When we think of Agra, we think of the grand Mughal monuments and the sweet pethas. While these are significant city elements, Agra has so much more to offer. The city of Agra is the heart of one of the largest carpet-weaving communities in India. The lanes of Mirzapur, Badohi, and Khamaria house the most skilled carpet weavers in India. Almost 90% of the carpets in the Indian market are produced by these trained weavers. Districts like Badohi have more than 500 villages that depend on the profession of carpet weaving. So, if you’re looking to buy handmade carpets, your chances of bringing home work by these Agra weavers are extremely high!

Carpet weaving in Agra has a deep-rooted history with the Mughals. The making of handmade rugs in Agra was considered an art. But what makes the weavers of Agra so unique? It is their heritage that they preserve. Several families living in Tajganj are the descendants of weavers that occupied the same lanes during the time of the Mughals. Thus, the craftsmanship of carpet making has been passed from generation to generation.

The lives of the weavers of Agra are simple yet fascinating. If we try and untangle the knots of the life of a weaver, we may find many wholesome life lessons. To inspire you, we have put together 7 awakening life lessons for you to borrow from the weavers of Agra.

1.   Measure twice, cut once

These are common sayings, but weaving can help them make sense. Although it can be very alluring and convenient to move quickly to get to the “good stuff,” doing so is not always the wisest course of action. Everything has a defined process and only getting through each stage meticulously, helps you achieve the desired goal or beautifully hand-knotted carpet, in this case. The key is to trust the process and get lost in the art of life/weaving.

2.  Great things come out of patience

Weaving is a slow process. When an amateur weaver starts their learning journey, it is unlikely for them to be an expert on the first try. It has never worked that way for anyone. One has to trust the process and through that only, one can achieve something significant. Learning an art like weaving takes time, practice, and most of all, patience. On the loom, feeling dejected is not acceptable, so one must start over and learn the rhythms of weaving. The more time you spend disheartening, the less time you have left to turn things around and make them work in your favour.

3.  Relationships are as fragile as the threads

If you ever visit a handloom unit and inquire about the simplest task, you will undoubtedly be directed to a wheel and asked to fill in the thread reels. Although it may seem like a simple task, it is anything but simple. If you are not careful, the thread frequently breaks and gets tangled. Even if you are unable to perfect the threading, there is a crucial lesson that you must understand: like relationships, threads are easily broken. Despite your best efforts, some threads will inevitably break. Although that is an inevitable part of the process, you can strive to distinguish it from the overall outcome.

4. Borders are the building blocks for the end goal

If the borders in carpet weaving aren’t proper or defined, one will need to restart again or abandon the work altogether. Setting boundaries is crucial, but maintaining them is important as well. It gives us the freedom to make mistakes, change our route, and create a strong structure around the light and decorative centre area.

5.  All life is problem-solving

When you are weaving something, you must consider how to make it fit on a grid. This could be easy or difficult, depending on what you are weaving. To create the most accurate and supple curves and shapes possible, you must problem-solve. However, you might weave a little bit differently every day. One day you might beat a little harder, causing you to add one or two more wefts. A weaver makes a decision each time they lay a weft.

The problem-solving skills you develop while learning to weave can be applied to other areas of your life. All you have to decide is to just keep going.

6. Forgiveness is the greatest gift you can give yourself

There are instances when things don’t go exactly as planned. The carpet does not exactly fit your image, you did not weave enough wefts or any combination of these. It’s all right! It’s simple to make repairs with weaving. If something doesn’t work out, you’ll have to either untangle it or keep putting up with it.

It is beneficial to be kind to oneself and to try not to stress out too much about the extra time or the altered plans. It’s possible that this experience taught you something. No matter how cautious you are in life, you will eventually need to mend something.

7.  Coordination and balance are key for smooth functioning

The loom serves as a metaphor for a weaver’s life. To weave a flawless rug, the weaver must make sure their hands and legs are in sync, their hands and eyes are working alongside, and their eyes are following the direction of the mind. The weavers will face consequences across the board if they slack in any one area. Thus, both life and loom are choreographed and coordinated dance routines.

Takeaway

Weaving might look like a simple task on the surface, but the whole process of weaving is as complex as life. Life, like the weaving process, requires attention to detail, patience, a positive attitude, and balance. Following these life lessons from the weavers of Agra can provide you with so much perspective in life. Building a wholesome life is similar to weaving a supreme quality rug, process is everything!

To contribute to the lives of weavers from Agra, check out our curated range of carpets—ranging from Dhurrie rugs to handmade luxury carpets from Agra.

Siddharth Kalra

Founder of The Rugs Cafe-'We Brew Rugs' company, e-tailing the traditional carpet experience to global platforms. Founder of Kalra Consultancy Services, providing end-to-end digitization solutions and disrupting business models across multi-channel industries. Working as a Program Manager at Alphaa AI-AI Data Platform startup - 'Alexa for Data Warehouse', raised $1.6 million dollars. 🚀🚀 CMO at Kalra's Cottage Industry- Promoting the local community of highly skilled artisans by producing luxurious rugs from the Mughal Era. CMO at The International School Agra- enabling future visionaries of India. Bachelor of Business Administration specialized in Finance from Christ University, Bangalore.

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