Shawl is one of the clothing which is worn over the head or wrapped around the shoulder. They are usually in rectangular in shape. The shawls are generally worn in winters which cover the upper body that brings warmth to the body. They are also worn for complimenting the costume and it brings an elegant appearance together. For some of them, it has become a compulsion to wear shawl as per their religion and community. There are several kinds of shawls woven in different fiber materials. Wool, silk, cotton are natural fiber materials and acrylic, synthetic threads are artificial fiber materials. There are also different forms of making a shawl like crochet, knitting, and weaving.
In India, shawls have been famous for their designs and patterns. There are several places in India where the shawls are manufactured like Kashmir which is very famous for shawl weaving, Kutch, Ludhiana, Srinagar, Amritsar, Kolkata, Jaipur, Udaipur, Sitarganj, Tilpat Village and Leh. Most of the designs are very indigenous to their own forms most of it is influenced by the Mughal designs. There are communities of people only for weaving carpets which later on transferred to shawls in India, they are called as Meghwal Wankars now they are called as Vankars.
Vankar Nanji Bhimaji is one of the traditional woolen and silk shawl weavers of Bhujodi, Kutch, in Gujarat. The traditional shawl weavers of Bhujodi belong to the Vankar community (Meghwal Wankars) who migrated from western Rajasthan for about 500 years ago. Woolen shawl weaving, dhurrie, carpet, stole, Kalinga crafts are being followed from his ancestral generations. In 2003 he has been given a national award for a shawl which was weaved with intricate designs and patterns for the period of 6 months. Shawls are weaved with lots of affection and happiness. Bhujodi is also tagged for its quality and purity by the Geographical Indication for all the 200 weavers in the craft city. Previously weavers used to earn their daily bread by barter system where they used to produce carpets, shawls and exchange them with farmers for their crops. Nowadays the demand for shawl has become more hence a good business. Artisan sells his products to one of the best company stores like Fab India, Nalli, Cottage and ten other big companies in Delhi. He also exports the products to other countries like France and Italy. His work is much in demand because of the purity and sustainability of naturalist way like using vegetable dye colors and completely crafting with hands. Artisan also represented India worldwide in the textile field where he took up lectures on textile in other countries like America, London, Switzerland, and Italy. Many textile students from reputed institutes go to him on project works and learn a lot about the subject. Women of the house contribute a large part in this craft by doing all the things required for the craft apart from weaving and dying like, spinning the yarn, making the warp, applying starch, fringes making and many more.