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Rajasthan Textile

Textile is one of the most particular and specific expressions of that

nations culture and heritage. In villages of Rajasthan, textile traditions,
learned via a costume tradition and spanning countless generations.

The glory of Rajasthan, apart from the bravery of its Rajput rulers, forts,
and royalty, is also associated with the production of color fabrics in
the Maru-Gurjar tradition since ancient times. Their sense of color-
aesthetics has led to the use of colors and motifs intended for different

There are regional variations too, in western Rajasthan; Garasia women

wear Garasion ki phag, a veil with a yellow ground and red border, and
a large round in the centre. Mina women wear dhaniya chunari while
Gujar women prefer rati chunri, and a Malan wears a ghaghara or skirt
of asmani, dhani and chakari farad or yardage.

Dyed Textile- Bandhani


Different forms of tie and dye have been practiced in India. Indian tie & dye also
known as Bandhani and Bandhej in Rajasthan is a traditional form of tie and dye
which began about 5000 years ago. It is the oldest tie and dye tradition still in
practice. Dyes date back to antiquity when primitive societies discovered that
colors could be extracted from various plants, flowers, leaves, bark, etc., which
were applied to cloth and other fabrics. Even though color was applied they didn't
consider this dyeing. It was simply a form of embellishment. For them dyeing was
the art of using color to form a permanent bond with fiber in a prepared dye bath.
Natural colors have been used in India since ancient times and are considered to
be the origin of the art of dyeing. Tie and dye cloths were the part of the
merchandise of the early traders.

It is difficult to trace the origins of this craft to any particular area. According to
some references it first developed in Jaipur in the form of Leheriya. But it is also
widely believed that it was brought to Kutch from Sindh by Muslim Khatris who
are still the largest community involved in the craft. Reference of this art is also
found in Bana Bhatt's Harshacharitra and the patterns are seen on Ajanta

Dyed Textile- Lahariya

Rajasthan is well known for its lehriya (waves) pattern. This is one of the so many
tie and dye patterns that results in wavy pattern, which symbolizes water waves.

The stripes of different colors are usually arranged diagonally and use two colors
are common. The two colors alternate in waves. Originally, the two colors used
were the auspicious colors of yellow and red.
Turbans, odhnis and saris with laheriya are liked and worn all around year but
carry a special meaning on and around the time of Teej festival and monsoon.
Lahariya is dyed in different colours and Udaipur is famous for this craft.

Dyed Textile-Mothada

Lahariya | Bandhani | Hand Blocks | Emdroidered Textile | Painted

Textile | Woven Textiles


Another pattern in tie-dye is Mothra, in which the wave pattern is dyed twice,
taking diagonally opposite sides each time. The opposite ends of the length of the
cloth are pulled and rolled together. It is preferred and sold still tied to get the
original look of the process.

Mothra showcases a check effect with opposite diagonals.

But Leheria, which means “waves” in Hindi, is a tie-dyeing technique from

Rajasthan, the fabric is rolled diagonally from one corner to the opposite
selvedge, and then tied at the required intervals and dyed. The result is a pattern
of lines going across the fabric.


Sanganer is situated about 8 kilometers south-east of Jaipur city. Prior to the 17th
century, there is no mention of Sanganer as a centre of printing. At that time
Sanganer was known as a centre of plain and dyed clothes. It was probably
towards the end of the 17th century that this art form
developed here. Probably due to war with Emperor
Auranngzeb and the repeated invasions of the Marathas, many
craftsmen (Printers) from the neighboring state Gujarat came
and settled in Rajasthan. By the end of the 18th century this
industry was fully developed in Sanganer. It is famous for
dyeing and printing of colorful dresses, bed sheets, curtains,
dress material and variety of other textiles. Bulk of the textile products of these
industries is exported. The total area of Sanganer is about 635.5 Sq. km out of
which, 12.9 Sq. km comprises the urban area.
Most of the textile industries of Sanganer are
concentrated in this urban area. There are
estimated to be around 500 block and
screenprinting units in Sanganer. There are at
present, about 125 hand block printing units in
Sanganer. Sanganer was renowned for its small
decorative and delicate floral patterns, called,
'boota-booties' which was printed on fine
cotton and silk.

The dyers and block makers came from Sindh and Punjab and settled here. The
printers belong to chhipa community. They are all Hindus and are followers of the
renowned Marathi Saint Namdev. Almost every member of the 'Chippa' family is
involved in the washing, dyeing and printing of clothes. While, the printers are
predominantly Hindus, majority of dyers and block makers are Muslims.Water of
the Saraswati River that used to flow graciously through Sanganer, was known for
its special quality that used to bring out radiance from the natural dyed fabric.
This was major source of inspiration for the printing community.

In older days, the fabric was printed mainly for use of royal families and rich
traders but now it is used as part of clothing for urban families and also exported.
The principal items printed here include sarees, dupattas, salwar-kameez, bed
cover, curtains, scarves, and printed yardages (running cloth material), etc. Both
local and imported cloth material are used. At present, 'mulmu' (cotton voile),
'latha' (sheeting fabrics) and cambric etc. are sourced from Jaipur.On Sanganeri
'chintz' (printed cloth) usually, yellow, green blue (with different tones) are used
as the background. These days one rarely comes across the variety of shades that
were found in the old Sanganeri 'chintz' but still the 'chhip'; for sanganer have the
incomparable know-how of matching the back ground on base colour with
colours of the prints.

The Bagru Print

The traditional ‘motifs’ of Bagru have however under gone change over the years.
The entire population of ‘chhipas’ which were earlier
engaged in production of all local varieties of printed
fabrics mostly of ‘fadats,indigo fabric’, ‘angochha’
(small towel), ‘bichhauni’ (bed spread), rajai (quilt)
are now engaged in production of sophisticated ‘
kaftans’ ‘wraparounds’ (skirts), ‘midis’ etc. All the
same, basic techniques and colours have remained
unchanged and unaffected through these centuries, this makes the Bagru prints
spectacularly different, distinctive and highly specialized.The local people,
particularly the women folk, mainly used the Bagru prints in the past. Patterns in
rich colours like the indigo blue, alizarin, iron block and bright yellow were
produced on coarse cotton cloth by indigenous processed of dyeing and printing.
In building up patterns, geometrical forms were adopted along with floral, animal
and bird forms. Everything seemed to be inspired from local sources. Synthetic
dyed have now replaced some natural dyes but their ‘resists, and their application
and processed and their sequences have hardly under gone any change. The
styles and motifs have been adapted to some extent to the changing market

The Syahi-Begar prints are a combination of black and yellow ochre or cream.
The Dabu prints are created by hiding them from dye, by applying a resist. Bagru
prints are characterized by circular designs, as well as linear and floral patterns.In
both the Sanganer and Bagru prints, the colors are picked carefully. Each has a
separate significance. For instance, red is the color of love, yellow of spring, indigo
of Lord Krishna, and saffron of the yogi (seer). The wooden blocks that are used
are made of teak wood.Traditionally,vegetable dyes made of madder,
pomegranate rind, indigo, and turmeric are used. These have now been largely
replaced by chemical dyes. Often, the fabric is dyed before it is printed.

Difference:Sanganeri & Bagru

The main distinguishing feature between Sanganer and Bagru printing is that
Sanganer print is usually done on a white ground, whereas Bagru prints are on an
Indigo or a dyed background. Local water also has its effects. In Sanganer water,
block comes out in its best dark shade, while at Bagru block comes with a reddish
tinge. As water has always been abundant in Sanganer, the washing of cloth has
formed the main basis of printing and dyeing there. In Bagru, where water is
comparatively scarce, ‘Dhabu’ resist printing and indigo work is mostly done.

Difference in motifs-Traditionally, motifs printed at Bagru are large with bold line,
as compared to sanganer, where somber colours and fine lines, intricate detailing
are practiced. Sanganeri motifs are naturalistically rendered, with motifs usually
based on flowers i.e. iris, rose, poppy, marigold, sunflower, chrysanthemum etc.
Bagru motifs are more geometric than the sanganeri motifs.

Traditional Designs

The patterns or designs/motifs which are traditionally made in Rajasthan can be

classified as ‘boota’, bootie’ and ‘jal’. ‘Boota’: ‘Boota’ is normally referred to as
design which is single and complete in itself. The word ‘boota’ is derived from the
Persian word ‘Butteh’ which means complete tree. ‘Bootas’ depict the flora and
fauna of the region and sometimes birds are also seen. Since it is a single unit the
spacing between the two impressions can be varied normally a ‘boota’ is not
bigger than 3”x5”.

‘Booti’: ‘Booti’ is a smaller form of ‘boota’ and the spacing between one ‘booti’
and another is predetermined. There could be up to 20 booties on one block *,
depending on the size and space, Like ‘boota’ most of the ‘booties’ depict the
flora and fauna and birds of the area. Sometimes the geometric forms like dots,
circles, squares and lines are also used. Sanganeri ‘booties’ are classic, decorative
delicate, refined and exquisite, which were basically used for royal families of
Jaipur for clothing, whereas booties from Bagru are slightly folk.
‘Jaal’: ‘Jaal’ is pattern, which gives continuous interconnection surface. ‘Jaals’
were not very popular in Sanganeri prints but other centres have ‘Jaal;’ Patterns
which are floral, paisley (‘keri’) and geometric. Narrow borders of 2”-4” width are
also used in all the centers. The designs are similar to ‘booties’ in form and

The Bagru

Jaipur is perhaps one of the most culturally rich areas of Rajasthan. Bagru, a small
village town in Rajasthan is situated at a distance of 32ksm east of Jaipur. It is
known for its traditional processed of hand block printing of textile. The ‘chhipas’
of Bagru have assembled here from Sawai Madhopur, Alwar,
Junjjhunu and Sikar districts of Rajasthan to settle in Bagru and
make it their home some 300 years ago. They made it their
home, and one of Rajasthan's most important centers of hand
block printing. Bagru is derived from the word’ Bagora’ the name of an island in a
lake where the city was originally built and is famous for its palm fan and ‘chintz’
(fadat) production pattern.

The Sanganer

Sanganer is situated about 8 kilometers south-east of Jaipur city. Prior to the 17th
century, there is no mention of Sanganer as a centre of printing. At that time
Sanganer was known as a centre of plain and dyed clothes. It was probably
towards the end of the 17th century that this
art form developed here. Probably due to war with
Emperor Auranngzeb and the repeated invasions of
the Marathas, many craftsmen (Printers) from the
neighboring state Gujarat came and settled in
Rajasthan. By the end of the 18th century this
industry was fully developed in Sanganer. It is
famous for dyeing and printing of colorful dresses, bed sheets, curtains, dress
material and variety of other textiles. Bulk of the textile products of these
industries is exported. The total area of Sanganer is about 635.5 Sq. km out of
which, 12.9 Sq. km comprises the urban area.

Traditional Printing process in Sanganer and Bagru

The traditional printing process in sanganer and Bagru can be described as


Scouring- locally called ‘Hari Sarana’. The fabric that comes from mills of
handloom sector contains natural and added impurities such as starch, oil and
dust. To get goods and even penetration of colours, the fabric is boiled with soap
and desizing agents. Traditionally cow dung was used for scouring. Cow dung
contains a lot of alkali, Cow dung and water are mixed together and the cloth
(running cloth ‘than’cut in required length) is then left dipped in that paste
overnight. The process of washing is a long one, generally carried out by the
ladies. The next day, the clothes are washed and spread on large open grounds.
Before the clothes dry completely, more water is sprinkled on them and thus they
are made wet again. This process of sprinkling water and drying is repeated 5-6
times a day. This procedure is carried out unit the cloth becomes white and
bright. Generally, as per requirement, this process in done for 3 to 6 days. After
this the cloth is washed with pure water. Since it is tedious and time consuming,
soaps have replaced the cow dung in this process.

Tannin- locally called ‘Peela Karana’ ‘Harda’Washed fabric is treated with

myrobalan (harda) which contains tannic acid. Tannic acid attracts the mordants,
which are applied with hand woodblock. ‘Harda’ powder is mixed with water, and
the cloth is submerged in it, squeezed and dried flat on the ground. Once the
fabric is dried, it is folded and beaten with a wooden mallet to remove excess
‘harda’ powder and open up the fiber to accept the dye. This process in known as
‘peela karna’. The tannic acid of myrobalam (harda) forms black colour with
ferrous (syahee) which is traditionally made by reaction of old rusted horse shoe
nails with jaggery.

Printing (mordanting)- locally called ‘chapai’. The fabric is printed with two
mordant- ferrous (‘syahee’) made out of rusted horse shoe nails, and alum
(‘begar’). Usually ferrous is printed with the outline block (‘rekh’). As it
immediately shows a black impression, it is easy for another printer to place the
filler block (‘datta’) with beggar or alum. The background block (Gudh’) comes

Ageing-locally called ‘Sukhai’. The printed fabric is left hanging at the printing
areas for at least three-four days so that the prints (mordant paste) penetrate
into the fiber structure. Longer the ageing better is the result.

Washing- locally called ‘Dhulai’. The printed fabric is washed in running water. It
is important to understand the need of running/flowing water. While washing the
printed fabric in running water the excess mordants come out and get washed
away with the flow of water without getting stuck back to the cloth. Water
shortage has forced the printers to cut short this process due to which, the colors
do not get fixed up properly and later “bleed” and people think that natural dyes
are not fast.

Dyeing (fixing of color) - locally called ‘Ghan Rangai’ Dyeing is a process in which
the dye reacts with two mordants at two different locations on the same print
giving two different shades of colors. As mentioned earlier ‘alizarin’ is used as the
dye throughout Rajasthan. The colours obtained in conjunction with the two
mordants are red (with alum) and block (with ferrous). Dyeing is carried out in
large copper vessels (‘tambri’) which are heated by wood fire. Alizarin is filled in
small cloth-bags (‘potali’) and dipped in the vessel. The quantity of alizarin dye is
calculated by the experienced dyer. ‘Dhawadi phool’, a local flower is boiled along
with alizarin to avoid patches and staining. Once the dyed fabric is ready (usually
it takes half-an-hour), it is taken out of the copper vessel and left on the ground
for drying.

Sun-bleaching- locally called ‘Tapai’ Alizarin often”over dyes” the unprinted area
giving an off-white or yellow tinge all over the fabric which makes the print look
dull. In order to make the ground look ‘white’ again the fabric is sun-bleached. In
this process the fabric is laid flat on a river bed, a mild solution of cow dung and
water is sprinkled over the fabric. This process is repeated again when the fabric
is dried. The interaction of alkali (of cow dung) and thermal heat (sun ray) bleach
the ground color making it look white again. Sometimes this process in carried out
before the tannin (‘harda’) treatment but due to shortage of water this process is
cut short and these days the ‘off- white’ color of the background has become a
part of natural dyeing process.

Dabu Printing

Dabu is a mud-resist hand-block printing practiced in Rajasthan of India. The

prints have a sublime quality and appearance. In making of the printed fabrics, a
lot of manual process and hard work is involved and the process of uses lots of
natural dyes and vegetable pastes. Here is a brief outline of the process. This
unique form of printing is also environmentally non-toxic and uses no harmful or
synthetic dyes

Prepration of Mud Resist

The Process of Dabu Printing starts with the

preparation of mud resist the clay is prepared by
finely sieving it. Calcium hydroxide (Chuna in Hindi),
naturally pounded wheat chaff (Beedan in hindi,clay-
lime-gum-insect eaten wheat mixture), and gum
(gound in hindi) are the main ingredients to make
the mud resist. The dug out mud from the dry pond is soaked in water in a
separate tank overnight. The mud resist is freshly prepared before every printing.
Process of Dabu

The mixture of beedan and gound are along with mud are doughed to make a
sticky paste. The special resist paste technique is
commonly known as ‘dhabu’. Dhabu’ acts as resist and
prevents the penetration of dye during dyeing on
areas covered with ‘dhabu’. This technique is used
only for creating patterns with indigo blue. Since the
resist paste ‘dhabu’ is thick and sticky hence finer
definitions cannot be achieved. It is applied with
wooden block on the fabric and saw dust is sprinkled
over it. Saw dust has two major functions at this
stage-first to absorb water from the Dhabu paste and
give additional layers of resist. The saw dust also acts
as a binder which prevents color penetration while
dyeing. The area where clay and sawdust mixture is present does not catch the
dye and remains colorless.

After printing, the fabric is left outside in the sun for drying before dipping in
indigo tanks. Small printing table- “patias” are used for dhabu printing and the
printer applies dhabu sitting on the floor. It is done mostly by women and old
printers, who cannot stand for a long time. The art of making ‘dhabu’paste is kept
secret and the recipe is taught only to daughters-in-law. Every family has its own
recipe to make the paste.

Post Mordanting with Alum and Washing

Post mordanting with alum- locally known as ‘Fitkari Rangai’. The dye extracted
from turmeric and pomegranate peals is very fugitive and in order to make is fast,
post mordanting is done with alum (fitkari). In this process the fabric is dipped in a
big copper vessel filled with water and diluted alum. After leaving it of a few
minutes (long period of time will cause the dhabu to come off) it is taken out,
gently squeezed and dried flat on the ground. When it is completely dry it is
folded and stored in dark places of at least 3 to 4 days so that the yellow dye sets
in. Finally it is taken out for washing.

Washing – locally called ‘Dhulai’

Washing of the fabric is done in order to take out resist paste and excess or
unattached dye from the surface. In this process the fabric is left in big tanks for
at least 3 to 4 hours till the resist paste becomes smooth. The fabric is then
beaten over a flat stone slab to remove the resist paste and excess dye. The
beating of the cloth is generally done where there is a flow of water.


Dabu printing is also a unique art form found alongside Bagru prints. In this, a
design is sketched onto the background cloth. This sketched design is covered
with clay on which saw dust is sprinkled. The saw dust sticks to the cloth as the
clay dries. Thereafter, the entire cloth is dyed in select colors. The area where clay
and sawdust mixture is present does not catch the dye and remains colorless.
After dyeing and drying, the cloth is washed to remove the clay and the mixture.
For additional color, this cloth is dyed again in a lighter shade to cover the
patterned area.


Hand screen printing

Hand screen printing is a slower method of flatbed screen

printing, which is done commercially on long tables up to
100 yds. Printers move the screen with great care, one
frame at a time, until the entire length of cloth is printed.

Flatbed screen printing

This is the modern version of hand screen printing and

incorporates a flat bed, which moves with the fabric
on top. Stationary screens automatically print the
moving fabric.

Rotary printing

A rotary (roller) screen is a cylinder of thin

flexible metal or plastic. The circumference of
the roll determines the size of design repeat.
Rotary screen printing is the fastest method of
printing and gives the finest of designs which, at
times, may be difficult to print by any other

The Akola Print

Akola is a craft cluster in the Udaipur district of Rajasthan. The Akola region is
renowned for hand block printing. The dabu or mud resist printing of this region is
of two specific types namely phetia and nangna. These are exclusive to this area.
The former is worn primarily by the women of the Jat and Chaudhury castes
especially after childbirth or during marriages while the latter were worn by the
Gujjar women. The resist is made by a local gum/ bedja and oil and the previously
used resist by boiling for several hours. The napthol/alizarinedyed cloth is
stamped with the metal blocks. The ash dust is rubbed on the surface to avoid hot
resist to stick when folded. Three types of mud resist are used;chuna/lime or
kirana is the weakest resist which is used for fine outlines. Mitti/mud is used
when the cloth needs to be immersed in indigo a few times and rait/sand, the
strongest of resist is used for most absorbent colours like pomegranate and
ferrous dyes. A range of products like ghaghra/fabric, odhani-veil cloth, yardage
and dupatta-stole.
Ajrakh Printing

Reverse or resist Printing is the method where the pattern required is made on
the fabric and then dye repellent is applied where color is not required. Then
fabric is then immersed in the dye. After dying, the material attached to the fabric
to resist the dye is removed. The edges of the resist areas get a tonal effect which
is very light and soft. A paste is made up of different materials and it is used for
the printing areas, which are required to resist the dye. Ajrakh prints were
dominated by geometrical shapes and use intense jewel-like colors of rich
crimson and a deep indigo, with black and white highlights. The name Ajrakh is
derived from ‘Azrak’, which means blue Arabic and Persian. This art has survived
the passage of centuries. The making of Ajrakh is lengthy and tedious and
technical. someone who is new to this art needs to give ample amount of time to
learn it and excel in its precise details The Khatri community has been engaged in
this craft for centuries and the technique has been passed down and perfected
through several generations. Now, however, only two such family units of Ajrakh
printers still practice the craft in India.

Soda Ash Treatment


 20 Number Of 5meater 30s Greige Cotton (100%) Fabric.

 (Fabric May Differ According To the Requirement but Cotton Is Mostly
 Soda Ash
 Clean Water


From the thaans of cotton greige fabric 20 number of each 5mt are torn. These
fabrics are transferred to huge cemented storage where they are soaked in soda
ash and clean water. This is done to destarch the fabric and remove the initial
impurities. Cloth is soaked in soda ash and water for around 14-15hours.


 Gondh – Glue Extracted From Tree.

 Chunna – Lime (Calcium Carbonate)
 Blocks

In a mortar the gondh is pounded into granules then dissolved in water and is left
to soak overnight. Meanwhile chunna is soaked in separately. Chunna is the main
resist the whitening powder, which helps to ensure the smooth texture of the
mixture, so it does not crack and make the surface impermeable. The next day
Chunna is mixed with the thickening Gondh. This mixture is then transferred to a
container which is covered with layers of bamboo sieve, thick cloth, and thin
cotton fabric.This provides even and required amount of the mixture over the
blocks in order to get proper design.The craftsman thus pound the required
designed blocks over the color and prints on the fabric. This forms the first outline
base where different colored dyes are filled. After the print, craftsman takes the
fabric and lays it down on the sanded ground in open air under the sun. He covers
it with sand from the edges in order to avoid folding or flying of the fabric.


Bhichlana is the process of indigo wash. The dyed fabric when dried is taken for a
wash in clean water. The craftsman beats the fabric harshly, this is important as
the fabric gives out the blue color when in contact with water. Material: Indigo
Powder Procedure: Indigo powder is mixed with water and stored. This mixture is
stored for ages and fresh indigo powder is added constantly as required. Fabric
after all the block printing is now ready for dyeing. The first dyeing is in indigo.
The fabric is folded many times; the craftsman wearing cloves dips the entire
cloth slowly inside the indigo solution waits for few seconds for the cloth to
absorb the dye properly. He takes it out and hands it to other craftsman who
takes it for drying in open air under the sun.


 Boiling Water
 Alizar
 Dhabri Ke Phul

The craftsman prepares a bhatti for this process. Over it water is kept to boil.
Meanwhile alizer mixture is prepared. alizer brings out the red color of Imli
powder.200grams of alizer is taken for 100meater of fabric. It is then wrapped
inside a cotton cloth and immersed in 4-5 cups of water.The cloth acts as a sieve
and allows the alizer powder to mix well in water. This mixture is poured in the
boiling water and stirred well. Fabric is dipped in it and is allowed to soak the
color. After 15minutes Dhabri flower is also put in the boiling water. Dhabri
flower is essential to remove the resist and also cleans the fabric of the cow dung
powder. The fabric is kept in this mixture for over half an hour while the water
boils consecutively in low flame. The craftsman takes out the fabric and let it dry.

Harrah Base



 1kg powdered Harrah

 50 Gm oil
 100gm water

Harrah is a fruit which is powered to give yellow color to the fabric. This is a very
important ingredient as this forms the base of the fabric and oil provides proper
absorption property. This solution also removes further impurities.
Fabric is dipped in the solution of Harrah, oil and water. This procedure is
repeated twice so that every portion of the fabric absorbs the solution
appropriately. The fabric is then put inside a machine which squeezes the fabric
and drains out the water. This fabric is carried and beaten harshly twice on stone
by the worker. This is done so that the color is spread evenly throughout the
cloth. It is taken in the sun to dry.

Indido Dye

Fabric is dyed in indigo to get better quality and rich color.

Dip In Alum

After all the process of block printing and dyeing the fabric is dipped in alum. This
makes the color stronger on the fabric and thus increases the quality. Fabric is
washed of the alum and kept for drying.


Fabric is put in boiling water to give the final finish, remove the extra impurities
and to give a smoother effect.



 Multani Mitti
 Gondh
 Alum

Multani Mitti is crushed into powder; the craftsman then dissolves this powder in
water over a cloth sieve in order to avoid lumps and softens it by hand till it forms
a smooth paste.This paste is mixed with Gondh to provide fasten quality and alum
which acts as a colorant to make the print visible. This mixture in particular is
called ‘Kiriyana’. Kiriyana is poured into a vessel and the bamboo sieve is kept
over it. No cloth is used here as the amount of color required on the blocks is
more to get thicker print.
Jhibri print is done over the black outline that is over Kirchi print. This overprinting
is done as Kiriyana acts as resist.A brighter white color is resumed after dying as
compared to the first outline print ‘Batana’. After the print, craftsman keeps the
fabric for drying in the similar way as mentioned above.



 Multani Mitti
 Turmeric
 Annar Powder
 Alum
 Gondh

The five ingredients are mixed together. Turmeric and Annar powder provides
yellow color; alum and Gond are the resists. Khar is the third color fill of Ajrak.The
batana outline is filled with yellow color according to the design. Cow dung is
spread and fabric is taken for drying.



 Iron Rot
 Bajere Ka Aata
 Gurh

Iron pieces are soaked in water and kept for days to rot. Meanwhile Bajere ka
Aata is mixed with Gurh and kept overnight. The rotted iron is then mixed with
the paste of Gurh and Aata. This mixture is put in the container layered with the
similar materials. Khirchi print is done over the white base print in particular
places which forms the required design. Khirchi print only defines the outline
which latter is filled with black color. After the print, craftsman keeps the fabric
for drying in the similar way as mentioned above.

Kunka Chekna


 Imli powder
 Alum
 Gondh
 Cow dung powder

Imli powder, alum and Gondh are mixed together. Imli provides red color and
alum and gondh acts as resists. kunka chekna is the second color fill of Ajrak.
Blocks of Kunka Chekna are separate as it fills the bale design of ‘Batana’ print
with red color. Cow dung is spread by the craftsman over the print to avoid
misprints. Fabric is then kept for drying under the sun.


Kut also known as Kala Dutta


 Iron Rot
 Alum
 Gondh
 Cow Dung Powder

Iron rot, Gondh and alum are mixed together. Iron rot provides the black color
and helps in oxidation which further darkens the color. Alum and Gondh acts as
the resist.Kut or Kala Dutta is the first color filling of Ajrak. This print fills black
color to the jhibri outline print. The craftsman after finishing each frame of print
covers it with dry cow dung powder which sticks to the wet print. As the amount
of mixture of color used is more the powder prevent misprints. After the print,
craftsman keeps the fabric for dying under the sun.


Fabric is again washed harshly to remove Dhabri flower and to let the color flow


Meena means reapplication of resists over the fabric. Thus the process of Jhibri,
Kut, Kunda Chekna and Kharh block prints are reapplied.


The fabric is washed two to three times thoroughly with clean water. This
removes the impurities and cleans the cloth off soda ash.

Embroidery of Rajasthan

Embroidery of Rajasthan brings new character and dimension to any article that
it graces. It is an ancient craft, which has changed over time to reflect the
prevailing social, material and sometimes even the political mood of the times.
The women of Rajasthan are expert in this field and can make very attractive
embroidery works on various clothes like in quilts, skirts (gharries), shawls, bed
covers and in many more others. The most particularly ornamented fabrics and
articles found in Rajasthan are often those for personal adornment. Some form
of embroidery invariably embellishes the three garments worn by women, the
kanchli, ghaghra and odhni. Similarly men`s garments like the angarkha, achkan
and jama also display certain elements of embroidery. It is also used to beautify
the household items, like bedspreads, wall hangings and animal trappings.
Embroidery is done for domestic use; it is by custom a feminine occupation. Men,
traditionally, were involved in embroideries like zardozi and danka. These crafts
receive the patronage of royal families even today. Embroidery of Rajasthan
brings new character and dimension to any article that it graces.

Social Thread to Embroidery

As in many traditional societies, women in rural Rajasthan lead somewhat

restricted lives. With the exception of a few pastoral and tribal communities, their
interactions are usually limited to the confines of their homes and villages.
Embroidery, thus, becomes the expression of a woman`s artistic temperament. In
fact, activities focused within the household have led to development of a variety
of arts and crafts. Often leisure time activities, after the daily chores are done,
around the home, in the fields and any other area that falls within their domain. It
is then that the needles come out and ply busily until sundown. Thus, embroidery
of Rajasthan becomes the expression of girls, who usually never learn to read or
write. These young artists begin their training at the early age of seven or eight,
thus learning to create exquisite patterns on plain fabric. Initially working on
simple designs, they gradually master their skills, acquiring the daintiness and
refinement of accomplished needlewomen. They work as apprentices to their
mothers and grandmothers, sisters and aunts, who pass on to them designs,
patterns and a heritage that has evolved over the centuries. A wide variety of
techniques is used in the embroidery of costumes and textiles. Some of the
popular styles are, among others, metal embroidery, gota work, and sufbharat.

Mochi Bharat is a chain stitch prevalent in Barmer district .The cobblers prepare
leather footwear by chain stitch and expertise
in decorating these goods with embroideries
which gradually evolved into the textile
decoration. Hand –spun and hand woven
khaddar is the base material for the articles.
Coarser fabric is used for having ghagras and
cholies and finer and lighter variety for
odhanies .The base colors were blue, red and
black. Green color is very rarely used as a base.
Embroidery is worked with either cotton or silk
untwisted thread called ‘Pat’.

The needle used for Moch Bharat is Called Ari or Katharni, Which is very fine awl,
having a small notch just above the point to form hook.The main motifs come
from bird, animal and, floral kingdoms.

Heer Bharat

Heer Bharat is embroidery where design is filled with thread work. This filling is
done either by button hole stitch or long and short (double satin) stitch.

The art is very much similar of the embroidery of Kutch

and Kathiawar on one side and Haryana in the other. The
Jats, the migratory tribe of central Asia (who came to
India) were responsible for developing this embroidery.
This filling is done on Han-spun hand woven as well as
medium weight cotton and woolen clothes. The base colors are blue red and a
blend of both, brown. Embroidery is done with cotton woolen or untwisted silk
floss of various color combinations white, black, red, green yellow, blue, pink and
purple. Mirrors of various size and shapes are used with the Heer Bharat.
Geometrical motifs are common; however stylized birds are also seen. Floral and
animal motifs of geometrical base are also evident.

Moti Bharat is an art of Jalor district of Rajasthan. This work is not done on the
fabric. The opaque white beads form the base on which the
transparent beads are worked by stringing them together in
various shapes and forms of birds, animals, human figures
and other articles of day to day life, Traditionally blue,
green yellow and red colored beads were commonly used.
Now wide range of coloured beads is available locally for
the craftsmen to make use of.

Stylized human figures, geometrical designs, glimpses of

daily life, horse and camel riders, elephant with haudha,
horse with carriage, the famous love legend of local hero
Dhola and his lover Maru are the designs repeatedly
used. Various articles like, Purse, cap, toran. Play articles,
cradle decoration, showpieces are prepared by Moti Bharat.


Marwari community of Rajasthan traditionally engaged in Appliqué art. The work

is similar to the path work of Kathiawar the ‘Katab’. For this mill made medium
weight white cotton cloth forms the base on which Patches of various tints
,shades ,sizes and shapes are arranged in a pictorial pattern later trimmed, slip
stitched ,whipped sometimes and finished with running stitch and button hole.
Now commercialized the art has been prevalent in Jaipur Udaipur and Barmer


The quilts made by patchwork known as ‘Ralli’are the traditional product

of Jaisalmer ,The quilt is made by sewing several layers of old fabrics ,where the
upper most layer being made of new cotton cloth. The colors used for patch work
are olive green, brown, maroon and black. The corners are decorated with tassels
of either cotton or silk and Sequins called ‘Phuladi’ .Naval cholies, saddle cloth,
bed spreads, cushion covers and purses some of the products decorated by
Jaisalmer Appliqué art.

MEO Embroidery

The Meos of Alwar has again their unique style of embroidering a rich pattern
with chain stitch in contrasting colours and the body is roofed with the `phulkar
bagh` stich. Dancing figures, Flowers and peacocks are the favorite motifs. The
base material is Khaddar, handspun & hand woven and the embroidery is
generally done on long skirts locally called Ghagras and mantles or odhanis.
The main stitches used are chain and darning and thread employed is silk floss.the
background is worked with darning stitches with golden yellow color and the
motifs are worked in either white or black colors by chain stitch .green ,red and
purple color are sparsely used. Uniqueness of Meo embroidery lies in the
balanced effect of geometrical forms with circular movements. The swirling effect
is produced by using darn stitch along with chain stitch. The embroidery is usually
done on dresses, footwear, cloak draped over the oxen.

Rabari Embroidery

The Rabari Embroidery depicts the creativity of

women belonging to the Rabari community in their
daily life and lifestyle. The Rabaris are a wandering
community known for their extraordinary capacity
for survival and adaptation in the arid regions of
Gujarat and Rajasthan. They are recognized for their
distinctive arts; especially embroidery, beadwork and
mirrored mud sculpture. They also traditionally spin
the wool from their sheep and give it to local
weavers to make the woolen skirts, veils, blankets
and turbans Rabaris use.

Rabaris embroider a wide range of garments, bags, household decorations and

animal trappings. Important events and rites and values in their lives are
highlighted in the embroidery. Unmarried girls traditionally embroider blouses,
skirts, veils, wall hangings, pillows, purses and Kothalo which are dowry sacks, as
their contribution for their dowryes.

Married women embroider children's clothing and cradle cloth as well. These
embroideries not only reflect the primacy of children, the mirrors which are
embellished also protect their children from evil spirits that inhabit their world.
Some embroidery emphasise particular customs. Elaborately
embroidered kothaliya -- purses in which the groom carries ceremonial gifts
of pan and supari, symbolise the importance of exchange in maintaining familial
ties. Embroidery on lugdi veils underscores the importance of laj the conventional
modesty that Rabaris observe. Other embroideries on display preserve the Rabari
memory of their origins as desert dwelling camel herders. Rabaris embroider
camel trappings to honour the camels they still keep for ceremonial use. Rabari
grooms wear elaborately embroidered long jackets andchorani pants, and brides
wear Ghaghara or skirts. This embroidery is like a language with which women
express themselves. Specific motifs and their composition have a name and
meaning. Many of these symbols represent elements intrinsic to Rabari everyday
life and throws light upon how the community sees their world.

Jain Embroidery

Jain occupies the main trading population of Rajasthan where Jain temples at
Dilwara and rankpur are very famous.The orign of the jain embroidery goes back
sixteenth century. The base material being Satin & blue red or violet in color some
time the rich looking soft velvet is also used. Basic stitches comprised of stem,
satin, chain, and worked with silk floss of blue, green, yellow and white colors,
along with little combination of silver thread, to add to the luster. The basic
concept of jain Philosophy has been pictured on these articles along with floral
motifs ,the main ones are Mandala, depicts jain beliefs& shows different parts in
heaven where various gods and goddesses live, Adivipa are representation of
cosmology, which depicts universe, as the mangla or astha mangalika implies at
suspicious projects, related to eight jain Tirhankers. There was great influence of
court embroideries during eighteenth and nineteenth century which is evident on
some of the article where human figures have been dressed similar to court

In Bikaner and Jaisalmer the embroidered leather saddles are very popular. The
Jaisalmer embroideryalso applies mirror works sometimes to
provide a visual impact. Embroidery practiced in Bikaner is done
by counting threads. Women of Sikar and Jhunjhuna make
animal figures and simple tree forms in their
embroidery. In their work, all these remain
juxtaposed together to form a specific pattern in the borders of
their cotton skirts. These blue and black striped handloom
Ghagras have embroidered borders. The Odhanis are also
embroidered with animal figures and vegetable patterns. Women
of Barmer use mirrors, thus enhancing the beauty of the
embroidered piece. In appliqué, different pieces of cloth are
patched together to make a multicolored mosaic. The exotic
colors, shapes and pattern combinations against contrasting backgrounds catch
the eye.

Gota Work

The metal embroidery of Rajasthan is known as Gota work. The embroiderers of

Jaipur, Bikaner, Ajmer, Udaipur and Kota are world famous for their uniquely
styled Gota work. Gota is a band of gold or silver ribbon of that varies with width,
woven in a satin weave. The gold embroidery of Jaipur, known as gota-work, is
intricate. In Real Gota, Silver & Gold metals are used. But in routine, the base
metal is copper, coated by Silver etc. Now the copper has been replaced by
Polyester film which is metalized & coated as per requirements. This has resulted
in better quality at lower cost. This Plastic Gota (as it is popularly known) has
good resistance to moisture & does not tarnish as compared to metal-based Gota.
The raw material comprised of a yarn of silver polished with gold and passed
under 10 Calendars to make into fine strand called "Kasab" and further drawn
under a calendar to give it a flattened effect known as "Badla". In recent years
pure yarns are replaced by synthetic yarns.Various types of gotta are Sikhiya
gotta, Chaumasa, Panchmasa, Athmasa, Lappa, Thappa, Gokhru, Lehru Gotta,
Nakshi, Bijbel, Bijiya, Chiru, Kiran, Chatai and Chip gotta.
The work was previously done on pure Georgette, Chiffon, Velvet & Silk whereas
as in recent years synthetic fabrics are used for the production. The colors
commonly used were Red, Orange, Pink, magenta, Maroon & Yellow which are
nowadays available in all possible shades as per the customer demand.

Production Process

The Base fabric is tied on four sides with thick cords and is attached to a wooden
frame known as Khaat. For tracing design the tracing paper is placed on the
Fabric. White paste made of safeda or chalk powder is spread over it. The Design
will appear on the fabric. According to the outlines of the design Gotta is cut and
folded into different shapes or it may be stitched in a simple line. To create
different designs Gotta is cut and folded and is attached in various geometrical or
in figured form with Hemming and Back stitch on the fabric. Gota is woven on
looms. It consists of cotton in warp and a metal in weft. Attractive designs
consisting of flowers, leaves and decorative motifs could also be made on gota by
pressing it under blocks. Each pattern and motif had its own distinguishing name.
Small pieces of gota were cut and patched over the textile with the help of thread
and needle to create designs in applique. In Jaipuri dialect, this is known
as chatapati work. Gota has maintained its popularity even today among the
women, the only difference being that the hand-operated loom on which it was
formerly made is now power-driven. Gota is available in different width. With it
different types of items are made like Champa, Beejia, Phool, Patti,
Gohkroo etc. (Defined in Glossary). Now- a-days different shapes in different sizes
are cut out of the Gota-Strip, manually or by dies. And using these and other
materials like Dori, Sitara, Kundan etc., artistic works are created by Rajasthani
artisans. There is no better choice than ‘Gota Work’ when rich & heavy look is
desired in light weight. It is also low cost & durabel. Small pieces of zari ribbon are
applied onto the fabric with the edges sewn down to create elaborate patterns.
Lengths of wide, golden ribbons are similarly stitched on the edges of the fabric to
create an effect of gold zari work.
The Gota method is commonly used for women's formal costumes. Khandela in
Shekhawati is best known for its manufacture. Kinari or edging refers to the art of
fringed border decoration. It is usually practised by the Muslim craftsm, Gota
work is a form of fabric ornamentation that was probably originated in Rajasthan.
It is also known as gota-kinari work and lappe-ka-kaam. These `Gota` and `Kinari`
are golden and silver coloured pieces and laces those are sewn on the cloth. The
Muslim craftsman generally prepares these. On the bases on its width, Gota work
or Lappe ka kaam can be found under different names like chaumasiya and
athmasiya. The work is done on the fabric with the appliqué technique. With
hemming or simple running stitch the Gotta is attached in stylish design flow from
the artisan`s fingers on to the garment. The popular design elements like flowers,
leaves, stylized mango motifs and heart shapes are usually worked on various
kinds of odhna and ghaghras. Checkerboard patterns are also quite a favorite.
Animal figures, like the parrot, peacock and elephant are some of the folk motifs.
To get a variation, floral designs are cut from Gota is embroidered on to the cloth
with the help of a string. Gota can be cut into small pieces and folded in the shape
of leaves.They are also twisted and stitched on the cloth in the form of
continuous triangles on the border. This work is mostly done is Jaipur in remote
villages by local people called khandani karigars as inherited art. In Gota work
however contrasting colors like pink and green or pink and red are mostly in the
background with patch work to highlight the work. Some sections of the pattern
are filled with colored satin, thus resulting in a rich design that resembles the
enameled jewellery of the region. Men and women of all communities wear
garments of Gota work or Lappe ka kaam, as it is auspicious and indispensable
during ceremonial occasions. The work is mainly done on the costumes for
women. Khandela in Shekhawati mainly prepares these items. Married women
wear the Gota ornamented attire in religious, social and festive occasion’s men,
and children also dress sometimes in their finest clothes that are often
ornamented with Gota work. Gota lacing is generally done on odhni and turban
edges. Printed or embroidered ghaghras are also trimmed with gota. Traditional
articles like Kurti, kaanchli, Sari, Lehanga, Poshaak,Dress for idols are adorned
with Gota work.Contemporary articles included Kurtis, Salwar suits and
saris,decorative panels and cushion covers are also in fashion.


Salma Work

Salma or nakshi is cheaper than dapka and considered slightly less exquisite than
dapka by some. But a wedding skirt or lehanga or odhani or mantle cannot be
complete without nakshi as it shines much more than dapka. Nakshi puts life in
the art work. This form of embroidery is also done by using prefabricated golden
thread on the chhapai. At first the design is imprinted on the material with the
help of oil and ink. The work commences from exterior to interior that is the
outline of the motif is worked with the twisted metallic wire gigai, followed by
filling with twisted circular metallic wire, the Salma. For fixing the accessories,
back, running, chain, couching stitching stitch is employed. Meenakari the enamel
effect is bought about combining Salma work with appliqué and other hand
stitchery, which is an exclusive work of menfolk. The motifs comprised of either
floral or geometrical and are popular with distinctive names like Ganga-Jamuna
(blend of gold and silver thread), jamavar (overall elaborate trellised pattern), Bel
(trellised border), Hazar butas (fine work with glittering thousands butties), Katao
kibel (scalloped trellis borde) and so on.


Sujani Embroidery

The sujani work of eastern Rajasthan is of a very fine quality and is inspired by the
original suzani art of Biihar and Kanth of Bengal. An old cloth is
folded three or four times and stitched together and new cloth
is attached over it for doing chain and running stitch
embroidery of creepers and flowers, and
sometimes of sakhi or peacock design. The
sujani style of embroidery is used for winter
wear, also especially for making sadaris (jackets). Embroidery is
also done in south Rajasthan where chain-stitch on leather has
gained a name for itself. In earlier times, this work was done
on scabbards, shield-cushions, and on covers for gun-powder bags.

Dabka Embroidery

Dabka or Dapka is a very detailed type of needle work which is done after the
fabric has been put on the adda and chhapai is completed.

At least three to four worker workers are required for a detailed and fine work at
the same time on the same piece. First a thick
cotton cord is stitched on the pattern to be
embroidered. Then on this cord prefabricated zari
thread is looped on with an ordinary stitching
needle. The patterns mostly made are of flowers,
leaves, or the national bird of India – the Peacock.
Skilled kaarigar's can even do french knots with
the smallest size (diameter) of dabka.
Danka Embroidery

‘Danke-ka-kaam’ is a kind of metal embroidery in Rajasthan that is a decorative

feature in Rajasthani fabrics. It’s a 400-year old embroidery craft in Udaipur,
Rajasthan. As of now there are just two practitioners of the craft who does the
embroidery. It's a craft that has primarily
been practiced by Udaipur's Bohra
community. At a workshop held in Udaipur
this year, the practitioners were persuaded
with great difficulty to train a group of 20
youngsters in the art. When it ended, he
proudly reported that at least three had
'tremendous potential' and he would train
them further if enough business came his
way. The 'danka' is a small square plate,
varied in size, but not bigger than 1.5 cm.
Though originally it was made of pure gold, now silver-plated with gold dankas
are used. To make the danka, thin, well-finished and polished silver sheets of 98
percent purity are electroplated in gold in strips of 30 cm X 2.5 cm. These are
washed in water and polished with fine sand. Then the strips are cut into 1.5 cm
squares and the squares hammered with a stone implement till they resemble the
tip of an ice cream cone.This method was earlier also known as korpatti-ka-kaam.
The cost of the Danke ka kaam is calculated according to its weight. This
decorative technique is usually worked on fabrics like satin, chiffon or silk fabric.
The fabric is stretched tightly on a wooden frame before it is embroidered and
the craftsman sits on the floor. Danka pieces are spread on the fabric as required
by the design. The danka is pierced with a sharp needle, bringing out the thread
through the fabric. About three to five strands of kasab (gold or silver wire) are
kept over each danka and couched down along its edges. It is secured with eight
stitches in the shape of a knot. Two stitches go into the back and the other two at
each corner and two on the front. About three to five strands of 'kasab' (gold or
silver wire) are placed over each danka along its edges. It is secured with eight
stitches in the shape of a knot - two at the back, one in each corner and two in the
front.The most popular motifs used in danka work are inspired by nature - the
sun, the moon as well as the paisley design in a stylised form.Round and flat metal
braids about one quarter of a centimetre in width that are used to highlight the
design. Additional stitches used include the chain stitch, satin stitch for the design
filling, while stem and running stitches are for lighter work.

Aari Work

Aari work is a more delicate form of embroidery. It is done with both colored and
golden thread. The thread is put on the tip of a pen-like needle which is passed
through the cloth giving chain-stitch-like impressions.

The difference between Aari and Zardozi work is in the method of embroidery
and material used.



Badla Embroidery

In this work, metal ingots are melted and pressed through perforated steel sheets
to convert into wires. They are then hammered to the required thinness. Plain
wire is called badla, and when wound round a thread, it is called kasav. Smaller
spangles are called sitara and tiny dots made of badla are called mukaish.

Rajasthan is also popular for `karchobi`, a form of zari metallic thread embroidery
done with needle. This kind of embroidery is done by flat stitches on cotton
stuffing and can be found on bridal and formal costumes.


Zari Work

Zardozi or Zari or kalabattu is an embroidery work done in metal wires. Jaipur,

Ajmer, Tonk and Jodhpur are important centres
for zari work in Rajasthan. The art of this
embroidery is mostly passed on from father to
son where certain skills are taught with utmost
secrecy. Zardozi is a more elaborate version of
zari which involves the use of gold threads,
spangles, beads, seed pearls, wire, gota and
kinari. The fabric on which the work has to be
done is first mounted on a wooden frame
called adda, which bears a close resemblance to the Indian charpai or bed.

The chhapai or tracing of the design to be embroidered is then transferred on the

fabric with neel or chalk powder. Then the embroidered starts.

Knucklepad Embroidery

There are several communities of Rajasthan, who are involved

in making leather products andembroideries on them. In the
`knucklepad` leather products, miniature landscapes and festive
scenes are embroidered like in Rajput
paintings. In these embroidery works of
Rajasthan, the minute details of the embroidery are worked
out and the group compositions are done carefully. The scenes
embroidered here are mainly of human figures as well as floral
and bird designs.
Phad – Narrative Textile

Phad is an audio-visual performance of folk narratives in Rajasthan. Phad or

scrolls are painted stories. It is a large cloth scroll on which the legend of Pabuji &
Devnarayan or other folk heroes is painted. The performance signifies
Phad Bachna “Narration of the legend”. These folk paintings on cloth are a part of
rich cultural legacy of India. These paintings have the mammoth task of
representing a complex and a full blown folk epic, which it achieves through
a very specific style of representation, filled with figures & pictorial incidents.

These paintings form a kind of dramatic backdrop to epic story telling

performances. Since they depict the different episodes, these paintings are
customarily opened or unrolled only after sundown, in conjunction with the all
night performance. This could be one reason for these paintings to be
called Phad. Which means folds in local dialect. The word Phad is may also be
derived from Sanskrit word patt. The painters who traditionally engage
themselves in the profession of Phad painting are known as Phad painter. They
are painted by the Chipa and Joshi castes of Shahpura, near Bhilwara based on
the subjects like Bhagavad purana or other popular folk stories. The origin of Phad
paintings is traced to western India. The principal subjects for the paintings are
the life of two legendary Rajasthani heroes-Pabuji & Devnarayan ji- who is
worshipped as the incarnation of lord Vishnu & Laxman. Each hero-god has a
different performer-priest or Bhopa. The repertoire of the bhopas consists of
epics of some of the popular local hero-gods such as Pabuji, Devji, Tejaji, Gogaji,
Ramdevji.The Phad also depict the lives of Ramdev Ji, Rama, Krishna, Budhha &
Mahaveera. The iconography of these forms has evolved in a distinctive way.
All Phads, no matter which hero-god they present, have certainly similarities.
Every available inch of the canvas is crowded with figures. Another similarity is
flat construction of the pictorial space. While the figures are harmoniously
distributed all over the area, the scale of figure depends on the social status of
the character they represent and the roles they play in the story.
Another Interesting feature is that the figures in the paintings do not face the
audience; rather, they face each other. These paintings are very wide to
accommodate the numerous episodes of the complex stories.
With the help of painting exposition and explanation of the painting to the
audience is done through the songs, dances and instrumental music. The whole
performance is an intricate ritualistic affair to which many rituals of performance
are attached. The painting involves the use of a coarse white cloth, which is
starched and smoothened with a wooden burnishes. The initial sketch is executed
with a non-permanent yellow color, followed by application of colors in the order
of green, brown, vermilion, and sky blue. Finally, black color is used for outlining
the figures.

Traditionally, natural colors derived from vegetables and minerals were used but
today the use of synthetic colors has also become popular. When the painting is
completed, it is given to bhopa (a singing artist) who performs during night to the
accompaniment of the instrument. In olden times, the phada artists do not paint
the eyes of the main character till the time the painting was not handed over to
the bhopa. However, time has changed now. The stories in Phadas sometimes
appear to overlap. The central portion depicts the main story while the puranic
tales are illustrated on the border areas.

Pabuji Ki Phad

The Bhopas use paintings as visual aids while singing

and dancing to illustrate the legend of their hero Pabuji.
These paintings have very strong religious and
community connotations.

They have a symmetrical composition, as they are meant

to be placed in the house shrines for meditation. Pabuji
ki phad depicts incidents from the life of Pabuji, a prince
who lived in the early 14th century.
Dev Narayanji Ki Phad

A legend Devnaryan is eleven hundred years old and this is a

tradition of seven hundred years of continuity.This oral epic, one
of the oldest living Indian traditions, narrates the story of
Devnarayan, a legendary king who is believed to have been an incarnation of Lord

The epic and its recital are part of the lives of the Gujjar community in Rajasthan
and north-western Madhya Pradesh, who worship Devnarayan.
The entire story of Devnarayan is recited by Bhopas(singer
priests) in the nights during the months November to July.

Pichawi – Narrative Textile

Pichhwais represent a unique form of textile art which originated at Shrinathji

temple in Nathdwara a little over three centuries ago. Nathdwara is some 48 km
northeast of Udaipur in the Rajsamand district of Rajasthan.The temple dedicated
to Lord Krishna was named Nathdwara because Lord Krishna is also known as
‘Nath’ and ‘Nathdwara’ means ‘Gateway to God.’

Pichhwais are large devotional cloth hangings which form the background for Lord
Krishna’s icon in Pushti Marg temples. Pichhwai literally translates to ‘at the back.’
Traditionally, pichhwais were painted on woven cotton cloth. The cloth used to be
coated with a mixture of gum Arabic and rice floor to create an even surface.
Colour pigments obtained from vegetables and minerals were then applied on
them with a brush.

Pichhwais usually depict 24 scenes from Lord Krishna’s life related to some
festival or holy day. At the centre of these pichhwais is either a stylized image or a
symbolic representation of Lord Krishna. Dark clouds, dancing peacock, Kadamba
tree etc. symbolize Lord Krishna in these paintings. The pichhwais are changed
from time to time depending upon the day, season and occasion to create
different moods and ambience.Lord Krishna’s personality was so popular and
powerful that everything associated with him has been immortalized in art,
literature and culture of India. Butter, flute, peacock feather, cows, cowherds,
milkmaids—literally everything associated with Lord Krishna has left an indelible
mark on our culture.

Rajasthani Quilts

Rajasthan encompasses the Aravalli Mountain Range and the Thar (Great Indian)
Desert. This makes the terrain inhospitable and the
climate cold, especially at night. The people need to
cover them at night without a lot of bulk or weight to
carry with them during the day. Over time, local
quiltmakers developed techniques which created a
quilt that was lightweight, compact, warm and
durable, all at once. The families have been carders
for generations. Initially these quilts were made only from the gossamer light,
world famous ‘Dhake ki malmal’ but now a days, old, fine textured cotton and
georgette saris silk and Shaneel fabrics are used .The cloth of the Jaipuri razais,
are traditionally soft quality voile, mainly comes from Bombay. A single quilt takes
six meter and a double quilt eleven meters of cloth .The cotton from Ganganager
is preferred .The quilts are quite durable and are very comfortable in travelling.

Process of Making Quilts

Carding of Cotton

The material of choice for a Jaipuri razai is cotton. The cotton fill of a Jaipuri
razai is finely carded to remove all the impurities. The worker places a ball of
cotton on one carder and combs through it with another carder. Carding
separates the cotton fibers, allowing the worker to draw out all of the dross, or
waste material. In the process of carding, a dense cotton ball becomes light and
fluffy. To make a Jaipuri razai, a worker starts with a kilogram (approximately 2.2
pounds) of cotton. After carding for a full week, approximately 100 grams (or 3.5
ounces) of cotton remain. Makers of this quilt are careful to draw out as much
dross, and to separate as many of the cotton fibers, as possible. Light, fluffy
cotton fill is what makes these quilts warm

Filling the Shell

Once the cotton is completely carded, the artisans go on to make the quilt. The
shell of the comforter can be velvet or silk, but the most common fabric is cotton.
Often, the cotton will be decorated in the traditional Indian art of block print
before the quilt is put together. Layering the cotton fill on the shell is an
important step in making these quilts. The cotton has to be distributed evenly
throughout the quilt in order to maintain its comfort and warmth.

Sewing and Quilting

Once the fill is carefully layered on the shell, the quilt is stitched together and
quilted. In modern times, the stitching around the sides is usually done by
machine in order to increase the durability of the quilt. However, even these days,
the quilting on the quilt panels themselves is typically done by a hand-held
needle. This stitching on the interior of the quilt surface helps to hold the fill in
place and adds to the beauty of the quilt.

Kota Doria

Rajasthan is well known for the fine Kota Doria Muslin saris. Kota Doria as the
name suggests is made in Kota city of Rajasthan. It is a type of cotton cloth that
becomes special because of its weave. The weaving is done using pure cotton
threads but the style is so varying that it makes the final cloth translucent and
gives it cross pattern locally known as Khat .Fine check pattern is locally known as
Khat .This is the most open weave fabric woven in India. The weave is result of
sufficient spacing between super fine warp and weft threads with slightly thick
thread at regular counts to produce a very subtle check pattern. Also, the thicker
threads make the cloth strong and more durable. The thin fibers maintain its
softness, delicacy and give it translucency and gossamer appeal.
Kota Doria is a good choice for hot summer months in India. Its light and airy
feeling makes it very comfortable. Along with comfort, the softness and
transparency makes this cotton cloth graceful and part of fashion. Sari is the most
common wear made from Kota Doria, but now dress material, Kurtas, and other
accessories are also hitting the market.


Kota saris were first made when weavers were brought to Kota (between 1707
and 1720) from the Deccan by Maharao Bhim Singh. The weaves originated in
Mysore and surprisingly one could hardly find them now at Mysore. The workers
settled there and passed down the art of weaving cotton in the open khat or
check structure from generation to generation.
Everything is done in the age old manner right
from the setting of the patterns, to graph
making, dyeing of the yarn and setting of the
loom. Down South it is still called by name Kota
Masurias. Originally done in pure cotton,
nowadays synthetic as well as silk threads are
also woven along with cotton threads. This
makes it cheaper and more durable. The
traditional Kota Doria is found in white color
only and one needs to get it dye in different color. Single color dying, shaded
patterns, Tie dyed pattern are common with new style coming up each day.
Varieties as printed Kota Doria and silk embroidered border are becoming very

Bright colors like pomegranate red, purple, Bordeaux red, turquoise, lapis,
turmeric yellow and saffron, besides the usual cream and gold are mostly
demanded.. The range includes cloth embellished with gold thread and zari. The
zari thread is woven or used for embroidery which makes this simple cotton very
beautiful and festive. Heavily embroidered with silk threads is also used as party
wear. The Kota Doria cloth has become an important include for summer
collections done by various fashion designers. They have brought in accessories
done in Kota, which include handbags, pouches and sashes embellished with
Gotta Patti, Mukesh and Mirror work.


Preparation of Fabric

The process of weaving is supported by a number of activities like pirn, winding,

warping, dyeing, sizing, etc.

Preparation of Yarn

Cotton and silk act as raw material for Kota Doria.Raw material is obtained from
Surat and other parts of the country in the form of hanks (‘lachhis’). The yarn
requires further processing before being put on the loom for weaving. Pirn
Winding Pirn winding is the process of transferring the yarns from the hanks into
spools of the shuttles used in the weft while weaving. Pirn winding is also done
for zari thread/ silk thread used for value addition during the weaving process.
Pirn winding is achieved by using a small swift consisting of a rotary wheel
attached to a harness of conveyor belt giving a similar rotary motion to the spool
mounted at the other end. Rotation of the wheel by hands results in the rotation
of the spool and thereby the thread is wound on small spindles.


The warping method used in Kaithun is known as ‘peg warping’, since wooden
pegs are used in the process. These wooden pegs, locally known as ‘pinjras’, and
are placed along the whole length of the yarn so that a continuously criss-crossed
set of two yarns may be obtained for the weaving process. (The criss-crossing
later on helps in finding out the broken yarn on the loom during the course of
weaving). These wooden pegs are placed below a thick rope tied to a pair of iron
pegs on each end and it is the length of the rope that determines the length of
the warp being prepared. Presently this length is 30 yards, keeping in mind that at
time 5 saris of 6 yards each are woven on a loom. Thus, keeping a margin for
wastage etc. the warp length is predetermined and yarns are wound around the
two iron pegs, dug into the ground fully stretching the rope. At least two persons
are required for the entire process. While one person has to twist the yarns with a
help of a heald, which has the yarns passing through it, the other person has to
hold the stand consisting of the spools of the yarns. So one-person keeps on
holding the stand of yarns, both of them take turns round the pegs to achieve the
desired number of yarns in a warp. Usually the activity is done in the open spaces
or by-lanes near the house of the weaver, either by the non-weaving family
members or by other hired persons, usually old-aged women of the village.
The number of rounds to be taken between the two ends of the rope is based on
the number of ‘‘khats’ desired in the sari. Since each ‘khat’ is made of 8 cotton
and 6 silk yarns in it, the number of rotations around the stands is determined by
the capacity of the heald being used. Hence an original Kota Doria sari of 300
‘‘khats’ has 2400 cotton and 1800 silk yarns in the warp.


Dyers dye the silk and cotton yarn. For certain colors, such as Red, Foam Green
etc. mill dyed yarn is also purchased, which is quite rare owing to the high costs of
such yarns. Direct dyes owing to their easy use and good retention on silk as well
as cotton, are used by the dyers. Dyeing is done of the readied warp as well as the
hanks for the weft. The process of dyeing involves the washing of the
hanks/warps, then dipping them in a warm bath of dye, fixing of the dye and
thereafter further washing and final drying. The present dyeing rates are RS. 60
for one ‘paan’ (i.e. 30 yards of warp and yarn hanks for the weft for 5 saris). The
rate is slightly increased for two colors in the same ‘paan’ or for dyeing the yarns
in different colours for warp and weft for a “Rangoli” variety of saris.


Sizing is mainly done for imparting the yarn enough strength, surface glaze and
stiffness so that it can withstand the beating of the reed during the weaving
process and also maintain the stiffness necessary for even weaving and a proper
look of the sari once the weaving is complete. This is important since no further
ironing/polishing of the sari is done in the cluster. Sizing is done only for cotton
yarn and is generally done by using thin paste of rice (‘maandi’). Some weavers
also use the juice of a special variety of onions. Sizing is done by the laborers
available for this purpose in the village. The process involves painstakingly
brushing of the yarns stretched along a stand, using the sizing paste and special
brushes for this activity. These brushes are made up of a particular type of
coniferous leaves brought to Kaithun by the brush-makers from Kashmir, coming
to the village every year for preparing/ repairing the brushes.

Preparation of Loom

Preparation of the loom for weaving involves the following activities:


The process of passing the warp yarn through the heald of the loom as per the
design to be woven is known as drafting. This helps in the further process of
weaving when locating a broken yarn becomes easy due to the heald and also
helps in the designing processes.


Skilled craftsmen fill the reed, a comb like structure, locally known as ‘raanch’,
with the yarns on their own or through the men adept at this skill. The reed is
made of a special variety of bamboos found only near Benaras.


Since the process of denting is quite laborious and time-consuming, it’s usually
done either on a new loom or in case if the design is changed. Otherwise, just
new yarns are added to the left over yarns in the reed to continue weaving. This
process of joining the warp yarns, with the help of the thumb and the index
finger, using some ash in the process, is known as piecing.

Design setting

The setting up of design on the ‘jala’ of the loom is also a specialized activity and
so is that of making of the graphs for the designs. The use of dobby of up to 16
plates and jacquards of up to 100 hooks are also being used in Kaithun, the total
number of dobbys being about 25-30 while about 50 odd jacquards are in
operation. Dobby is mainly used for ground motifs and in some instances for the
pallu also. On the other hand, jacquard is being used for making exquisite borders
of the saris. The method of using small spindles, locally known as ‘tillis’ for making
the motif on the ground/pallu/border of the sari makes the designing process
quite lengthy but at the same time provides such a fine effect, which is not
noticed in any other handloom sari easily. Designing on Kota Doria fabric during
the course of weaving is an art in itself and the kinds of adjustments that are
needed in the motifs/ patterns so as to take into account the differential picks
and ends at different parts of the base fabric (owing to the ‘khat’ pattern). The
various gadgets prevalent for the extra-weft designing currently in use are ‘jala’,
dobby and jacquard.


Weaving of Kota Doria involves a simple pit loom that can be erected by the local
carpenters of the villages and the technique of weaving is quite traditional, I.e.
the throw shuttle technique wherein no gadgets are used for the to and fro
motion of the shuttles along the width of the fabric. This provides a lot of
flexibility to the weaver in controlling the design and also the beating of the reed
to achieve the ‘khat’ pattern.

Dari, Shawls and Carpet

Rajasthan produces around 40% of the country's raw wool and this sector
supports nearly 30 lakh people. Sheep rearering is one of the major trade of
Western Rajasthan.Wool is traditionally used in carpet weaving but Rajasthan
carpets and rugs are also made out of silk and cotton fiber.

Rich colors and exquisite designing are major attraction of the hand-woven
carpets and rugs. The tradition of weaving carpets and daries dates back almost
2000 years. The darie, a simple rug that was once used as an underlay, has now
become one of the state's best known weaving traditions. The art of carpet and
rug weaving was actively promoted in the state under the patronage of the
Mughal monarchs and the Rajput royals.
Carpets first began to be manufactured in Rajasthan when weavers from
Afghanistan were installed in the royal ateliers in the 17th century. The Daries
were used as carpeted padding or underlay in olden days.

Currently the wool obtained from camel has been favorite yarn used in Dari
making. Weavers sit on looms in villages, creating an interesting blend of
patterns- mostly geometric, sometimes floral- in an exciting combination of
colours. Made from cotton yarn, in areas such as Bikaner and Jaisalmer, the
camel-hair, woolen darie too is available.

Unique themes and floral patterns provide the themes for these masterpieces
and flowers and leaves, buds and fruits are the essence of the designs. The
carpets and rugs woven at Bokhara are among the finest in the world and the
hand knotted ones posses from 125 to 500 knots per square inch.

The art of carpet weaving was acquired from the craftsmen of Afghanistan and
their products sell like hot cakes not only all over the country but also in
international markets. Recent day trends have impelled the weavers to create
custom made and contemporary designs instead of traditional ones.
In areas around Tonk, namdahs or felted rugs are manufactured.The embroidered
Namdahs or felted up rugs of Tonk are treasured souvenirs and have been in
constant demand by the tourists of the state.

Woollen fabrics have been made in north-western Rajasthan since very old times.
The industry arose as a result of poor agricultural lands and a dependence on the
rains, making animal husbandry the main stay. The need to shear wool off the
skins of their camels, sheep and goats, led to a cottage industry of spinning yarn
on indigenous spinning wheels, a job performed mostly by women. The woollen
yarn was then given to a weaver for weaving. The woven textile was dyed and
embroidered by the women. The weaving communities consisted of the Kolis,
Chamars and Meghwals.
Camel Girths

Ply-split braiding has been found extensively in Rajasthan and Gujarat, North
West India, where it has been used to make camel girths and animal regalia.
Perhaps the simplest form of textile structure found within the subcontinent is
that of the split ply camel girths of Rajasthan. Worked by hand without a loom,
these girths are simple, decorative and useful. The technique is also used to make
camel necklaces and pot carriers. The days of the absence of automobile life was
dramatic in Thar Desert region of western Rajasthan and would have been
insupportable without the domesticated camel. The whole of the Thar Desert is
the home to thousands of these animals and they are used to pull carts, to draw
water from wells, to plough the sandy fields, and as riding mounts and pack
animals. Vivamus magna orci, tincidunt scelerisque, sagittis commodo, ultrices
sed, nulla. Phasellus dui lectus, molestie qui s, molestie sed, tempus eu, nunc.
Vestibulum velit mi, vulputate

These girths are sometimes made up of cotton cord but more usually out of goat
hair, using a unique technique. The villager takes a bundle of specially prepared
goat hair (either black or white) and with a simple spindle spin out the yarn. The
yarn is doubled to make it two-ply. Four-ply yarn is required-for girth making, of
which each ply is two-ply, and taking a length of two-ply yarn, folding it in four
and then twisting it into a four-ply cord makes it strong. The four-ply yarn may be
either black or white, although one method of split-ply girth-making requires
four-ply that is half black and half white, in which case two white two-plys are
plied with two black two-plys. In every case, the final four-ply yarn is twisted very
tightly, as it will need to be much manipulated, twisted and untwisted. After
twisting, the four-ply yarn is soaked in water and then stretched out in the sun to
dry. This removes any kinks, opens up and thickens out the yarn, and sets the
over twist.

There are four basic pattern structures that can be formed using variations on this
technique. The resulting girths could be of a single color (usually black), have a
black-and-white diagonally checkered pattern, or alternating black-and-white
(horizontal waves).

There are four basic pattern structures that can be formed using variations on
this technique. The resulting girths could be of a single color (usually black), have
a black-and-white diagonally checkered pattern, or alternating black-and-white
(horizontal waves).

The dry four ply yarn is spooled on a spindle and the cords of one of the cords is
split open with the eye end of a large wooden needle and untwisted to a quarter
of a turn";" the next cord is threaded through the eye and is pulled back through
the first strand. The process is done along the row, and worked down, row by
row, where each individual cord reaches down and across the newly created
fabric on a diagonal line ending on the selvedge, finally creating a zigzag pattern.
There are standard variations in pattern which could either be monochrome,
chequered or a pattern in horizontal waves. The traditional girths are made from
goat hair yarn or sometimes cotton. Contemporary braid makers use a variety of
yarns including, linen, hemp, silk, paper, or rayon, often using a four-hook
cordwinder to make the cords. Having made the cords, the ply-splitting process is
very portable. A gripfid is frequently used for splitting the cords and drawing a
cord through the plies of one or more cords. Being an ‘off loom’ technique,
shapes may be made and combined to make more complex designs with the
potential for making pieces from fine neckpieces, bracelets etc, through to larger
vessels and sculptural works.

Ply-spltting is used as a way of splicing ropes,it is also the technical basis of a

whole range of fabrics chiefly made in Northwest India as accoutrements for
camels, but now gaining great popuarity as a craft in its own right. Just as threads
in weaving are held together by interlacing them, and in knitting by interlooping
them, so in ply-splitting fabrics they are held together by one thread splitting and
going right through another. This leads to fabrics of great strength (necessary in a
camel girth) but with the potential for designs of incredible beauty and endless
complexity. As with types of tablet weaving you can write words, reproduce any
motif, and all with no equipment except a latchet hook. No stretching of warp, no
beating up of weft, so it is utterly portable...makers in Rajasthan do it as they walk
about herding camels.

Khuri, a small Rajasthani desert village near Jaisalmer is another major center of
girth production. Many of the motifs are specific to a particular village, and that
they are meant to symbolise a variety of experiences associated with the rituals of
life and death.


Paithani is a varient of Traditional Sari, named after the Paithan village in

Aurangabad, Maharashtra state of India where these sari's where hand woven.
The art of weaving Paithani goes the way till 7th century B.C. during the Yadav
period (Sri Krishna's period), however
flourished in 200B.C., during Satvahana era.
Since then Paithani is coveted in India as a
precious heirloom passing on from
generation to generation. Exquisite silk from
Paithani was exported to many countries
and was traded in return for gold and
precious stones. Sheer dedication and the
faith of the weavers have kept alive Paithani
silk work for more than 2000 years. Intricate
designs on pallu and border is a specialty of Paithani Sarees. Motifs on pallu are
generally peacock, lotus, mango and other designs inspired from the world
famous Ajanta Caves, which are in the same district. Paithani saris were produced
only for sophisticated buyers. It evolved from a cotton base to a silk base. Silk was
used in weft designs and in the borders, whereas cotton was used in the body of
the fabric. Present day Paithani has no trace of cotton. Paithani Sarees can take
between 2 months to 1 year to manufacture, depending on border, pallu design
and the material used. A paithani would cost anywhere from Rs. 6000/- which
would have normal and less complex designs but can go up to Rs. 500000/- which
would not only have very rare and intricate designs but would also be woven with
real gold and silver threads. The fabric woven in traditional ways even after many
centuries is renowned as the “MAHAVASTRA” meaning "the great, royal fabric, fit
to be worn for one’s own wedding. No wonder then, it has long been an essential
piece in any girls wedding trousseau.


The motifs are traditional vines and flowers, shapes of fruit and stylized forms of
birds and the saree is often known by the motif that dominates its border or
pallav. There are various types of exquisite motifs.

 The Kamal or lotus flower on which Buddha sits or stands

 The Hans motif
 The Ashraffi motif
 The Asawalli (flowering vines), became very popular during the Peshwa's
 The Bangadi Mor, peacock in bangle
 The Tota-Maina
 The Humarparinda, peasant bird
 The Amar Vell
 The Narali motif, very commo

Small motifs like circles, stars, kuyri, rui phool, kalas pakhhli, chandrakor, clusters
of 3 leaves, were very common for the body of the sari.

Paithani Colors

The modern technology has brought in a lot of progress in dyeing technology and
variations in colors, however the Traditional Paithani colors were produced from
vegetable dyes.
 Pophali - yellow
 Red
 Lavender
 Purple
 Neeligunji - sky blue
 Magenta
 Motiya - peach pink
 Brinjal - purple
 Pearl pink
 Peacock - blue/green
 Yellowish green
 Kusumbi - violet red
 Pasila - red and green
 Gujri - black and white
 Mirani - black and red


It took approximately 1 day to set the silk threads on the loom. "Tansal" is used to
put the "wagi". The "pavda" works
like the paddle to speed up the
weaving. The "jhatka" is used to push
the "kandi" from one side to the
other. "Pushthe" is used in designing
the border of Paithani in which it is
punched according to design
application. "Pagey" are tied to the
loom. The threads are then passed
through "fani". There are two types
of motion:
Primary motions:

 Shedding - dividing the warp sheet or shed into two layers, one above the
other for the passage of shuttle with the weft threads.
 Picking - passing a pick of weft from one selvedge of a cloth through the
warp threads.
 Beating - dividing the last pick through the fell of cloth with the help of slay
fixed on the reel.

Secondary motions:

 Take up motion - taking up the cloth when being woven and winding it on
the roller.
 Let off motion - letting the warp wound on a warp beam, when the cloth is
taken up on the cloth roller beam. Taking up and letting off the warp are
done simultaneously.


Paithani saris are silks in which there is no extra weft forming figures. The figuring
weave was obtained by a plain tapestry technique. There are three techniques of

 Split tapestry weave - the

simplest weave where two
weft threads are woven up to
adjacent warp threads and
then reversed. The warp
threads are then cut and
retied to a different colour.
 Interlocking method - two
wefts are interlocked with each other where the colour change is required.
The figuring weft is made of a number of coloured threads, weaving plain
with warp threads and interlocked on either side with the grounds weft
threads are invariably gold threads which interlock with the figure weft
threads, thus forming the figure. This system of interlocking weaves, known
as kadiyal, is done so that there are no extra floats on the back of the motif
thus making the design nearly reversible.
 Dobe-tailing method - two threads go around the same warp, one above
the other, creating a dobe-tailing or tooth-comb effect.

Weaving could take between 18 to 24 months, depending upon the complexity

of the design. Today there are many weavers who are working for the revival
of this treasured weave.

Types of Paithani

Paithani can be classified by three criteria: motifs, weaving, and colours.

Classification by motif:

 Bangadi Mor - the

word bangadi means bangle
and mor means peacock.
So bangadi mor means a
peacock in a bangle or in a
bangle shape. The motif is
woven onto the pallu, the
design sometimes having a single dancing peacock. The saris using this
motif are very expensive because of the design.
 Munia brocade - The word munia means parrot. Parrots are woven on the
pallu as well as in border. Parrots are always in leaf green colour. The
parrots in silk are also called tota-maina.
 Lotus brocade - lotus motifs are used in pallu and sometimes on the border.
The lotus motif consists of 7-8 colours.
Classification by weaving:

 Kadiyal border sari - the word kadiyal means interlocking. The warp and the
weft of the border are of the same colour while the body has different
colours for warp and weft.
 Kad/Ekdhoti - a single shuttle is used for weaving of weft. The colours of the
warp yarn are different from that of the weft yarn. It has a narali border
and simple buttis like paisa, watana, etc. Kad is also a form of lungi and is
used by male Maharashtrians.

Classification by colour:

 Kalichandrakala - pure black sari with red border.

 Raghu - parrot green coloured sari.
 Shirodak - pure white sari.


Of the myriad varieties of textiles for which India was famous over much of
Europe and Asia from at least the time of the Roman Empire, the Kashmir shawl
stands out as the only woollen one. Although its precise origin is lost in a haze of
myth and legend, it is safe to say that it grew out of a unique combination: a
superlatively fine fiber plus the highly developed set of skills necessary to work
the fiber. Or, as a nineteenth-century government report put it, “It is impossible
not to admire the felicitous conjunction, in the same region, of a natural product
so valuable and of workmen so artistic.” The raw material of the Kashmir shawl,
known in the West as “cashmere,” is called pashm in India, and the fabric woven
from it pashmina. It is the warm soft undercoat grown by goats herded on the
high-altitude plateaus of Tibet and Ladakh as protection against the bitter winter
cold. Combed out by their herders at the onset of summer, for centuries the
entire clip was sent down in a series of complex trading operations to Kashmir,
the only place whose craftspeople had developed the skills necessary to process

In the 1820s it was estimated that between 121,000–242,000 pounds (55,000–

110,000 kilograms) a year reached Srinagar, to be
made up into some 80,000 to 100,000 shawl
pieces. The very finest shawls were woven from
toosh, a similar but even finer material produced
by the Tibetan antelope or chiru, an
undomesticated species. Although the precious
wool has always been procured by slaughtering the
chiru, the amount consumed was negligible,
probably less than 1,100 pounds (500 kilograms)
a year, insufficient to make a dent in a population
estimated in the millions. By the early twenty-first
century,however, the situation had changed; wholesale slaughter in the late
twentieth century brought the chiru population down to a few thousand. It is
recognized as an endangered species, and trade in its products is banned.

Manufacturing of Shawls

The transformation of the raw pashm, a mass of greasy fibers, into a fabric
renowned for its fineness involved a series of processes. The shawl entrepreneur
supplied the pashm in its raw state to women who, in the seclusion of their
homes, undertook the painstaking and laborious task of removing the coarse
outer hairs from the fleece;they then cleaned it with rice-flour paste, and spun it
on wheels similar to those used everywhere in India. The skill of spinning such
delicate fiber was passed down over generations from mother to daughter.
Meanwhile the entrepreneur had employed a patterndrawer to design the
pattern of the proposed fabric. The pattern was passed to a color-master who
filled in the colors, and finally to a skilled scribe who reduced the colored pattern
to a shorthand form known as talim, which enabled a complex pattern to be
recorded on quite a small piece of paper. The dyer then dyed the spun yarn in the
required colors. Other workers prepared
the warp and fixed it to the loom; only
then did the actual weaving begin. The
classic Kashmir shawl employs a weave
technically known as 2:2 twill tapestry,
which is unique to this product. Tapestry
implies that the design is woven into the
very structure of the fabric; the weft is
inserted not by a shuttle,but by a series of
small bobbins filled with various
colored yarns. Depending on the
complexity of the design, one line of the
weft may involve dozens or scores of such

In Kashmir the technique is known as kani or tilikar,referring to different names

for the bobbins is an ancient textile technique, practiced in different areas all over
the world in a plain weave, in which the weft passes alternately over and under
one warp-thread at a time.

It was only in Kashmir, however—and to some extent in Iran—that shawl weavers

used a twill weave for tapestry, in which the weft passes over and under
two warp-threads at a time, the pairing of the warps changing with every line of
the weft. It is presumed that this modification was adopted to minimize the strain
on the delicate pashmina warp-threads.

Fabrics woven in twill exhibit a characteristic very fine diagonal rib, which enlivens
the finished pattern. The borders were often woven on a silk warp, to strengthen
the shawl’s edging, and sometimes on a separate loom, being attached to the
main body, with almost invisible seams, by the rafugar, or needleworker.The
creation of intricate patterns in tapestry requires an extraordinary level of manual
dexterity, though in the case of shawls this was exercised with no scope for
creativity,rather in mechanical response to the instructions read out from the
talim by the master weaver.
The shawl weavers were bonded to their employers by a system of perpetual
debt, paid barely enough to sustain them and,on top of that, were taxed to the
limit by the government.The rooms where they worked were often dimly lit
and badly ventilated, and it was said that a weaver could be distinguished by the
pallor of his face, his sickly physique, and above all, his delicate hands.

Tapestry weaving is a highly laborious and time consuming technique, and by the
middle of the nineteenth century, as the
designs became ever more elaborate,
particularly fine shawls took months and
even years to complete.

Accordingly, the manufacturers adopted

two distinct methods of speeding up
production, both exploiting the skills of
the rafugar. On the one hand,not only the
borders, but also the main bodies of
the shawls began to be woven in pieces—
sometimes literally hundreds, for
elaborate all-over patterns—using
several looms. It was the rafugar’s job to
join these with seams so fine that only the expert eye can discern them. The
other method was to abandon the twill-tapestry technique altogether, the
rafugar’s skill being applied to the creation of patterns by embroidery in silk on
plain pashmina fabric.Th word “shawl” originally referred not so much to
a garment as to a fabric, and the long shoulder mantle—in India originally worn
by men—was only one of many varieties of shawl-goods.

Shoulder mantles were woven in pairs, and often stitched together back-to-back;
they were called do-shala. Square items, qasaba or rumal, were made for
women’s wear, and long narrow ones, patka or shamla,for men’s sashes. Lengths
of shawl fabric in all-over designs, jamawar, were intended to be tailored into
men’s coats ( jama). Apart from these four main categories, about twenty-five
varieties of shawl-goods were produced, including turbans, stockings, horses’ and
elephants’ saddlecloths, carpets, curtains and other kinds of hangings,
bedspreads, and shrouds for tombs.

Shawls Design

The earliest extant shawl fragments, probably from the mid- to late seventeenth
century, have the two ends decorated with a simple and elegant repeated design
of single flowering plants—a favorite motif of Mughal decorative art from about
the 1620s—enclosed in a floral meander. Gradually the single flower evolved into
a bouquet, or a flowering bush (buta), assuming a cone shape, typically with
the topmost bloom inclined to one side. In the later eighteenth century the plain
background acquired a sprinkling of small flowers; by the 1820s, as this grew
denser and more elaborate, it necessitated an outline to emphasize the main
motif. Thus emerged the quintessential theme of shawl design, the bent-tip buta,
which later became known as the “paisley,” after the town in Scotland whose
weavers, in the mid-nineteenth century, cornered the British market for imitation
Kashmir shawls. This perennially popular design motif, noticed on objects as
diverse as nineteenth-century buckles in Cyprus and contemporary coffee mugs in
Scotland, to say nothing of fabrics for all sorts of uses, may be regarded as
Kashmir’s gift to the world.The bent-tip buta found expression in myriad
forms, often incorporated into other design formats, of which the most common
were flower-filled stripes—especially for jamawar—and roundels. Square shawls
often had a large floral medallion in the center, with quarter-circles in the
four corners. They are known as chand-dar, or moon shawls.

As the nineteenth century progressed, the patterns on the shawl’s ornamented

ends became increasingly complex, and also larger, often invading the central
field entirely, leaving no empty space at all. At the same time,
French manufacturers were adapting and developing Kashmiri design for their
own Jacquard-woven shawls, while sending such modified designs to be made up
in Kashmir. The resulting elaborate and fanciful shawls represented
an astonishing degree of technical virtuosity. Today’s embroidered shawls are
made up the whole gamut of traditional designs, modified only by the difference
in technique.

History of the Kashmiri Shawls

The earliest explicit documentation of the Kashmir shawl comes in the late
sixteenth century in the Aini-Akbari, a
comprehensive description of the
Mughal Empire in the time of the emperor
Akbar. The Ain, however, is clearly referring to
an already mature industry, which must have
been flourishing for decades if not centuries.
Kashmiri tradition attributes its origin to
the great fifteenth-century sultan, Zain-ul-
Abdin, who is said to have encouraged the
immigration of textile workers from abroad,
possibly from Iran and central Asia.
For over two centuries Kashmir shawls and
shawl goods were an essential element of the Indian royal and aristocratic
lifestyle. Demand was such that by the middle of the eighteenth century there
were said to be 40,000 shawl looms in and around Srinagar. In 1752 Kashmir was
wrested from the Mughals by the Afghans, who ruled until 1819. They, and the
Sikh and Dogra governments that followed, imposed such heavy taxes that in the
1820s the revenue to the state from the shawl-weaving industry was greater than
that from all other sources combined. As a result of these exactions the number
of looms fell, and those weavers who could escape from the serflike
conditions under which they were employed emigrated to the Punjab and
elsewhere in North India.

Even so, according to a report in the early 1820s, at least 130,000 people were
working in the industry, while the value of shawls exported was about 60 lakhs (6
million) rupees. Shawls were commissioned in designs according to the demands
of different markets. As well as plains India, many Asian countries also imported
Kashmir shawlgoods from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century. They are
mentioned in Ottoman customs records as early as 1624. Jamawar was popular in
Iran, while both there and in the Ottoman Empire shawls were part of men’s
wear, worn as turbans, or around the waist as sashes.

Even distant Egypt imported shawl-goods; they were admired by officers of

Napoleon Bonaparte’s army in 1798, some of
them purchasing shawls to take home as gifts.
The Empress Josephine’s passion for shawls set
an enduring fashion in France. They had already
entered the fashion scene in Britain around
1780, brought home by returning officers of the
East India Company, and were regularly
imported from the beginning of the
nineteenth century. Over the next seventy years,
export to Europe became the mainstay of the
industry. At the same time, flourishing industries
in “imitation Indian shawls’ sprang up in both
France and Great Britain; in fact, the Jacquard loom was invented as an attempt
to reproduce the intricacies of Kashmir design by mechanical means. Decline and
revival. The decline of the kani shawl in the last decades of the nineteenth
century is often attributed to changes in European fashion; but the story is more

Social and political shifts in India and elsewhere in Asia led to erosion of the
luxurious lifestyles of elites; as they started to adopt Western fashions, the shawl
became irrelevant. By the early twentieth century, reduction in demand had led
to the almost complete disappearance of kani work. The industry was kept alive
by increased production of embroidered shawls, which came to be considered an
essential accessory to the winter wardrobe of middle-class women in north
India.Remarkably, however, in the early years of the twentyfirst century there are
indications of a purposeful revival of the kani shawl. The development of a
wealthy business class in India, especially after the economic reforms of the
1990s, created a market for such highly priced luxury goods, in response to which
some astute Kashmiri shawlmakers have initiated the resuscitation of
almost extinct skills. Thus, despite political upheavals, Kashmir’s craftspeople—
the designer, the spinner, the plain weaver,the rafugar and now once again the
kani weaver—continue to keep alive the region’s tradition of
manufacturing textiles of unparalleled delicacy and beauty.


Records show that as far back as the 12th century, several centers in the south,
on the western and eastern coasts of India became renowned for their excellent
printed cotton. On the southeastern coast the brush or kalam (pen) was used, and
the resist applied by the same method. In the
medieval age printing and dyeing of cottons
was specially developed in Rajasthan. In
Gujarat the use of wooden blocks for printing
was more common. Tents were made from
printed fabrics and soon they became
necessary part of royal processions. The
seasons largely influenced the integration of
the highly creative processes of weaving, spinning, dyeing and printing. Festivals
also dictated this activity. Block printing is a special form of printing first
developed in China. The earliest known example with an actual date is a copy of
the Diamond Sutra from 868 A.D (currently in the British Museum), though the
practice of block printing is probably about two thousand years old
Trade in cotton cloth is said to have existed between India and Babylon from
Buddha's time. Printed and woven cloths traveled to Indonesia, Malaya and the
Far East. In the 17th century, Surat was established as a prominent center for
export of painted and printed calicos, covering an extensive range in quality.
Cheaper printed cloth came from Ahmedabad and other centers, and strangely
enough Sanganer was not such a famous center for printing as it is today.
Printing process

The first step in block printing is the production of the original document. This is
laid on a large, smooth wooden block and fixed into
place, reversed. Next, craftsmen of various skill levels,
ranging from master carvers for the fine work to less
talented artisans for cheaper blocks or less important
sections, carve the original painted, drawn or written
image into the block of wood. The block can now be
covered with ink and used in a press to create duplicates
of the original. In some ways block printing is superior to
cast type or moveable type -- for a language such as Chinese which has a very
broad character set, block prints are much cheaper to produce for the initial run.
The process also allows greater artistic freedom, such
as the easy inclusion of pictures and diagrams.
However, printing blocks are not very durable, and
deteriorate very rapidly with use, requiring constant
replacement that limits the possibility of large-scale
print runs. Printing blocks can, however, be made
from a variety of materials such as wood, linoleum,
rubber, or even potatoes.
Block Printing in Gujarat

In Gujarat, this form of hand Printing has been practiced and perpetuated by the
Paithapur families. They make intricate blocks, and print their textiles using the
mud resist-Printing method. These prints are called Sodagiri (trader) prints. In
Kutch, the popular patterns are
black and red designs of birds,
animals, and dancing girls. The
saris of Ahmedabad and Baroda
have large mango patterns against
a red or blue background. The
other well known centers for
block printing in Gujarat are
Bhavnagar, Vasna, Rajkot,
Jamnagar, Jetpur and Porbandar.
Dhamadka a village in Gujarat has
many printers using mostly madder root for printing red color, rusty iron solution
for black color and indigo for blue color. These fabrics are known as Ajrakh. The
designs made by block printing are geometric. Many states have block-printing
workshops using chemical dyes. However there are only small pockets of areas
still using natural dyeing with age-old recipes and local plant material.

Block Printing in Rajasthan

From Gujarat, the art of block Printing spread to Rajasthan. Here colorful prints of
birds, animals, human figures, gods and goddesses are popular. The important
centers are Jaipur, Bangru, Sanganer,Pali and Barmer. Sanganer is famous for its
Calico printed bed covers, quilts and saris. In form of hand Printing are Calico
Printing, the outlines are first printed, and then the color is filled in. Bold patterns
and colors are popular. They are printed repeatedly in diagonal rows. Doo Rookhi
Printing is also famous here. In this technique, artists print on both sides of the
cloth. Bagru is famous for its Syahi-Begar prints and Dabu prints. The former are
designs in a combination of black and yellow ochre or cream. The latter are prints
in which portions are hidden from the dye by applying a resist paste. Barmer is
known for its prints of red chilies with blue-black outlines, surrounded by flower-
laden trees. The other famous prints are of horses, camels, peacocks and lions,
called Sikar and Shekahawat prints.

Block Printing in Punjab

The block printing from Punjab is not as famous as its Rajasthani counterpart, but
is still merit worthy. It was the art of a group of textile workers called Chhimba .
The designs were usually floral and geometrical. Today, traditional designs have
been displaced, and vegetable dyes have been replaced by chemical ones. The
colors are light and pastel. The motifs are usually mangoes, peacocks and nets.

Block Printings of Andhra Pradesh

In Andhra Pradesh, the block printing method is applied in the creation of the
exquisite Kalamkari Printing. The two major centers of Kalamkari art are Sri
Kalahasti and Masulipatnam. Masuliputnam in Andhra Pradesh is the main centre
of block printing where the fabric is known as Kalamkari. The cloth used generally
is mill made cotton, which is first bleached with cow dung and placed in the sun.
The next step is to soak the cloth in a mixture of Myrobalan and milk. The
Myrobalan contains tannic acid and acts as a mordant helping the dyestuffs to
bond with the fibre.

The buffalo milk, having high fat content, helps prevent the dye from running.
Then the black outline is printed using a solution made with rusty iron soaked in
sugar water and bran for several weeks. When the solution comes in contact with
the Myrobalan it turns black. The next step is printing by mordant, alum.

This bonds the red dye, Madder Root, after boiling, to the areas that receive the
alum. These steps continue until all colors have been printed or brushed on. It is
crucial to have a good water supply for washing after printing. It takes weeks to
complete all these steps.
Method and equipments used in Hand Block printing

This process, though considered by some to be the most artistic, is the earliest,
simplest and slowest of all methods of
printing. The blocks may be made of box,
lime, holly, sycamore, plane or pear wood,
the latter three being most generally
employed. They vary in size considerably,
but must always be between two and three
inches thick, otherwise they are liable to
warping, which is additionally guarded
against by backing the wood chosen with two or more pieces of cheaper wood,
such as deal or pine. The several pieces or blocks are tongued and grooved to fit
each other, and are then securely glued together, under pressure, into one solid
block with the grain of each alternate piece running in a different direction.

The block, being planned quite smooth and perfectly flat, next has the design
drawn upon, or
transferred to it. This
latter is effected by
rubbing off, upon its
flat surface, a tracing
in lampblack and oil,
of the outlines of the
masses of the design.
The portions to be left in relief are then tinted, between
their outlines, an ammonia-cal carmine or magenta, for the
purpose of distinguishing them from those portions that
have to be cut away. As a separate block is required for each
distinct color in the design, a separate tracing must be made
of each and transferred (or put on as it a termed) to its own special block. Having
thus received a tracing of the pattern the block is thoroughly damped and kept in
this condition by being covered with wet cloths during the whole process of
The blockcutter commences by carving out the wood around the heavier masses
first, leaving the finer and more delicate work until the last so as to avoid any risk
of injuring it during the cutting of the coarser parts. When large masses of color
occur in a pattern, the corresponding parts on the block are usually cut in outline,
the object being filled in between the outlines with felt, which not only absorbs
the color better, but gives a much more even impression than it is possible to
obtain with a large surface of wood. When finished, the block presents the
appearance of flat relief carving, the design standing out like letterpress type.

Fine details are very difficult to cut in wood, and, even when successfully cut,
wear down very rapidly or break off in printing. They are therefore almost
invariably built up in strips of brass or copper, bent to shape and driven edgewise
into the flat surface of the block. This method is known as coppering, and by its
means many delicate little forms, such as stars, rosettes and fine spots can be
printed, which would otherwise be quite impossible to produce by hand or
machine block printing. Frequently, too, the process of coppering is used for the
purpose of making a mold, from which an entire block can be made and
duplicated as often as desired, by casting. In this case the metal strips are driven
to a predetermined depth into the face of a piece of lime-wood cut across the
grain, and, when the whole design is completed in this way, the block is placed,
metal face downwards in a tray of molten type-metal or solder, which transmits
sufficient heat to the inserted portions of the strips of copper to enable them to
carbonize the wood immediately in contact with them and, at the same time,
firmly attaches itself to the outstanding portions.

When cold a slight tap with a hammer on the back of the lime wood block easily
detaches the cake of the type-metal or alloy and along with it, of course, the
strips of copper to which it is firmly soldered, leaving a matrix, or mold, in wood
of the original design.

The casting is made in an alloy of low melting-point, anti, after cooling, is filed or
ground until all its projections are of the same height and perfectly smooth, after
which it is screwed on to a wooden support and is ready for printing. Similar
molds are also made by burning out the lines of the pattern with a red-hot steel
punch, capable of being raised or lowered at will, and under which the block is
moved about by hand along the lines of the pattern. In addition to the engraved
block, a printing table and color sieve are required. The table consists of a stout
framework of wood or iron supporting a thick slab of stone varying in size
according to the width of cloth to be printed. Over the stone table top a thick
piece of woolen printers blanket is tightly stretched to supply the elasticity
necessary to give the block every chance of making a good impression on the

At one end, the table is provided with a couple of iron brackets to carry the roll of
cloth to be printed and, at the other, a series of guide rollers, extending to the
ceiling, are arranged for the purpose of suspending and drying the newly printed
goods. The color sieve consists of a tub (known as the swimming tub) half filled
with starch paste, On the surface of which floats a frame covered at the bottom
with a tightly stretched piece Of mackintosh or oiled calico. On this the color sieve
proper, a frame similar to, the last but covered with fine woolen cloth, is placed,
and forms when in position a sort of elastic color trough over the bottom of which
the color is spread evenly with a brush.

The modus operandi of printing is as follows:

The printer commences by drawing a length of cloth, from the roll, over the table,
and marks it with a piece of colored chalk arid a ruler to indicate where the first
impression of the block is to be applied.

He then applies his block in two different directions to the color on the sieve and
finally presses it firmly and steadily on the cloth, ensuring a good impression by
striking it smartly on the back with a wooden mallet. The second impression is
made in the same way, the printer taking care to see that it fits exactly to the first,
a point which he can make sure of by means of the pins with which the blocks are
provided at each corner and which are arranged in such a way that when those at
the right side or at the top of the block fall upon those at the left side or the
bottom of the previous impression the two printings join up exactly and continue
the pattern without a break. Each succeeding impression is made in precisely the
same manner until the length of cloth on the table is fully printed. When this is
done it is wound over the drying rollers, thus bringing forward a fresh length to be
treated similarly. If the pattern contains several colors the cloth is usually first
printed throughout with one, then dried, re-wound and printed with the second,
the same operations being repeated until all the colors are printed.

Many modifications of block printing have been tried from time to time, but of
these only two tobying and rainbowing are of any practical value. The object of
tobey printing is to print the several colors of a multicolor pattern at one
operation and for this purpose a block with the whole of the pattern cut upon it,
and a specially constructed color sieve are employed.

The sieve consists of a thick block of wood, on one side of which a series of
compartments are hollowed out, corresponding roughly in shape, size and
position to the various objects cut on the block.

The tops of the dividing walls of these compartments are then coated with melted
pitch, and a piece of fine woolen cloth is stretched over the whole and pressed
well down on the pitch so as to adhere firmly to the top of each wall; finally a
piece of string soaked in pitch is cemented over the woolen cloth along the lines
of the dividing walls, and after boring a hole through the bottom of each
compartment the sieve is ready for use. In operation each compartment is filled
with its special color through a pipe connecting it with a color box situated at the
side of the sieve and a little above it, so as to exert just sufficient pressure on the
color to force it gently through the woolen cloth, but not enough to cause it to
overflow its proper limits, formed by the pitch-soaked string boundary lines.

The block is then carefully pressed on the sieve, and, as the different parts of its
pattern fall on different parts of the sieve, each takes up a certain color that it
transfers to the cloth in the usual way. By this method of tobying from two to six
colors may be printed at one operation, but it is obvious that it is only applicable
to patterns where the different colored objects are placed at some little distance
apart, and that, therefore, it is of but limited application. Block printing by hand is
a slow process~ it is, however, capable of yielding highly artistic results, some of
which are unobtainable by any other means, and it is, therefore, still largely
practiced for the highest class of work in certain styles.

The art of making natural dyes is one of the oldest known to human. In India, it
was used for colouring fabric and other materials. Though the very earliest dyes
were discovered by accident using berries and fruits, with experimentation and
gradual development the vegetable dyes have resulted into a highly refined art.


India's expertise in natural and vegetable dyes dates back to ancient times. The
Veda, India's most revered scriptures, refer to the tinctorial properties of several
dyestuff using centuries ago. There are also references to dyes and their use in
the "Arthasastra of Kautilya. Later works confirm that the weaving and printing on
fine textile were part of a continuous tradition. The cave painting of Ajanta bears
testimony to the use of printed and dyed costumes nearly 1400 years ago. The
use of mordanted cotton yarn and fabric found in Indus valley site of
Mohenjodaro. The Indian craftsman's knowledge of the technology of mordants
and its use in textiles remained a closely guarded secret for a long time. India had
a virtual monopoly in the production of dyed painted and printed textiles. From
15th to 19th century, block printed resist dyed textile from Gujarat and Deccan
adorned Europeans and their homes. The discovery of chemical dyes in the west
in 19th century dealt a massive blow the Indian textile industry. There was a
gradual decline in the use of natural dyes which were more expensive and more
difficult to use in comparison to chemical dyes. Today there are only few areas
where natural dyes are still used.

Bagru near Jaipur in Rajasthan (India) is one of them. However in those areas
though craft persons are applying old methods but using chemical dyes with
natural dyes. Chemical dyes are associated with hazards effecting human life,
creating skin diseases and lungs problems. Environmentalists, therefore, started
searching for substitutes of chemical items which led to the increase in use of
natural dyes. Natural dyes are eco friendly, biodegradable, and non–carcinogenic.
These are soft and low toxic colors and generally non allergic.

Basic sources of natural & vegetable dye are parts of plants such as leaves,
flowers, fruits, seeds, barks & roots of dye yielding plants, Minerals as Prussian
blue, red ochre and ultramarine blue; Animal origins such as lac, cochineal
(indrogopa) and kermes.

Detail of dyes normally used for dyers & printing are as follows:


It is extracted from Lacifer Lacca insects. It is used for dyeing of wool, silk and
cotton fiber base fabric. It gives reddish shades with tin mordant and purplish
shades with copper mordant. Different shades like olive green, ruby red,
amethyst, yellow, black, purple, steel grey etc can be obtained by using various
mordants. Forest area nearby Ranchi has major producing centre for this dye. The
colour obtained exhibit good light, wash and rubbing fastness.

Harda (Black Myrobalan)

It is prepared from fruit of Harda. It yields yellow and grey shades with aluminum
and ferrous mordants respectively. It is used for dyeing of wool and silk and
cotton fiber base fabrics. Botanical name is terminlia chebula. This is also a
natural mordant. Forest area nearby Goa, Konkan is major producing centre for
this dye.

Himalayan Rhubard

It is prepared from a Himalayan shrub. The roots of this plant are used for dye. It
gives yellow and orange shades. It can be used directly and with alum mordant on
wool and silk fiber base fabrics, Botanical name is Rhumemodin. The colours
obtained exhibit good light, wash & rubbing fastness.

Indigo blue

It is a fermented dye of leaves of indigo ferra tinctoria. It gives blue shades. It can
dye cotton, wool and silk fiber base fabrics.This is one of the most ancient natural
dyes used by humans in textile. The colours obtained exhibit average light, wash
& rubbing fastness.

Kamala dye

It is prepared from the deposit on the flowers of the kamala tree. It gives yellow
shades on wool and silk fiber base fabrics. It can be used directly or with mordant
also. The colours obtained exhibit average light, wash & rubbing fastness.

Indigo blue

It is a fermented dye of leaves of indigo ferra tinctoria. It gives blue shades. It can
dye cotton, wool and silk fiber base fabrics.This is one of the most ancient natural
dyes used by humans in textile. The colours obtained exhibit average light, wash
& rubbing fastness.

Manju phal

It is prepared from the nut galls of Manju Phal tree. It is used for dyeing of silk and
wool fiber base fabrics both directly or with mordant. It gives cream and grey
shades with alum and iron mordant. Botanical name is Quercus Infectoria Oliver.
The colours obtained exhibit average light, wash & rubbing fastness.

Catechu (Kikar, Babul)

It is extracted from the bark of Indian gum Arabic tree. It is used for dyeing of
cotton fabrics with mordants. It yields brown, yellow, grey and black shade. It is
having very good fastness. Other local names are Kala Kaththa, Khair, Taeja and
Cutch. Botanical name is Acacia Catechu.The colour obtained exhibit very good
light, wash & rubbing fastness.

Pomegranate ( Anar, Darim)

The dye is extracted from its fruit rind. The shades obtained exhibit good fastness
to washing rubbing and light. It gives yellow colour shades. Its local name is Anar.
Botanical name is Punica Granatum.

It gives red, pink and orange shades .The colours obtained exhibit good fastness
to washing rubbing and light. Local names are Madder, Manjistha, Majith, and
Mangito. Botanical name is rubia cardifolia (Indian madder) rubia tinctoria
(European madder).


It is obtained from ground up roots of Indian Madder (Rubia Tinctorum). It yields

pink, red and purple shades with good colour fastness. .It is also one of the oldest
natural dyes

Walnut (Akhrot)

Bark of Akhrot tree is used for the dye. This yields brown shade with good
fastness. It is used for dyeing of silk and wool fiber base fabrics. Botanical name is
Juglano Regia. Forest area nearby Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh are
major producing centre for this dye.

Al (Ali Ki Lakdi)

The dye is extracted from root bark and roots of the Al tree. The colour obtained
exhibit good fastness to washing rubbing and light. It gives pink/red shades. Its
local name is Al Ki Lakdi. Botanical name is Morinda Tinctoria Roxb.

Mali (Tamarind Tree)

The dye is extracted from leaves, wood ash and fruit of the Tamarind tree. It is
used as dye fixer. Botanical name is Tamarinddus Indica. It is freely available in

Arjun (White Murdah)

The dye is extracted from bark of the Arjuna tree. It yields Red /Pink shades with
average fastness. Botanical name is Terminalia Arjuna.
Forest area nearby Bihar, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh and west Bengal are major
producing centre for this dye.

Dhaura Ka Fool

The dye is extracted from flower of the Dhaura tree. It yields Red /Pink/brown
shades with good fastness. Botanical name is Woodfordia Floribunda.


Very Few natural dyes are colour fast with fibers. Mordants are substances which
are used to fix a dye to the fibers. They also improve the take up quality of the
fiber and help improve colour and light fastness.

Mordants that are generally used-

 Alum Mordant
 Copper Mordant
 Chrome Mordant
 Tin Mordant
 Iron Mordant

These mordants create different shades with combination of natural dyes.


The weavers of the village of Salawas belong to the Prajapati caste. Although
their main source of income was agriculture, they also practiced pottery and the
weaving of jatpatti rugs. These plain wefts faced durries woven with coarse goat
or camel hair derives their name from jhat, literally meaning haste, with which
they could be executed.

The jatpatti were initially used as coverings for domestic animals during winters,
as saddle bags, as filters for oil mills and for making tents. The traditionally used
animal hair was replaced with cotton fiber in 1977 and these durries began to be
sold to a small segment of the domestic market. The craftsmen began
experimenting with stripes, geometrical and stylized natural forms such as the
kangasi (comb), teer (arrow head), tota (parrot), chidia (sparrow) and chaukadi

Variously colored yarns are laboriously individually inserted to create these forms,
thus also ensuring that the durries is reversible. As these durries acquired
recognition they came to be known as panja durries due to the use of the panja,a
comb -like beating tool.


 Gandha-large floor
 covering
 Aatariya-animal cover for winters
 Jhul-cart enclosure
 Bora-cloth for large sack


 Horizontal floor loom

 Panja-metal comb
 Churri-knife
 Suaa-needle
 Kainchi-scissor
 Temple to maintain width

Raw material

 Woven in goat hair warp

 Weft of camel hair
 Sheep wool

Jawaja Dari

Probably the lesser known offspring of Artisans' Alliance, Jawaja, the durries of
Beawar, Rajasthan, are no less than the leather craft of this 35 year old
association. Durrie, the Indian counterpart of the carpet, is a non-pile rug that has
its own unique colours, patterns and materials in different regions across the
country. Just a few kilometers from Beawar, is the village of Beawar-Khas, where
weavers of the Jawaja association make the characteristic thick and bright durries
on their looms at home.

Weaving has been a traditional profession of the people of this village; craftsmen
used to weave clothing fabric for local use. As attractive and cheaper synthetic
fabrics started replacing the local handloom ones, the weavers needed another
source of income, with the skills they had. With the formation of the association,
they learnt how to make durries, which would be more profitable and have a
wider reach.

Jawaja durries are typically thicker than other rugs, with the use of strong and
thicker yarns for weaving. Craftsmen source cotton, wool and jute yarns from the
nearby town of Beawar and prepare the warp and bobbins at home. While
bobbins are wound with a Charkha, the loom does not consume any electricity
either. Once on the loom, an average sized durrie of about 4' x 6' may take two to
three days for completion.

The characteristic striped and geometric patterns are part of the emergence and
evolution of this craft. Flaming oranges and magenta translated on to durries,
from their own odhanis and turbans, bright blues and greens, to counter the lack
of it in the surroundings, and subtle harmonies of warm greys of undyed wool are
all found in these durries.

Wool carpets to keep warm in the biting cold winter of the north, comfortable
cotton for the humid south and jute for strength, each material is woven,
sometimes mixed, can spoil everyone for choice.

Although the lure of city jobs takes youngsters away from traditional crafts,
weavers who once provided for local needs, now send their beautiful hand-woven
creations to decorate homes all over the world.

'Jamdani' is a heritage handloom product of Bengal handloom.


Word 'Jamdani' - derived from a "PERSION" word 'JAM' meaning a 'cup' and
'DANI' denotes the ‘container’.

The origin of the word Jamdani is uncertain. According to a popular version, it

came from the Persian words jama (cloth)
and dana (diapering). In other words Jamdani basically
denotes diapered cloth. Another version holds that in
Persian the word jam meaning flower and dani a vase or
container. The "Mughals" recognized this excellence,
acknowledged its rarity. During the region of Emperor Jahangir and Aurangjeb,
the manufacturer of finer Jamdani was a rare product and a royal monopoly.
Trading accounts reveal how the Jamdani travelled to the courts of the Mughals in
the 15th - 16th century period. For the Mughals it was fashioned into elaborate
angarkhas (upper garment/shirt) worn by both men and women; it also travelled
from Dhaka through Agra, to Bukhara, Samarkand and other parts of West Asia.

After the "Mughals" Jamdanis were continued to develop under the patronage of
'Nawabs' Wajid Ali Shah of Tanda and Nawabs of Dacca (presently under

The weavers of Dacca were expert in Jamdani known as 'Daccai Jamdani' for
producing mainly sarees and dress
materials. While the weavers of
"Tanda" and "Varanasi" in Awadh
were experts in weaving of 'Awadh
Jamdani' for producing mainly sarees,
dress materials, handkerchiefs, Ornas, caps, table cover etc.

The earliest mention of Jamdani and its development as an industry is to be found

in Kautilya's Arthashashtra (book of economics) wherein it is stated that this fine
cloth used to be made in Bengal and Pundra (parts of modern Bangladesh).
Jamdani is also mentioned in the book of Periplus of the Eritrean Sea and in the
accounts of Arab, Chinese and Italian travelers and traders.


The base fabric for Jamdani is unbleached cotton yarn and the design is woven
using bleached cotton yarns so that a light-and-dark
effect is created. Alexander the Great in 327 B.C mentions
“beautiful printed cottons” in India. It is believed that the
erstwhile Roman emperors paid fabulous sums for the
prized Indian cotton.

The dominant feature of the jamdani is its magnificent design which is essentially
Persian in spirit. The method of weaving resembles
tapestry work in which small shuttles of coloured, gold or
silver threads, are passed through the weft.
The jamdani dexterously combines intricate surface
designs with delicate floral sprays. When the surface is
covered with superb diagonally striped floral sprays, the
sari is called terchha. The anchal (the portion that goes over and beyond the
shoulder) is often decorated with dangling, tassel like corner motifs, known
as jhalar.


The most coveted design is known as the panna hazaar (literally: a thousand
emeralds) in which the floral pattern is highlighted with flowers interlaced like
jewels by means of gold and silver thread. The kalka(paisley), whose origin may be
traced to the painted manuscripts of the Mughal period, has emerged as a highly
popular pattern. Yet another popular pattern in jamdani is the phulwar, usually
worked on pure black, blue black, grey or off-white background colours.
The traditional nilambari, dyed with indigo, or designs such as toradar (literally: a
bunch or bouquet) preserved in weaving families over generations are now being
reproduced. The butis (motifs) across the warp, the paar (border) and anchal (the
portion that goes over and beyond the shoulder) are woven by using separate
bobbins of yarn for each colour. The fine bobbins are made from tamarind wood
or bamboo. After completion the cloth is washed and starched.
Jamdani, because of its intricate patterns, has always been a highly expensive
product. According to historical accounts, Jamdanis custom made for the Mughal
emperor Aurangzeb in the 17th century cost over thirty pounds; evidently the
jamdani fabric was essentially meant only for the affluent nobility, in those days.
The region in and around Dhaka (now in Bangladesh) became synonymous with
this wonder fabric.


The most well-known Bengal Silk sari, which carries its legendary name, is the
Baluchari sari - a product of exquisite design and fabulous weaving technique.
Produced in the town of Baluchar in Murshidabad district of West Bengal,
Baluchari sarees are nation and worldwide popular because of their artistic and
unique design. 'Baluchari' is one of the most popular weaving techniques of
Bengal. It is a popular ninteenth centruy figured silk saree. It is elaborately woven
brocade known to have been made during 1850-1900 in the village surrounding
Baluchar (Murshidabad Distt.)

Fabric in Baluchari Sari

Silk weaving of Baluchar continues to be an important landmark of Bengal's

handloom tradition. Baluchari sarees are woven in Bengal silks which are much
acclaimed in the world over, since ancient times. Like silk, cotton baluchari sarees
are also woven in a fascinating and exquisite range. The cloth is very fine and
transparent with a soft drape. These are created on draw looms, which contains a
complicated mechanism for weaving multi-warp and multi-weft figured textiles.
Material is used as silk. The dimensions for a Baluchar Sari are in Cm (length=558,
width=112, ends per cm=38, picks per cm =35).
Design and Colours

Baluchar Sarees are similar in appearance and in weaving techniques to many

Banaras Brocades although they never contain Zari threads, only
silk. They have intricate supplementary weft or warp borders and
end pieces created in untwisted silk threads of colors that
contrast with the ground, with elaborate floral borders.

The figures are commonly involved in such activities as smoking a hooka, riding a
train, or smelling a flower, and are often dressed in Mughal style or
European cloths, the grounds of these saris are generally dark with
purple, dark brown and red being common, while the wide range of
colors found in the supplementary threads are always light, such as
white, yellow orange of pink.

The various designs depicting narrative folktales in the pallu of the sarees are as:

 A woman riding a horse holding a rose in one hand with her plait flying
behind her.
 Pleasure boat, with two lovebirds on top.
 Traditional muslim court scenes.
 Women smoking hookah.
 Puranic tales or legends of Ramayana and Mahabharata are also depicted
on the classic baluchari sarees etc.

The most distinctive feature of Baluchari sarees is their elaborate borders and

Patola is an exquisite and wonderfully intricate silk textile of India, believed to

have originated in the 7th Century AD. Three major Rajput clans the Chavadas
(746 - 942AD), Solankis (942-1244 AD) and Vaghelas (1244 - 1304AD) — ruled
from here. The Solanki rule is considered as the golden age; prosperity peaked
during the reign of King Kumarpal. Patan became a centre of patola weaving
during his reign (1143-1173AD).

Patola silk textiles are produced by resist dyeing of warp and weft threads before
weaving, a complex process known as double ikkat which is
also practiced in other parts of India and abroad. However,
Patola of Patan (Gujarat) is unique in its geometric floral and
figurative patterns executed with precision of design planning,
and meticulously accurate weaving alignment which results in
precise outline of the patterns. This requires immense visualization and
coordination skills.

It is a marvel of weaving and precision, with its many coloured warp and weft
matching perfectly at their designated
places to create intricate motifs. The
practitioners of this craft are the Salvis,
who get their name from ‘Sal’ (Sanskrit for
loom) and “Vi” (the rosewood sword used
in a Patola loom). Patola saris continue to
remain highly prized as festive clothing in
Gujarat. The widespread opinion that they
represent the traditional wedding sari,
however, is not quite correct.

The mothers of the couple and other older ladies will often appear in the
colourful glow of these silks as a sign of their prosperity, religious feeling and
traditional way of life. Patola are a matter of prestige. They are carefully
preserved family heirlooms and are often presented as bridal gifts.
A bridegroom may wear one over his shoulders as a lucky charm, or use it to
drape his horse on his ride to the wedding ceremony. In some Hindu and Jain
communities patola play a major role in the simanta oragharni ceremony, which is
celebrated in the seventh month of pregnancy. This phenomenon demonstrates
that patola are auspicious and protect their wearer from sickness and misfortune.


Traditionally pure silk and natural dyes were used.Since about last 100 years,
tradition had given way to the use of fast to bleach and easy to dye chemical
colours (dyes). Therefore the use of natural dyes in Patola is discontinued. But
since last twenty years again the importance to use of vegetable dyes became the
consideration of its eco-friendliness and to maintain the tradition of old natural
dyes in Patola. The re-introduced, vegetable materials are: Turmeric, Marigold
Flower, Onion Skin, Pomegranate rinds, Madder, Lac, Catechu, Cochineal, Indigo
along with different mordant like alum, tinchloride, ferrous sulphate, copper
sulphate, Tennic Acid, Oxalic Acid, Potassium Dichromate etc.Dewelling on the
fast colour of the patola, a Gujarat poet wrote; "Padi patole bhat faatey pan phite
nahin" meaning the design laid down in the patola may be torn, but it shall never

Warp and weft silk threads are tied separately with cotton thread on the portions
already marked out in conformity with the proposed design in the fabric. This tied
portion is meant to remain unexposed to the colour while dyeing. United portion
which has absorbed one colour may be tied while dyeing in another colour.
Tyeing untying, retying and dyeing in different shades are the main features of
this process.

Creating design by tyeing knots on warp and weft

After completion of dyeing work of warps & wefts, the threads of the warp of
different repeats of a pattern are put together in a sequence
on the loom, so that the design becomes visible. The
threads of wefts are wound on to bobbins and kept in the
bamboo shuttle for weaving process. The patola is woven on
a primitive hand operated harness loom made out of rosewood and bamboo
strips. The loom lies at a slant, with the left side being lower than the right side.
The bamboo shuttle is made to move to and fro through warp shades. Each weft
thread is thoroughly examined and matched with each part of the warp design
pattern while weaving.

The tension of the warp threads are removed by the help of needle after every
time weaving of 8" to 10" of fabric. Patola weaving is a highly
accurate just a positioning of warp and weft of similar colour
to obtain perfect design and harmony. The process is labour
intensive, time consuming and requires high order of skill and

Tyeing knots again after previous dyeing

It takes three to four months to prepare tie- dyed design on warp and weft
threads for one sari of 6 yards length by 48" width. Two Salvis
(weavers) working together weave just about 8" to 9" a day. It
takes 40 to 50 days to weave a sari. Thus 4 to 5 persons take
periods of 5 to 6 months to complete a sari depending on the
intricacy of the design.

Traditional Patola Loom

The Patola was traditionally woven in a sari length of 5 to 9 yards by 45" to 54"
width. The range now extends to include tablecloth borders scarves,

Design Elements

Essentially the designs in a patola are based on traditional

motifs called "Bhat". These designs include "narikunj",
"paan", "phulwadi", "chowkdi", "raas", "chhabdi",
"choktha", "navratana", "paanchphul", "sarvariya",
"laheriya"etc. Flowers, animals, birds and human figures
from the basic designs.

The beautiful Maheshwari sarees are among the most popular sarees produced in
India. These sarees are in demand not only in India, but also in international

History of the Maheshwari saree

These sarees are largely produced in the town of Maheshwar in Madhya Pradesh.
The origin of the Maheshwari sarees dates back to the 18th century, when the
state of Indore in Madhya Pradesh was ruled by Queen Ahilyabai Holkar.
According to legends, Queen Ahilyabai ordered craftsmen from Surat and Malwa
to design special 9-yard sarees to be gifted to royal guests and relatives. The
sarees that were produced by these craftsmen became popular as Maheshwari
sarees. It is believed that Queen Ahilyabai herself created the design of the first
saree. These sarees were originally worn by the ladies of royal status, but
nowadays, they are available in both national and international markets.

The designs in the Maheshwari sarees were inspired by the detailing on the walls
of the Fort of Maheshwar. The popular designs used in these sarees, which were
inspired from the designs on the fort walls are the ‘Chatai’ pattern that is the
‘Mat’ pattern, the ‘Chameli ka phool’ pattern that is the ‘Chameli flower’ pattern,
the ‘Eent’ pattern that is the ‘Brick’ pattern as well as the ‘Heera’ pattern that is
the ‘Diamond’ pattern. These designs are found on Maheshwari sarees even

Material used

Originally, the Maheshwari saree was made of pure silk. Then in course of time,
these sarees began to be made in pure cotton and
with a mixture of silk and cotton (silk yarn in the
warp and cotton in the weft). Nowadays, wool is also
being used in the production of Maheshwari sarees.
These sarees are extremely light in weight and
present a sharp contrast to the Kanchipuram sarees
of South India.

Maheshwari sarees were initially made only in dark shades like red, maroon,
black, purple and green. Today, these sarees are also being made
in lighter shades and gold and silver threads are being made use
of. In local dialect, the most popular colors used in Maheshwari
sarees are 'Angoori' (grape green), 'Dalimbi' (deep pink), 'Gul
Bakshi' (magenta), 'Jaamla' (purple), 'Tapkeer' (deep brown),
'Aamrak' (golden), 'Rani' (deep pink), 'Dhaani' (green) and 'Kaashi' (light purple).
Usually, vegetable dyes are used in the preparation of these sarees.


These sarees usually have a plain body or have stripes or checks of different
varieties. Some of these varieties are highly
popular and are known by different names.
The 'Chandrakala' and the 'Baingani
Chandrakala' are examples of plain
Maheshwari sarees, while the 'Chandratara',
the 'Beli' and the 'Parbi' are examples of
striped and checked ones.

Special features

The unique feature of a Maheshwari saree is its reversible border. The border is
designed in such a way that both sides of the saree can
be worn. This is locally known as ‘Bugdi’. The cotton
that is used in these sarees is brought in from
Coimbatore in South India, while the silk is from
Bangalore and the wool is imported from Australia. The
processing of the raw material is undertaken in Kolkata
and the saree is woven by the women of
Maheshwar. An original Maheshwari saree can cost anywhere between Rs. 1500
to Rs. 5000.

As in the History of the India Banaras is known since regveda about 1500 year
2000 year BC and also a period of Ramayana and Mahabharata
come to know identical reference about the fame of Banarasi
Sari and Fabrics as known Hiranya Vastra (Pitamber Vastra). In
the ancient time Banaras was famous for the weaving of cotton
sari and dress materials, but slowly switched over to silk
weaving, during the Mughal period around 14th century
weaving of brocades with intricate designs using gold & Silver
threads was the specialty of Banaras.

The weaving craft of Banaras

Banaras, or Varanasi or Kashi is one of the rich weaving craft

Centre of India, famous for Brocade saris and allover dress
material. Exclusive varieties of the saris are Jangla, Tanchoi,
Vaskat, Cutwork, Tishu, and Butidar which are made of silk
warp and silk weft, on plain/satian ground base, brocaded with
extra weft patterns in different layouts introducing Buties, Bells, creepers, Buttas
in ground, border and Anchal for getting glamours appearance.

As in the History of the India Banaras is known since regveda about 1500 year
2000 year BC and also a period of Ramayana and Mahabharata
come to know identical reference about the fame of Banarasi
Sari and Fabrics as known Hiranya Vastra (Pitamber Vastra). In
the ancient time Banaras was famous for the weaving of cotton
sari and dress materials, but slowly switched over to silk
weaving, during the Mughal period around 14th century
weaving of brocades with intricate designs using gold & Silver
threads was the specialty of Banaras.

Brocade refer to those textiles where in patterns are created in

weaving by transfixing or thrusting the pattern-thread between
the warp. In regular weaving the weft thread passes over and under the warp
thread regularly. But when brocade designs in gold, silver silk or cotton threads
are to be woven, special threads are transfixed in between by skipping the
passage of the regular weft over a certain number of warp threads (depending
upon the pattern) and by regularizing the skipping by means of pre-arranged
heddles for each type of patterning. There may be several sets of heddles so
arranged that on different occasions, they raise and depress irregular number of
threads in turn, as required by the exigencies of the pattern.

Zari-brocades-When gold and silver threads are use along with or without silk-
threads, thrust either as special weft or warp to create glittering raised
ornamentation. We have the Zari brocade kind of fabrics. When we talk of gold or
silver threads; It is to be under stood that the gold, threads are actually only silver
threads with gold polish and that these threads are obtained by closely winding
extremely fine gold or silver wire around a silk thread.

According to Sir George Watt, when the gold and

silver threads were used so densely that the
ground was hardly visible, the material was
khinkhab proper and was too heavy for clothing, it
was therefore used for trappings, hangings and
furnishing. Only that material in which the Zari
patterns were scattered was true brocade. This was
used for clothing

Banarasi Silk Jamdani

The silk Jamdani, a technical variety of brocade or the 'figured muslin’,

traditionally woven in Banaras may be considered to be one of the finest products
to come out of the Banarasi loom. Here silk fabric is brocaded with cotton and
rarely with zari threads. Jamdani is woven by transfixing the pattern thread
between a varying numbers of warp threads in proportion to the size of the
designed then throwing the shuttle to pass the regular weft. By repeating this
process, where in the size and placing of the cut-thread is in accordance with the
character of the pattern, the Jamdani weaver produces arrange of intricate

Some of the traditional motifs of Jamdani included Chameli (Jasmine), Panna

hazar (Thousand emeralds), Genda buti (Marigold flower), Pan buti (leaf form),
Tircha (diagonally striped) etc. The most attractive design feature of the Jamdani
sari was konia or a corner-motif having a floral mango buta.
It has own special character of (URTU) Binding in the figured designs on ground
fabrics using extra weft designs thread dampatch technique for the or
lamentation of the sari. It is silk x silk base fabrics or-namented with extra looking
and technique of weaving in karhuwan.

Jangala Sari

Brocade weavers of Banares have often endeavored to add a sense of gaiety and
festivity by brocading patterns in colorful silk threads amidst the usual gold and
silver motifs; of the brocade convention. The present sari is an example in which
muga silk motifs have been in laid. Jangala wildly scrolling and spreading
vegetation motif is among the eldest in Banaras brocades. This old rose sari is
embellished with beautifully contrasted gold-creepers and silver flowers of the
Jangala motif. The borders have brocaded running creepers in Muga silk and gold
and silver-Zari threads. The end panel is a combination of motifs of the borders
and condensed Jangala of the field. Muga silk brocading enhances the beauty of
the sari while reducing the cost. All over Jal Jangla design to get the stylish work
of the saris and also used Mina Work for the decoration of the fabrics. The
exclusive design sari has time taking skilled work; costly fabrics are widely
accepted during the wedding occasions.

Jamawar Tanchoi Sari

Using a technique similar to that of brocade, weavers of Banaras weave saris

using colorful extra weft silk yarn for patterning. This variety known as Tanchoi.
This maroon-colored sari in satin weave is brocaded with elaborate motifs from
the Jamawar shawl tradition from Kashmir, the characteristic feature of which
was paisley motif, often elaborated into a maze which would look kaleidoscopic in
character. The field has a densely spread minute diaper of Jamawar style paisley.
The end panel has large motifs of multiple paisley forms-one growing out of the
other. The borders, as well as the cross-borders of the end panel, have miniature
paisley creepers. Tanchoi fabric has remarkable fame in the India as well as all
over in the world widely acceptable to all kind of the people.

Tissu Sari

The renowned Zari brocade weaver of Banaras has evolved a technique of

weaving tissue material which looked like golden cloth. By running Zari in weft a
combination of Zari and silk in extra-weft (pattern thread) and silk in warp, the
weave of this sari has densely patterned with golden lotuses floating in a
glimmering pond. The 'drops of water' are created by cut work technique. The
borders and the end panel have a diaper of diamond patterns enclosed by a
border of running paisley motifs. Tissue saris are most popular as wedding saris
among the affluent.

Tissue sari has glazed, shining character due to the use of real gold Zari/Silver Zari
in weft on silk work ground are ornamented with the particulars traditional design
such as Jangla Butidar, Shikargah Minadar etc.

Butidar Sari

The most striking feature of this dark blue silken sari is that it is brocaded with
pattern threads of gold, silver and silk. Due to darker shade of gold and lighter of
silver this variety of patterning in brocade is conventionally known as Ganga-
Jamuna, indicating the confluence of these two river whose waters are believed
to be dark and light receptively. The end panel has a row of arches, in each of
which a bouquet of flowers is placed. A slightly smaller and variegated bouquet is
diapered all over the field. The butidar sari is a rich kind of the Banaras sari in high
traditional pattern and motif of the design locally popularized such as Angoor Bail,
Gojar Bail, Luttar Bail, Khulta bail, Baluchar bail, Mehrab bail, Doller butti,Ashraffi
Butti, Latiffa Butti, Reshem Butti Jhummar Butti,Jhari Butta, Kalma Butti,Patti
Butti, Lichhi Butti, Latiffa Butta, Kairy Kalanga Thakka Anchal, Mehrab Anchal,
Baluchar Butta with the use of real gold and silver Jari and Katan silk in the weft.

Chanderi Sari

Chanderi, a township having a very rich & glorious historical heritage and past is
situated in the hills of Vindhyachal range having a population of 30,000. This
township located close to Betwa River and which presently forms part of District
Ashok Nagar (previously Guna) in the State of Madhya Pradesh, India. It had
flourished a focal point of Central India with intensive economic activity.
Phonetically Chanderi is linked with the
Chandelas. Chanderi was first settled and
fortified in the 11th Century by the Pratihara king
Kirtipal. The foundation of this township goes
back to the Chandella King, Kirtivarma, Prince of
Mahoba in the years 1060 – 1100 AD. The place
of the city is also related to the name of
"Chandella". Historically speaking Chanderi, Chandrapuram, Chandragiri etc. are
well known names in Indian topography. The first certain reference to Chanderi in
a written source is found in Barani who relates the successful attack of Ghiyas al
Din Balban against the city in 1251 AD.

However, the Muslims did not settle in Chanderi before its Conquest in 1305 AD
by Ala al Din Khilji. It is in 1305 AD around 20,000 people from a place called
"Lakhnoti" in Bengal (presently in Dhaka) migrated to Chanderi as followers of
Maulana Majibuddin Usuf and after migration these people started the
production of Muslin/Malmal.

Chanderi remained in the hands of Bundelas until

1811. The Craftsmanship and the weaving work were
continued by all theMuslim rulers of the City. In the
Government Gazetteer Chanderi has been mentioned
as long famous city for the manufacture of delicate
Muslins, an industry that is still carried on. The
cloth/fabric manufactured here is of unusual fineness while the colored silk and
gold borders are of great beauty.

A common saying refers to this Industry:-

Shahr Chanderi mominwara, Tiria raj, khasam panihara. In Chanderi town, a city
of weavers, the wives rule while husbands carry water.

Method of Production

 Procurement of raw – material: the master weaver purchases the raw

material from the yarn dealers who in turn get the silk from Karnataka. The
silk yarn used is largely imported Chinese or Korean silk. The cotton yarn is
procured from places like Coimbatore in southern India, and Jaipur and is
usually pre-dyed. The yarn dealers of cotton also often get customized
colors dyed as per the requirement of the master weaver. However the
minimum quantity required for such dyeing is almost 25 kgs. Or 10 hanks.
 The dyeing in Chanderi is undertaken mainly for the silk yarn and by dyers
many of whom have been in this skill since long. The silk yarn dying process
takes about 45 to 60 minutes depending on the color.
 After dyeing the yarn is loosened or wound on reels or swiftons. This is a
prelude to the preparation of the warp and weft.
 For the weft the yarn is wound on pirns with the help of a charkha and this
activity is usually performed by the members of weavers’ family. Warping is
a specialized process, which is performed by the warpers. The warp yarns
are wound on bobbins, which are arranged across a wooden frame called
reel. The yarns from these reels pass through a reed to be wound around a
vertical drum. A warper in good times would warp 4 or 5 warps for 12
sarees each.
 This kind of Butti was in use in past only by the Royal families because it is
very expensive as genuine Gold and Silver is used. The Butti which is big is
size is popularly called as Butta with all other specifications. More so and it
is their ancestral business and trade. The weavers involved in this process
are long standing in trade and are well experienced. The handmade Buttis
are at Chanderi permanent in its nature and its existence as well, inter
laced and its original shape and structure always remain the same even
after its long use. Whereas in comparison the Buttis created with the use of
Power loom are not permanent and losses its shape and structure after
some time. The thread used is of fine quality and even after long use its
thread never comes out and its original shape and appearance is retained
forever. It has no comparison anywhere else in the country or for that
reasons in whole of the world. . It is easily distinguishable from the Buttis
made outside Chanderi even with necked eyes because of its manner and
process of manufacture and in this manner it is exclusive and this itself is
requisite ingredient for legal protection and for exclusive recognition.
Initially the use of this quality and products has been a matter of use by the
Royal families, which for a long time is used by the common man.
 The next step is the task of passing the warp through the reed and the
healds. The warp threads are then joined to the old war threads with a deft
twist of the hand of the women folk. This process takes approx 3-4 days.
 Before the actual weaving begins the weaver sets the design of the border
and the pallav. The respective ends of the design are tied to the vertical
harness called jala and the process is called jala tyeing. This process takes
anywhere between 3-4 days depending on the complexity of the design.
The figured effects are produced with the help of an extra weft and the
number of tillis (or the no of weft yarns will determine the time taken).
That is higher the number more will be the time taken. However the time
reduces if the number of ply in the weft yarn is more and consequently the
weaver can move faster and cover more ground. However in this case the
output is less fine. Similarly higher the reed count more is the production
 The weaving is performed by one or two very skilled weavers of the same
family. The looms being used are largely traditional pit looms with throw
 The Chanderi fabric does not require any post loom process and is cut off
the loom to be packed and sold. It is packed as per the requirement of the
buyer and of the trader by way of customized packing methods.


The Chanderi Fabric is known for the centuries for its transparency, Buttis and
sheer texture

Buttis/ Butta "Motifs"

Since the inception of the Chanderi fabric and primarily ladies Sarees, the butiis
on the Fabric are hand-woven and absolutely woven on Handloom. There is no
use of any other process of manufacturing and it is Gold coated, Silver coated and
as well as Copper coated. Now a day Tested Zari Butti are also common and in
use. The Tested Zari is made with the use of Synthetic yarn. The Buttis are made
by use of Needles. Number of Needles used depends upon the number of Buttis
and its size. For each Butti/Butta separate Needles are used. All the weavers
involved in this process are experts in it since they have been doing this for long
time. The most popular and traditional kind of Butti is Asharfi Butti, which is in
shape of Asharfi (woven in pure gold and silver Zari and now a day it is also woven
in Tested Zari).

This kind of Butti was in use in past only by the Royal families because it is very
expensive as genuine Gold and Silver is used. The Butti which is big is size is
popularly called as Butta with all other specifications. More so and it is their
ancestral business and trade. The weavers involved in this process are long
standing in trade and are well experienced. The handmade Buttis are at Chanderi
permanent in its nature and its existence as well, inter laced and its original shape
and structure always remain the same even after its long use. Whereas in
comparison the Buttis created with the use of Power loom are not permanent and
losses its shape and structure after some time. The thread used is of fine quality
and even after long use its thread never comes out and its original shape and
appearance is retained forever. It has no comparison anywhere else in the
country or for that reasons in whole of the world. . It is easily distinguishable from
the Buttis made outside Chanderi even with necked eyes because of its manner
and process of manufacture and in this manner it is exclusive and this itself is
requisite ingredient for legal protection and for exclusive recognition. Initially the
use of this quality and products has been a matter of use by the Royal families,
which for a long time is used by the common man.


The Chanderi Fabric is also well known for its transparency and sheer texture. The
transparency is a unique feature, which is not commonly or found in any of the
textile products all over the country. The transparency in Chanderi Fabric
products is the consequence of Single Flature quality of yarn used. Flature yarn is
the quality of yarn when the Glue of the raw yarn is not taken out. The none-
degumming of the raw yearn gives shine and transparency to the finished fabric.
This quality is not found in any other Fabric of the country and it is exclusive to
the Chanderi Fabric. The special transparent yarn is used both in warp and weft of
different varieties and configurations. The transparent yarn is cotton and as well
as silk also.

The silk yarn used of 2/2's, 2/100's and 16/18 denier. The term Denier connotes
the fineness of yarn. The cotton uses in Chanderi Fabric is 2/120's, 2/100's (plain
yarn) and 2/120 and 2/100 mercerized yarns. The yarn used in Chanderi fabric is
of high quality and extra fine. Because of non-degumming of the raw yarn, the
finished fabric produced is extremely transparent and which in consequence
result into sheer texture.

Over the last centuries Chanderi has evolved as a center for excellence for
weaving gold embellished fabrics mainly, sarees, for the erstwhile royalty and
elite. Chanderi has been originally producing three kinds of fabric:

 Pure silk – where the warp as well as the weft is woven in 13/15 and 16/18
denier silk.
 Chanderi cotton – where the warp and weft are 120's to 200's cotton. The
Chanderi muslins have been known to be superior to Dacca muslins
because of the softness and feel; this was traditionally achieved through
the use of koli kanda a local wild onion which was used for sizing. Today
this quality has been discontinued.
 Silk Cotton – the weaver deftly combines 13/15-denier warp with
100s/120s cotton in the weft.


India, wrapped in mystique, enhanced with the romance of fabled crafts, has one
of the finest textile traditions in the world. Rajasthan is the home rather museum
of paintings. Several schools of this art flourish in the State.

 Miniature Painting (Kangra School) - Real gold, Stone & water colours on
old handmade paper are used. Set of 12 paintings of each seasons (Months)
are depicted in it. Practiced mainly in Jaipur.
 Jodhpur School - Real gold & stone colours are used on old handmade
papers and generally love scene of the old kings are depicted in it.
 Pichawai Paintings - Real gold & stone colours are used on cloth and Ras
Leela (dances in various moods) scenes (Lord Sri-Krishna & Gopi’s, the
female friends) are depicted in these paintings. Practiced in Nathdwara,
Paintings are hanged in the tamples behind (Piche) the status and this
"Piche" are known as Pichwai paintings.
 Mughal School - Real gold and stone colours are used on Silk. Love scenes
and Mughal courts are shown on these type of paintings.
 Now-a-days these paintings are available on wood and marble stones.
 Phad Painting - Vegetable colours are used on cloth and paper procession
and historical themes are depicted in the style of painting. Bhilwara &
Shapura are the areas where this is practiced.
 Jaipur School - Potrait of kings, court scenes, Gods & Godesses are painted
on old handmade papers, with real gold and stone colours.
 Mewar School - Mostly hunting scenes are shown on cloth and handmade
paper with stone and stone colours.
Among the above mentioned schools of painting Pichhwais represent a unique
form of Painted textile art which originated at Shrinathji temple in Nathdwara a
little over three centuries ago. Nathdwara is some 48 km northeast of Udaipur in
the Rajsamand district of Rajasthan.

Pichhwais are large devotional cloth hangings which form the background for Lord
Krishna’s icon in Pushti Marg temples (a branch of Hindu deities). Pichhwai
literally translates to ‘at the back.’ Traditionally, pichhwais were painted on
woven cotton cloth. The cloth used to be coated with a mixture of gum Arabic and
rice floor to create an even surface. Colour pigments obtained from vegetables
and minerals were then applied on them with a brush.They have deep religious
roots and are devotionally rendered by the painters.

These paintings usually depict 24 scenes from Lord Krishna’s life related to some
festival or holy day. At the centre of these pichhwais is either a stylized image or a
symbolic representation of Lord Krishna. Dark clouds, dancing peacock, Kadamba
tree etc. symbolize Lord Krishna in these paintings. The pichhwais are changed
from time to time depending upon the day, season and occasion to create
different moods and ambience.

Lord Krishna is the most loved of the nine incarnations of Lord Vishnu for his
childhood antics and pranks; his stories of love, friendship and fight against evil
forces during his adolescence as a cowherd; and, his philosophical discourses and
political maneuvers as the charioteer of Arjuna, one of the greatest warriors of
Mahabharata fame.

Lord Krishna’s personality was so popular and powerful that everything

associated with him has been immortalized in art, literature and culture of India.
Butter, flute, peacock feather, cows, cowherds, milkmaids—literally everything
associated with Lord Krishna has left an indelible mark on our culture.