|Khurja is known for two things-for its pottery
and for its Khurchan (Sweet). Situated only 100 km from Delhi, Khurja, though
a small town of U.P. State, supplies a large portion of the pottery used
in the country. There are nearly 400 factories there, making ceramic items,
including sanitary goods, fuses, cut-outs, ashtrays, electric goods, footsteps
etc.But those who are involved in the traditional craft of pottery constitute
only a handful. The uniqueness of its splendid pottery is that in spite
of being hand-made and hand-painted, it is very reasonably priced.
In the 1970s the Government of U.P. upgraded all the existing potteries and modernised the kilns. Today the pottery craftsmen are much in
| demand. Both exports and imports are on the rise.
There is also an influx of designers who are giving new design inputs to
potters. Though traditional craft is the loser, the modernisation has increased
its market prospects, especially in the hospitality industry.
Only a few of the families are still into the traditional form of this ceramic art. Some of these are Rashid Ahmed Pottery, Mughal Ceramic Pottery, Fazulu Rehman Pottery, Zahir Ahmed Pottery, Azad Hind Pottery, and Anis Ahmed Pottery.
Of these Rashid Ahmed's is today the best known. Belonging to an unknown family that migrated to Khurja from Multan with the army of Taimur the Lame, nearly 400 years ago, pottery obviously ran in the family. Rashid Ahmed's great-grandfather was so skilled that, in 1903,
| he won a merit certificate at the
First Indian Craft Manufacturers' Exhibition in Delhi. Rashid Ahmed was
born in Khurja and, till his death, worked there with his brothers. Rashid
Bhai was wedded to clay from his very childhood, when he played with ordinary
red clay and china clay all day long. He was considered a wizard, not merely
in shaping the clay, but in every ancient technique of this age-old craft.
Because of him and the support given to him by the Government, it was possible
to see this craft line, at many demonstrations in the capital city.
Today Khurja is a bustling centre of ceramic activity and a trip to this small city is a must for every pottery lover.
Khurja is about a hundred kilometers from Delhi. It can be reached by road or train. The drive takes about three hours with a stop, as there is heavy traffic on the road. If one starts early enough a day trip is sufficient to see Khurja.