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

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Double Sided Ajrakh: The Real Ajrakh

Brief History

In previous blog post we have already discussed the history and origin of "Ajrakh" in detail. In this blog we will discuss the real ajrakh technique which was printed on the both the sides of the fabric.

Double Ajrakh Dupatta - 1

Ajrakh print is one of the complex, arduous yet beautiful and one of the oldest known hand blocks printing art to print the fabrics. Some 4000 years ago it was mainly practiced in Sindh region of undivided India now it is in Pakistan by Khatri (Chippa) community. Today it is widely practiced in Gujarat region in India and some parts of Rajasthan. Some 200 years ago few families migrated from Sindh region to Gujarat. It contains twenty or more steps in preparing final product. It is a combination of resist and mordant based printing traditionally using geometrical designs with natural colors on variety of natural fiber based fabrics.

Two thousand years ago few Arabic merchants visited Sindh for the first time and saw the circle and star shaped geometrical designs with the combination of four basic natural (Indigo, Red, Black and Yellow) colors instantly they call it “ye to Ajrakh hain” (This is a Ajrakh). In Arabic language Ajrakh means the Universe, and since then it is known as Ajrakh to the world. 

Ajrakh Technique

Traditionally Ajrakh printing was originally done on both the sides of fabrics using same blocks so that one can wear it either of the side. But today due to increasing cost of labor, raw materials and time consuming process it is printed on one side only.

Double Sided Ajrakh Dupatta - 2

Traditionally lugda (Saree like cloth), lungi and turban were made using “double sided” technique but today it is rarely practiced. Only few of the craftsmen left who still practice this craft on order. Considering its cost, time and expertise today it is done on stoles and dupatta only. 

Double sided Ajrakh Dupatta - 3

Time and Process

It requires more time and efforts for "Double sided" than printing one sided ajrakh work. First a resist paste made from multani mitti (fuller's earth) and Gum Arabic used to print on both the sides using the same block design and then with little changes done same technique used to print the fabric practiced for one sided printing work. 

Though it is a master piece work but sometimes to make a very master piece work it requires 2 to 6 months depends upon the mood of the craftsman. Once a ajrakh master craftsman Shri Manoj Khatri from Barmer, Rajasthan told us during a conversation that sometimes it took 6 months to an year in preparing just 20 dupattas. 

Meena ajrakh is rarely practiced craft technique today and to have it in "Wardrobe collection" is like having a "Kohinoor" among diamonds. 

EcoFab presents "हुबहू" collection Meena Ajrakh dupatta.....

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.

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Yellow magic of Parijaat: A natural source of golden dye

Tale of Parijaat 

It is to be said that it was a heavenly tree and as per the story mentioned in the "Harivansh Puran" Lord Krishn fought with Lord Indra to brought it to the earth for her wife Satyabhama. According to Harivansh Puran it is also known as "Kalpvriksh" or a tree which bear wishes. It is normally grown upto 8-10 meters long and found in almost all of India.

Parijaat flower on the tree in home garden

Parijaat flower blossoming on the budding tree

Different Name of Parijaat

Its Sanskrit name is #Parijaat and #shephalika. In Hindi #Harsingar Bengali #Shephalika Malyalam #Parijatkam Gujarati #Jayaparvati Oriya #Gangasiuli Kannada #Parijatha Tamil #Parijata  and in English it is known as #NightFloweringJasmine. Its scientific name is #Nyctanthesarbor-tristis.

Source of herbal dye

#Parijaat or Harsingar flowers or Nyctanthes arbor-tristis (Night-flowering Jasmine): Night flowering jasmine produces a very fast natural dye in golden yellow shade. It gave bright shade on cotton and vibrant golden yellow shade on cotton-silk, silk and modal.

Drying parijaat flower

It is one of the major source of #yellow natural/herbal dye by EcoFab. Fastness of dye is good and good for skin too. It works as a herbal therapy for body and skin. 

Bagh Print Modal Saree dyed with Parijaat

Maheshwari Saree dyed with Parijaat flower

Chanderi Saree dyed with Parijaat flower

Other usage of Parijaat Flower

Parijaat flower is one of the most precious home grown #herb used for various purposes. It is anti inflammatory in nature. Whole parts of tree right from its bark, leaves and flowers used as herb to cure different diseases. Its flower and petals used to make a tea or tonic to cure viral fever, cough and cold. Also used in arthritis as a cure.

A tea made from the Parijaat tree leaves, flower along with tulsi leaves is remedy for diseases like normal fever, viral fever, arthritis and cough & cold.

A tea made from tulsi leaves and parijaat flower (either dry or fresh) is very aromatic in taste and a treat for green tea lovers.

For more details or purchase stuff you can visit:

Sunday, 10 December 2017

"Bhatti Pooja" by Hindu Chhippa Community

Tradition of "Furnace Praying"

I was wondering what traditional hand block printing exactly mean!!

Since last one year I am visiting Tarapur frequently and this year during Deepawali saw a new dimension about the traditional hand block printing that it is not just a profession but a Pooja (Worship) for craftsmen, and they follow it religiously.

Sharing a video of #Tarapur Printers performing #BhattiPuja after completion of #PitraPaksh or #ShraddhPaksh.

When for the first time I saw that traditional #Chhippa Hindu community follows certain principles and #traditions in hand block printing.

Fortunately at the time of such process I was there in #Tarapur where Chhippa community belongs to the lineage of #SantNamdev ji a tailor by profession and saintly poet lived during 11th century in India.

During the 15 days of #PitruPaksh or #ShraddhPaksh every year #ChhippaCommunity refrain from #Bhatti or #Boiling process. After completion of #PitraPaksh they consult with Panditji and during #ShubhMuhurat(Auspicious time) restart Bhatti (Furnace) by performing its Puja with Mantra recitation.

When I asked about its relevance Banwari Bhaiyya said: Our ancestors were not fools they have prepared every rules and processes with certain reason behind it. There is an spiritual reason and matter of discipline behind it.

Its not just a process but a tradition full of discipline, spirituality and piousness.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Bagh Print: Magic of River Water

Bagh Print Introduction

Bagh print is one of the famous hand blocks printing craft of India, practiced in tribal village “Bagh” situated at the banks of Baghini River. Minerals found in the Baghini river water gave natural color more vibrancy and increase its fastness. Due to this local specialty Bagh print got geographical indicated brand status in the year 2009. Some 400 years ago few families of "Khatri Community" migrated from Sindh province in today’s Pakistan to Manavar and then Bagh. Another theory says few families of "Khatri" community from "Bherogarh" Village near Ujjain migrated to Manavar and then Bagh in search of new market to continue the tradition of hand block printing. 

National awardee late Ismail Sulemanji Khatri made Bagh print famous by experimenting with urban outfits and variety of designs. Before 1960 hand block printers from Bagh were known as alizarin printers because of use of alizarin in the dyeing process but now it is known as Bagh print to the world. 

Traditionally a combination of buta (flower) and buti (small flower) pattern is used in Bagh prints but today EcoFab introduced other design and patterns in this craft. Bagh print is basically a kind of alizarin & direct hand block printing practiced in various parts of India including Rajasthan and Gujarat. In this craft of hand block printing alizarin is used to fix red and black color printed on cotton or silk using wooden blocks. 

In Bagh print a combination of only two colors red and black is used in printing. First alum (Occurs red in place of alum when dyed with alizarin) to get red and vegetable black is printed. To get the red color from alizarin dye alum is printed as a mordant. Black colour is prepared by keeping corrosion of iron with jaggery solution in a pot for 10-15 days. Now a day readily available “Kashish” made from iron rust is also used to increase the fastness of black color. Few decades back natural alizarin were used extracted from the roots of "Al" tree but today synthetic alizarin replaced the natural one. In Bagh print except use of synthetic alizarin rest of the process still followed by Bagh printers.

Sometimes khakhi color is used in printing by processing black color with harada powder (Myrobalan) and golden yellow by processing with caustic soda but these two colors can’t be over dyed with any other dye. Bagh printing requires 12-15 days to produce a lot of 300 meters fabric.

Bagh Print Designs

"Genda" or Marigold flower design

Traditional "Buta" or flower design

Manjishtha or Madder over-dyed Sarees

Printing Process 

Story Behind Naming Bagh Print

Bagh print is one of the mordant and direct techniques of hand block printing practiced in the Bagh village of Dhar district in Madhya Pradesh. The Bagh printers were previously known as “Alizarin printers” due to use of alizarin for getting red color and to fix the printed black color on the fabric. After Late Martand Singh called alizarin printers of Bagh as “Bagh Printers”, since then Alizarin printers of Bagh known as “Bagh Printers” to the world. 

Other Attractions

Apart from bagh prints you can find other attractions in Bagh are:

1. Maa Bagheshwari Temple

One of the famous Devi (Goddess) temple in the region and a “Siddh Peeth”. Name of the village named after this very age old temple. “Bagheshwari” literally means the Goddess sitting on the tiger.

2.  Bagh Caves (Locally known as Pandav Caves)

You can find beautiful cave paintings inside the caves and also in the museum located outside the caves. 

3. Dinosaurs Fossils

6.5 Crore years old fossils of Dinosaurs found in this village. One of the biggest fossil park in the state is under planning. As per the local source till date more than 6000 fossil in the form of egg found in this area.

For Craft tour or to visit this area you can contact us at

Mobile: +91 9993091955

For Bagh Print collection you can check

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Natural Alizarin from Madder Roots

Madder Root Dye in Block Printing

Madder root is one of the rich sources of natural alizarin and purpurin which gives red and yellow color with alkalis and ethanol respectively.  Alizarin red is one of the most valuable natural dyes found in morinda tinctoria (Al Tree) roots but now a day not available easily. Madder roots though contain alizarin red but with the presence of purpurin or some other content it faded away other printed color on the fabric. After doing multiple experiments with madder roots to get natural red color in traditional hand block printing we never got expected result. In traditional hand block printing there are mainly 2 colors red and black is possible. Black is made from fermentation of iron rust & jaggery powder and red is obtained from alizarin (Today synthetic alizarin is used in the process) where alum is printed. Alizarin not only gives red color but also increase the fastness of black color printed on the fabric.

We used madder roots many times to get red where alum is printed in traditional hand block printing process but after multiple attempts we got little red in place of alum was printed but at the same time black color printed on the fabric got fade away in the process.

With conducive research undertaken by EcoFab with the operational help of Tapapur printer brothers’ Shri Pawan Jhariya and Banwari Jhariya  now we are able to extract alizarin red color from the madder roots using combination with different natural dye. Using this combination of 100% natural and herbal dyes now we are not only getting deep red where alum is printed but it also increased the fastness of black color too.

Maheshwari Silk Cotton Saree dyed with Natural Alizarin

 प्राकृतिक अलिज़रिन से रंगी हुई माहेश्वरी सिल्क कॉटन साड़ी

मंजिष्ठ की जड़ का ठप्पा छपाई में प्रयोग 

मंजिष्ठा की जड़ में अलिज़रिन और पर्पुरिन नामक प्राकृतिक तत्व होते हैं जो क्षार और इथेनॉल के साथ क्रमशः लाल और पीला रंग देते हैं| प्राकृतिक रूप से अलिज़रिन का मुख्य स्त्रोत “आल के पेड़” की जड़ हैं किन्तु अब यह पेड़ आसानी से उपलब्ध नहीं होता हैं| मंजिष्ठा की जड़ में अलिज़रिन होता हैं जिससे लाल रंग आता हैं किन्तु पर्पुरिन या किसी अन्य तत्व के कारण कपड़े पर छापे गए अन्य रंग धुंधले हो जाते हैं| पारंपरिक ठप्पा छपाई में मंजिष्ट से लाल रंग पाने के लिए कई बार प्रयत्न किये गए पर कभी भी अपेक्षित परिणाम नहीं मिला| पारंपरिक ठप्पा छपाई में केवल २ रंग लाल और काला ही संभव हैं| लोहे की जंग और गुड़ को सड़ाकर कला रंग प्राप्त किया जाता है और लाल रंग के फिटकरी की छपाई की जाती हैं जिसे अलिज़रिन (आजकल केमिकल अलिज़रिन का उपयोग होता हैं) से रंगने के बाद जहाँ पर फिटकरी की छपाई की गयी थी लाल रंग आ जाता हैं| अलिज़रिन न केवल लाल रंग देता हैं अपितु काले रंग को भी पक्का करता हैं|

कई बार मंजिष्ठा का उपयोग पारंपरिक ठप्पा छपाई में करने पर हमें फिटकरी से छपे गए स्थान पर हल्का लाल रंग मिला और दूसरा दुष्परिणाम यह मिला की छापा गया काला रंग भी बहुत हल्का हो गया|

कड़ी मेहनत के बाद आखिरकार मंजिष्ठा के साथ कुछ और प्राकृतिक रंग के मिश्रण करने से हमें प्राकृतिक रूप से अलिज़रिन लाल रंग की प्राप्ति हो गयी| एकोफेब ने तारापुर के छीपा भाइयो श्री बनवारी झरिया और पवन झरिया के साथ मिलकर यह सफल प्रयोग संपन्न किया| अब हम १००% प्राकृतिक रंग के मिश्रण से प्राकृतिक अलिज़रिन लाल रंग पाने में सफल हो गए हैं जिससे न केवल गहरा लाल रंग प्राप्त हो रहा हैं बल्कि काला रंग भी पक्का हो रहा हैं| 

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Puru hand block printing: A tale of Craft Innovation


PuruPrint is a result of constant innovation & new product development process initiated by EcoFab with the family of state awardee late Purushottam ji Jhariya. 

Puru print is a new hand block print technique developed by EcoFab & two passionate “Chhippa” brothers Pawan & Banwari Jhariya of Tarapur village in Madhya Pradesh. It is similar to ajrakh technique but different ingredients used. It follows the traditional steps in hand block printing with minor changes in ingredients used in Ajrakh. Puru name is dedicated to the legendary hand block printer Late Shri Purushottamji Jhariya who created a unique technique of Tarapur print a combination of alizarin & dabu printing. For this unique combination of two different techniques he got state award from government. 

Puru also means heaven and it is repeated many times in Rig Veda one of the oldest known written scripture to the mankind.

Generally in Ajrakh printing designs associated with geometrical pattern mainly stars, sun and other geometrical motifs. In Puru print technique motifs are inspired from the nature and includes a range of geometrical, buta-buti & animal motifs in the process which differentiates it from traditional ajrakh developed by hand block printers of Sindh (Now in Pakistan) & Gujarat.


Designs used in Puru hand block printing are inspired from nature and uses a variety of designs like animal, buta (tree) & geometrical patterns.


In Puru print first fabric washed with fresh water and then keeps it in a solution of oil, soda ash & animal extract for 12 hours or overnight. After washing with plain water this process repeated once again. After washing with plain water it get dried in direct sunlight. Now fabric is dyed with myrabalan (Pre-mordant) to get it ready for printing.

First outline is printed using wooden block with a resist paste made of lime and black clay. Second block is used as a filler either alum (to get red) or black (made of jiggery & iron rust) color is printed. With third block it is used to print black color in case alum printed with previous block or vice versa. 

Now with the use of fourth block red & black color covered with resist paste. Now it is dyed in Indigo dye to get indigo blue or dyed with rubharb to get rust yellow or brown background. After washing it kept for drying, then next day it is again dyed with alizarin to get red in place of alum printed on the fabric and to fix black color printed. After drying and washing with normal water fabric or Saree is now ready.