haat!

Photo of Dilli Haat, Kidwai Nagar West, Kidwai Nagar, New Delhi, Delhi, India by akanksha siwach

While standing at one of the pottery stalls, haggling my way through with the vendors at Dilli Haat, i couldn’t stop drooling over everything my eyes met! A hugeeee sucker for pottery and ceramic art, i find it difficult to maintain my fiscal discipline at such places! But the prices did seem exorbitant! On asking the sales boy where he got all that gorgeous stuff from, i learnt of this haven that happens to be a stone’s throw away from my home ( Noida) and justtt 80 odd kms from New Delhi! And thus the urge to visit Khurja sprang up which was so bad that it lead me to this city of pottery the very next day itself!! ( Call me a pottery maniac but i don’t care :P)

Route

The Eastern Peripheral Expressway…making the drive easy and beautiful!

Photo of Eastern Peripheral Expressway Yamuna Bridge, Faridabad, Haryana, India by akanksha siwach

Khurja is about 72 kms from the IGI Airport in Delhi and 120 kms from the Agra airport by road. One could hire a cab which would take about two and a half hours from either of the places.

Nearest bus stands are Bulandshahar ( 18 kms) and Dadri (42 kms). Ghaziabad, Noida and Greater Noida are other main cities nearby.

It is well connected to New Delhi by train on Delhi-Kolkata route. The train takes about an hour and a half.

In case you’re looking for a place to stop by for lunch, there is one decent restaurant called Highway Chaupal. They even have their own shop of ceramics and pottery.

Sprawling fields along NH34…And spectacular sunsets!

Photo of Khurja, Uttar Pradesh, India by akanksha siwach

If you’re driving in your own car, take the Delhi- Eastern Peripheral Expressway- exit at Bulandshahr – take NH34 to Khurja. It took us an hour and 15 minutes to reach Khurja from Greater Noida.

Khurja Pottery and It's Interesting Origin

ITS Raining potteries in Khurja

Photo of Khurja, Uttar Pradesh, India by akanksha siwach

Khurja Pottery is a traditional Indian pottery, made in Khurja, in Bulandshahr district of UP. For the starters it enjoys the reputation of being a part of the Geographical Indication. There are almost 400 odd factories, employing a good about 15000 people officially and 20000 unofficial employees. ( according to Wikipedia) generating not only employment in this region of UP but also contributing to the financial and trade benefits of the country.

While reading up on Khurja that night before making a trip, i learnt that this clay pottery found its essence in India when King Taimur Lung of Afghanistan brought along artisans and potters all the way from Egypt Syria Turkey and Persia ( countries ruled by him once). After he and his army left, many artisans stayed back in India who later relocated to places like Khurja, Jaipur, Delhi etc.

A very interesting fact stated in the book ‘ Pottery making cultures and Indian Civilisation’ says that ‘ Khurja in Bulandshahr is one of the oldest centers of glazed pottery in India.’ and that ‘ These potters often call themselves as Multani Kumhars, coming from Multan, now located in Punjab Pakistan.

a riot of colors!

Photo of Khurja, Uttar Pradesh, India by akanksha siwach

How It's Made

The raw materials used are Quartz stone, feldspar and China Clay also called Chini Mitti in Hindi.The clay used is local one available in Up while the stones are brought from Rajasthan.

We were lucky enough to get a glimpse of this interesting process. Here are the steps followed to manufacture the pottery/ crockery.

After the designing! Look at all that hard work!

Photo of Khurja, Uttar Pradesh, India by akanksha siwach

Mixing…All the raw materials are mixed together along with water, followed by getting dehydrated in a hybrid machine which sucks the liquid out of the paste.

Moulding… Different moulds ( in the shape of cups, mugs, bowls etc) of POP are made to give the shape to the softened mixture.

Drying…. The output is then kept at a normal room temperature. It takes around a day or more to dry completely.

Designing… The product is designed differently, painted, glazed etc according to the customer demands.

Artisans at work!

Photo of The Potter's Wheel...Khurja! by akanksha siwach

Baking…. The stuff is then finally put into a huge furnace for baking at about 650 degree Celsius and eventually put into a cooling chamber to avoid cracks.

The furnace behind where the mixture is heated!

Photo of Khurja, Uttar Pradesh, India by akanksha siwach

My Khurja Haul

I would like to share some pictures of the stuff i picked up for what i felt like was for pittence. Huge brands that are even internationally famous procure their products from small towns like Khurja, Sanganer etc and sell it at enormous rates! High time we recognise the effort and talent of these artisans and potters hailing from humble backgrounds carrying the pottery legacy forward since eons!

My Fav Coffee Mug…A set of 4 for 240 Only! Saw exactly similar ones at Fab India!

Photo of Khurja, Uttar Pradesh, India by akanksha siwach

A hoarder of plants…picked up a lot of planters..This Rabbit one was for 60Rs

Photo of Khurja, Uttar Pradesh, India by akanksha siwach

These lil boots were for Rs 40 each

Photo of Khurja, Uttar Pradesh, India by akanksha siwach

A white kettle with a dash of green for my kettle love…Rs 100 only..

Photo of Khurja, Uttar Pradesh, India by akanksha siwach

Beer Mugs...Rs 60 each

Photo of Khurja, Uttar Pradesh, India by akanksha siwach

The two shops i visited were located on the GT Road called Fancy Emporium and Chabra Emporium.

Some of the other shops are as follows..

Dadoos Ceramic Group-7895506593

Crockery Mart – 9152307189

Nawal Ceramics -9152612610

Bright Crockery India- 9368689332

Chuni Lal and Sons- 8899224433

Kalka in Haryana, near Chandigarh too has couple of shops selling Khurja stuff, though the prices are relatively much higher and lesser variety. If you are around, do go have a look. The shops closest to the temple on the right hand side have the best stuff available.

Khurja is definitely worth a visit. The highway running along the green sprawling fields of UP not only takes you to one of the biggest and oldest pottery hubs of India but also discloses the tales of the hard work of these lesser known artisans, contributing to the country’s economy in their own little ways! Lets empower them by directly purchasing from their small cottage industries, giving them the much deserved due!

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