The age old tradition of leather craft in Jaipur is proved by ancient sages and ascetics, who used to sit on deerskin for meditation and other such works. In the past, leather was not only used in making clothes and footwear but also in making caps, bags, saddles, armor etc. In the rural areas of Rajasthan, hide from cattle and camel is locally cured and after tanning, it is used to make different items.
The modern day leather craft in Jaipur has become a big industry and caters not only to local needs but also the off shore market. Utilitarian items like shoes, jackets, lampshades, pouches, bags, belts, wallets, stuffed toys etc made from leather are exported from India in large quantity. Different regions in India are famous for the unique style and pattern of leather products. Rajasthan is known for its decorated leather items. Bikaner and Jaisalmer produce decorative saddles. Bikaner is also known for Kopi, a unique leather bottle made from camel hide. In Rajasthan, beautiful lamp and lampshades are made from leather.
Rajasthan has a long history in leather craft and industry and leather shoes known as jootis or mojdis are made in Jaipur. Embroidery known as kashida is done on the jooti in Jaipur it is first done on velvet which is then made to cover the shoes. This embroidery is mainly done by the women, who also do a bit of fancy stitching or appliqué work to give a designer look to the shoes that have neither a left or a right foot.
The Jootis are the slip on sandals of the state which are tastefully decorated. They are durable and hardy footwear. Though the Jootis take a few days to comfortably fit, they are often snug footgear and preferred by most of the people who have tried them. Mojdis are footwear made of thicker, tanned leather and embellished with designs or embroidered with silken. They are soft and flexible sandals.
Leather ware industry in the state of Rajasthan employs both men and women. The shoes and sandals are cut and stitched by the men who also undertake tanning of the leather, while the women take on the embroidery and decoration aspect of these. The decoration of the footwear is done with sequin, beads, golden and colored thread. Tilonia village near Ajmer is known for the graphic patterns made on the indigenous leather products.
The Gesso Work of Rajasthan is world famous. Bikaner is the hub of Gesso work in the state and a fine sample of such treated camel leather decorations is displayed in the palace of the city. The camel-hide water casks of Bikaner, called Kopi, are probably the most commonly used gesso products.
Other products made of leather in Rajasthan are shoes and sandals, pouches, purses and handbags, hats and caps, belts, instruments used in folk music such as the dhol, dhapli, tabla and kamaycha, lamp and lampshades and even furniture such as stools and chairs.