Alizarin, Madder, Parijaat, Natural Dye, Bagh Print, Ajrakh, Puru Print, Hand block print, Dabu

Showing posts with label natural. Show all posts
Showing posts with label natural. Show all posts

Sunday, 22 July 2018

Tarapur Print: A Craft Jewel of Madhya Pradesh


Ummedpura-Tarapur twin villages situated on the banks of "Maa" Gambhiri river in Neemuch district of Madhya Pradesh. It is a twin village demarcated by a bridge made on the river were famous for its 400 years or even older than this craft of Nandana hand block printing practiced in these two villages only by traditional "Hindu Chippa" community belongs to the Sant Namdev tradition supported by "Muslim Nilger" community famous for indigo dyeing. 

Limited to tribal market, laborious process, limited design and color combination,  and increasing cost of nandana print was the reason behind decrease in demand too. It was clearly an indication for them to do something new or stop the work. Many families stopped their traditional work of nandana 2 decades ago and started other business. Few families still continued their family tradition with concern for future of their tradition. While they were in dilemma to continue the craft or not few started searching for new markets and possibilities to innovate the existing techniques. In this time less than 10 families were left in this business who were practicing nandana hand block printing and sometimes other techniques of hand block printing. 

Tarapur print mal cotton stole

In this struggle period some 3 decades ago few exporters contacted hand block printer family of Late Shri Purushottamji Jhariya for indigo and different design combination in red and indigo color. Though they were doing it since ages but not commercially marketed well and it is how a new technique of block printing evolved.

In this technique they started concentrating on use of alizarin print (red and black) combining with indigo Indigo dabu work to get a red. black and indigo blue color combination with variety of block designs. 

They started calling this technique as "Alizer-Indigo" technique to differentiate it.

Tarapur print modal by modal Saree

Marketing as Tarapur print

When Pushyamitra co-founder of EcoFab started working with the family of Late Shri Purushottamji Jhariya in Tarapur some 3 years ago while doing his thesis started documenting the various techniques practiced by the 2 families left in this place comes to know about 4 techniques practiced by them were:

1. Alizarin print (Red & black) 

2. Dabu print (Resist techniques and mainly dyed with indigo)

3. Alizer Indigo print (Combination of Alizarin red and black & Dabu indigo)

4. Nandana print (Traditional signature craft of hand block printing)

Tarapur as a craft village and home to a varieties of craft of hand block printing was facing an identity crisis. Bagh and Bagru villages were already famous for its unique alizarin hand block printing depicting their geographical identity. Then it was decided by Pushyamitra with Jhariya borthers (Pawan Jhariya & Banwari Jhariya) to market this unique combination of alizarin print and dabu print as "Tarapur Print" in the market.

It is how name of Tarapur print came into existence. Today Tarapur print evolved as an important hand block printing technique and quite famous among craft lovers. 

 Tarapur print fine cotton Saree

 Tarapur print fine cotton Saree


Process of Tarapur print is time consuming and laborious too as it is a combination of two different hand block printing known as Alizarin printing and Dabu printing. 

Fabric is first treated with a solution of soda ash, castor oil and sea salt now a days a ready combination known as TRO (turkey red oil) is available in the market is used. After this pre washing treatment fabric is dyed with harda (myrabalan) solution then it is ready for printing with alum mordant and paste made of iron rust and jaggery solution mixed with tamarind seed powder. 

Shri Pawan Jhariya doing washing process after alizarin printing

After printing it is kept for 2-3 days then washed in flowing river or in tank then it is dyed with alizarin using bhatti (boiling) process. After bhatti process fabric again printed with resist paste made from clay, gum and lime to hide red portion and where we need white design in base now fabric is dyed with indigo an kept for a day. After washing and post mordant fabric is ready to market.

Shri Banwari Jhariya seeing his printed clothes in Tarapur Print

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Madder roots: A source of natural herbal dye

Madder roots: Introduction & history

Madder or Manjishta (मंजिष्ठ) in Hindi is one of the oldest known sources of natural red color in dyeing fabrics worldwide. Roots of madder is used as a rich source of red dye since ages. It is found that even 3000 years B.C. in Mohen-Jo-Daro civilization it was used for dyeing clothes. There are two different species of madder found in the nature, rubia tinctoria and rubia cordifolia. Rubia cordifolia is better known as Indian madder or common madder and rubia tinctoria is known as dyer's madder. Both the varieties are rich sources of purpurin and alizarin which gives shades of pink, red and orange with different mordants.

Madder Plant (Source:

Either madder roots or its powder is boiled in water to extract the dye stuff and then fabric dyed with it. Madder is one of the most useful natural dye used worldwide as source for variants of red. It is very fast dye if mordant is used properly.

In past in India madder roots and al roots (morinda tinctoria) were used as a source of red dye in hand block printing industry. In traditional hand block printing madder was used as a source of natural alizarin to get red dye color where alum is printed but today it is replaced by synthetic alizarin.

Herbal importance 

Madder is not just a source of dye but used as a main element in Ayurveda. A tonic called "Mahamanjishthadi Kada"  is named after its use in preparing it by mixing other herbs in certain proportion. This tonic is very useful and recommended by physicians for blood purification. It is having skin healing property too. People who are suffering from skin irritation or any other skin related problem madder dyed fabrics may work as a healer for them.

Dried Madder Roots 

Madder is very useful natural herbal dye which does not contaminate the water resources and works as a skin healer too. For a healthy skin madder dyed fabrics is a good choice.

Ecofab's work with madder

Ecofab has started working with madder roots since its inception to over dye traditional hand block print fabrics and sarees with it to get hues of pink and red. While working with craftsman came to know that today they are using synthetic alizarin in place of natural source of alizarin to get red color in place of alum print. 

Madder roots powder

Ecofab started experimentation with madder to dye traditional hand block print fabrics with it but didn't got success initially. Result got as faded red color or no color while dyeing with madder roots. Ecofab continued experimentation and finally got the formula to get shades of red dye, orange and turkey red in place of alum printing in hand block printing. Ecofab created a madder formula to extract red color from madder. It gave a new dimension to Ecofab's work with traditional hand block print to regain its roots. Now valuable natural red dye is rejuvenated. 

Few of the finished products dyed with madder formula below:

Silk Cotton Bagh Print Saree (Dyed with madder) 

Modal Saree Printed in Tarapur (Dyed with madder) 

Modal Saree Printed in Tarapur (Dyed with madder) 

For more details you can explore

Monday, 1 January 2018

Sukhanand teerth: Tarapur craft tour attraction

Shiv Temple, Sukhanand 
शिव मंदिर, सुखानंद 


Tarapur a handicraft village of Madhya Pradesh was once famous for its handicraft of "Nandana" a kind of hand block printing. It is not only famous for handicraft only but also the beautiful places around it. "Sukhanand Teerth" is one of such place. A pious place known as "Sukhanand Teerth" is situated 13 kilometers away from Tarapur village once a "Tapas sthali" of Muni Sukhdevji.

Visitors who visit to "Tarapur" village to see the different hand block printing and also take interest in nature and spirituality must visit "Sukhanand Teerth" a serene and spiritual place. There is so much to explore in and around Tarapur apart from hand block printing. 

This pious place or teerth belongs to the Son of great sage Bhagwan Vedvyasji & a great disciple of Rajarshi Janak. It is to be said that with the result of "Tapas" (spiritual practice) done Muni Shukdevji pious river Ganges appeared in a secret mode. There is a cave where one can see the "Secret Ganga". There is a beautiful waterfall once flows round the year but today during rainy season it is alive. It attracts visitors during rainy and winter season. The sacredness of this place compared with the "Haridwar" a sacred city situated in Uttarakhand.

Visit the heart of India to explore the unexplored.....

Secret Ganga Cave
गुप्त गंगा गुफा 


मध्य प्रदेश का तारापुर गाँव जो कभी "नान्दना" की ठप्पा छपाई के लिए प्रसिद्द था, यहाँ केवल ठप्पा छपाई ही नहीं होती किन्तु कई प्रसिद्द रमणीय स्थल भी यहाँ से निकट हैं| तारापुर से केवल 13 किलोमीटर दुरी पर मुनि सुखदेव जी (शुकदेवजी) की तप स्थली "सुखानंद तीर्थ" स्थित है।

जो भी हस्तकला प्रेमी तारापुर में ठप्पा छपाई की कला देखने आते हैं एवं उन्हें प्रकृति और अध्यात्म में रूचि हैं तो "सुखानंद"  जैसे अध्यात्मिक और शांत तीर्थ के दर्शन अवश्य करना चाहिए|

यह तीर्थ भगवान वेदव्यास जी के सुपुत्र और राजर्षि जनक के सुशिष्य शुकदेव मुनिजी की तपस्थली रही है, ऐसा कहा जाता है की उनकी तपस्या के फलस्वरूप माँ गंगा गुप्त रूप से यहाँ पर प्रकट हुई थी जिनके दर्शन एक गुफा मे आज भी किये जा सकते हैं। यहाँ पर एक मनोरम झरना भी है जो पहले 12 महीने बहता था किन्तु अब केवल बारिश और उसके 2 महीने तक ही यह प्रवाहमान रहता हैं। बारिश और ठण्ड मे यह एक मनोरम स्थल के रूप मे सैलानियो के आकर्षण का केंद्र रहता है इसकी महिमा हरिद्वार के बराबर मानी जाती है। 

आइये देखिये बहुत कुछ छुपा है देश के दिल मध्य प्रदेश मे......

All weather waterfall 
सदाबहार निर्झर 

Rain Water Harvesting (Near Sukhanand)
वर्षा जल संग्रहण (सुखानंद जी के पास)

If you are interested in visiting #Tarapur to see hand block printing or CraftTour please email us on or whatsapp on 9993091955.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

History of Hand block Printing in India


Craft of hand block printing is a very old art used to print clothes using vegetable colors  with the help of wooden or metal blocks. A statue wearing the hand block printed scarf found on the site of "Mohe-Jo-Daro" traces the history of craft of hand block printing done in that place some 4000 years ago. In Indian sub-continent its origin or birth place is considered to be the Sindh province of today's Pakistan. ""Khatri"or "Chhippa"community mainly involved in the craft of hand block printing in this region since many centuries and later migrated to Gujarat and other parts of India to promote their craft and also in search of new regions to expand their business. In Rajasthan and some parts of Madhya Pradesh "Chippa" Community traces their roots with the "Sant Namdev" a devotional saint of 13th century and tailor by profession. This "Chippa" community consider themselves a descendant of Saint Namdev.

Present Scenario

Even today Bagh village and Tarapur villages in Madhya Pradesh, Kutch region of Gujarat, various towns and villages in Rajasthan,  in India are the major centers where craft of traditional hand block printing is practiced using the the traditional process it was practiced 400 to 1000 years ago with some minor changes. Traditionally vegetable colors were used in printing and dyeing of fabrics. 

Today there are many urban and rural centers of hand block printing chemical colors, direct colors and pigments used for printing and chemical dyes introduced. But the use of all these chemical colors not only polluting the sources of clean water but also not good for skin. Few researches suggested that most of the chemical dyes are unsafe for our skin and gave birth to many skin related diseases. Still there are few centers left in India where traditional process and vegetable colors used in printing and dyeing. 

Today EcoFab is promoting traditional craft of hand block printing by emphasizing more on using natural/herbal dyes and eco-friendly colors in the process.

Traditionally varieties of cotton and silk fabrics used in hand block printing industry but other natural fiber based fabrics like modal and viscose fabrics are also used in printing. 

To know more about us explore the links below:


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Thursday, 26 January 2017

Nandana Hand Block Print: Magic of Indigo Dye Pot

“Nandana” – Magic of Indigo & Pomegranate rind dye

When asked why "Nandana" is called "Nandana"? Banwari Jariya belongs to the 6th generation of "Chippa" community of Tarapur answered that when hand block printing started by local "Chippa" community in Tarapur they were using Indigo maat or dye tank locally called as "Naand" (नांद) in Hindi, which means pot or hole in English.

So from a word "Naand" used for indigo dyeing tank in Hindi and fabric dipped in indigo dye tank multiple times was the reason behind using word "Nandana" for this craft of hand block printing practiced exclusively in Tarapur only.

Brief about Nandana Process

In Nandana hand block printing process fabric first printed with begar (Alum & tamarind seed paste) and then dyed with alizarin to get red design pattern. After this fabric get printed with Dabu resist with "resin" paste, in local chhippa community it is called as "Daamar" (Coal-tar in English)  covering red designs and dipped into indigo dye tank to get deep indigo blue background. Traditionally resin paste is used as a better resist so that fabric get dipped into indigo tank minimum 5-6 times till it gets deep blue. "Resin" was boiled for 24 hours then it printed on the fabric while boiling.

In this step boiling resin produces a bad odor and also sometimes it spates on the skin of craftsman create rashes.  After this fabric get boiled in soda ash solution to remove the “resin” paste. Now after washing the resist paste it again printed with mud resist and then dipped into pomegranate rind dye. After performing this step fabric background becomes deep green to black, some parts which was printed with resist becomes yellow and red is remain there. Now fabric is ready for market. Today "resin" paste is replaced with "mud" resist due to heath issues of craftsman.

This dyeing craft of hand block printing only practiced in #Tarapur village situated on the banks of Ghambhiri River in Madhya Pradesh. Nandana is having 16 steps going through cumbersome process of printing and dyeing. Almost 100 families of Tarapur and Ummedpura village of Javad tehsil were involved in the craft. Now only 2 families are doing traditional hand block printing but they too left Nandana printing because of its tedious, time consuming process and no market reach.

Traditionally Nandana process involved use of 4 designs namely, Mirch, Champakali, Amba & Jalam buta. Later on one more design “Dholamaru” introduced in this craft. To create a single design 4 different blocks used in the Nandana technique. Basically market for Nandana printing was limited to tribal people of Jhabua, Ratlam, Mandsaur and Neemuch district of Madhya Pradesh only. When tribal got low cost screen printed hosiery material as an alternative they left wearing Nandana.
EcoFab started working with one of the hand block printer family of Tarapur village in the year 2015 who was interested in reviving Nandana printing. Today it is available in green and blue shade and other shades work is in process.

Peculiarity of traditional Nandana hand block printing are:
1. Use of natural mordant like alum to get red with alizarin, pomengranate peel and indigo to get green or black.
2. Use of fixed 5 designs right from small buti to big buta known as mirch, champakali, dholamaru, amba and jalam.
3. One design requires 3 different blocks.
4. Traditionally available in black background but now a day blue and green background also marketed as Nandana, because “Nand” is used in the process.
5. It’s a 16 step process technique.

Sometimes all 5 designs used in Nandana with red and white combination with indigo background considered as Nandana printing. Technically it comes under Tarapur printing which is a combination of alizarin and indigo hand block printing.
Since its inception Nanadana printing restricted to the tribal customer segment only so no development in terms of design and color variations done till date.

Traditionally Nandana is linked with both designs and cumbersome process.

Now with the intervention of  EcoFab  it is in the process of rejuvenation.

Green Base Nandana Saree

Black background Nandana Print Fabric

Green background Nandana Print Saree

For shopping and more visit:

Bagh & Bagru Print: Similar process but different traditions

Traditional  Process of Alizarin Printing  1. Purchase of kora/unbleached fabric 2.  Scouring (Cleaning of fabrics locally known ...