Jammu and Kashmir: Namda is a traditional craft passed down from generation to generation in the valley of Jammu and Kashmir. It is a hand-crafted rug made of felted wool and finely detailed which is now slowly coming to extinction.
However, Namda, a centuries-old tradition, is now on the verge of extinction for various reasons, despite its deep cultural and heritage significance.
The making of Namda goes through several different stages and requires a skilled artisan to turn it into a masterpiece. The skills and craftsmanship are further passed down to the generations in the valley.
The process of making Namda includes carding, border creation, layer making, sprinkling soap solution, rolling the Namda and drying and finally, Aari work. Initially, the impurities are removed after the carded wool, making it even finer. To make the border, the weaver decides on the border’s pattern and attaches it to the wool.
Furthermore, after the border layer gets completed, the main layer comes into the picture. The weavers depend on the patterns and colour of the Namda while carefully intertwining it with the wool. The next step in the process includes sprinkling the soap solution on the Namda to begin with, the Felting process.
This stage is known as the magical step in the process of making Namda. The wool starts to mix with the other fibres of the wool, which turns the Namda into a more durable and long-lasting product.
Following the mentioned process, Namda is finally left for the drying process, after which the work of Aari is done on the rug, known as the intricate embroidery on the Namda. This stage adds an incredibly delicate form to the product, transforming it into an art.
The valley has left with a few skilled craftsmen despite being the exquisite beauty of Namda and its significance among the locals. The skill is slowly vanishing from the valley due to the carpets’ modernisation and the demand for cheap raw materials, which is also a reason behind its extinction. The younger generations are also less attracted towards the ancient art form due to modern trends.
Moreover, it is essential to educate young generations towards the importance of this traditional art form and to make them aware of its significance in preserving the craft. On the other hand, it is equally essential to promote the authentic carpets made of Namda as part of Kashmir’s cultural heritage.