History of Juttis and artisans of Mughal era


 ‘Jutti’ might be an Urdu word but they have been a popular choice since early medieval era. One of the unique characteristics of jutti is that it has no left and right distinction, until worn of course. Some say juttis were introduced by Mughals but from what I read and researched – they have been popular since 11th century (or much before). 

I generally find history lessons a bit boring so I’ll share history of juttis in brief. But I promise by the time you’ll be done reading this article, you’ll feel no less a royalty.

Juttis, also known as Nagra, were extremely popular amongst the kings and queens who belonged to the richest era of Indian history. Rajasthan, in particular was a hub where the making of these exquisite shoes first originated. With time, Nagra shoes gained a lot of popularity in Punjab and underwent various forms of experimentation and innovation – now known as khussa, tilla etc.

It is said that during Mughal era (majorly Akbar’s reign) many artisans lived and worked in Delhi sultanate. Akbar was the first Mughal patron of the arts. In fact earlier Mughal paintings indicate that the era of Akbar's reign gave a new life to the art and architecture; crafting a range of exotic designs – traces of which can be found easily. It grew during Jahangir and Shah Jahan’s reign too but things changed a little after Aurangzeb took over. With fall of Mughal era the artisans too, were forced to leave Delhi and migrated to outskirts of Rajasthan and Punjab.  


An artisan stitching together parts of a jutti

 

 Jutti making is a skill transferred from father to son. They have been traditionally handed over generations; with each generation contributing some variation to it. Of late both men and women can be seen making juttis; and run a micro jutti-making facility in their homes. It is the newer generation of those artisans, the ones who made juttis for Mughal rulers and other royalty; who now handcraft your ZarsáLife beauties.

So every time you wear your ZarsáLife juttis remember who made them; remember you have a piece of art and culture adorning your feet. 

(Image clicked for ZarsáLife)


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