They are able to make hand made paper from the strangest of things.At the Kumarappa National Handmade Paper Institute (KNHPI), Sanganer in 1999 they succeeded to make hand made paper from banana fibre even though they have to get the fibre from Assam, Tamilnadu, Bengal, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Kerala, and Karnatak. But the paper produced is of such high quality that it can last for 700 years. KNHPI were able to produce thin tissue paper weighing just 10 gms per square mts. This paper is used to preserve ancient manuscripts, paintings and documents as a laminate.
In Sanganer they usually make paper from hosiery fibre. But hand made paper can be made from fibre of pine, jute/jute waste and bhimal (Grewia oxysporia) -a fibre brought in from the himalayas. Hand made paper is even made from elephant poop. The finished product goes under the brand name of Haathi Chaap. Shredded currency waste and Bodha grass from Andhra Pradesh is also used to make hand made paper. They are making paper from Akda ( calatropis procera). This plant is widely available in Rajasthan.
These papers are environment friendly also as they are biodegradable and produce little waste during manufature as the water etc used to process the raw material is used again and again.
This paper is used to make diaries, Bangle Boxes, Carry bags, Photo frames, envelopes, jewelery boxes, lamps, cards, makeup boxes, handsome gift packing boxes, visiting cards and wedding cards. There is a huge demand for these products in developed countries which is met through exports. Jaipur is the leading exporter of handmade paper.Next are U.P. Pondichery and Haryana. However local people do not show much interest in using these products. Need of the hour is to promote these products locally also.
Hand made Paper Craftsmen came to India in 1522 A.D. with Babur from Bulkh Bukhara. Emperor Akbar sent 2 families of Paper Master craftsmen to Amber. On advise of Sawai Jai Singh ji they settled in Sanganer in the year 1728 A.D. These families came to be known as the kagzis.
Some handmade paper products can be bought at the Dharti Dhan Shop in between the Police Memorial and Narain Singh Circle and at the Ratan Papers, Papriwal Cottage on Ajmer Road( 0141-2222392).Kagzi’s, Sitapura (0141-2770718).