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

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Balotra handblock printing: Rajasthan’s Bounty

During my Ph.D. thesis work visited Balotra some two and a half years ago. A town 450 kilometers away from Jaipur in Rajasthan well connected with railway track.


Balotra is a town of Barmer district in Rajasthan now a days famous for its cotton and textile manufacturing industry was once famous for its unique style of hand block printing now known as balotra hand block printing. It was once an important center of hand block printing providing printed fabrics to different sections of the society. Mainly rabari, maldari and lohar community get identified with their attire having fixed pattern of designing in balotra hand block printing.

It is the second largest populated urban area of Barmer district situated on the banks of “Luni” river in which local people saw flood in the year 2002 for the last time. Since then it is dry and no water is there in the river. Once many families mainly Muslim & Hindu “Chhippa” community were involved in the complex style of hand block printing but today only one “chhippa” family of Yaseen Chhippa is involved in the craft of balotra hand block printing. Today his son Akbar is helping his father and continuing this unique craft.

Printing on patiya (Wooden slab) in Balotra

Yaseen Chhippa received national award for his commendable work.

Pattern and style

The pattern and style of Balotra hand block printing is very complex yet beautiful and unique. It showcases the beautiful nature and culture in its designs and in process it is similar to nandana and tarapur hand block printing techniques.

Like Tarapur style of hand block printing Balotra hand block printing  is also a complex technique which is a combination of direct mordant and dabu resist technique using alizarin, iron rust, kashish, indigo and mix of pomegranate peel and turmeric (haldi) dyes.

Printing again to get desired color shade

“Anokhi” beautifully documented 20 different motifs in designing used by local printers inspired from nature. “Anokhi” has published a book “Balotra the complex language of print”, describing the significance of different patterns and motifs.

Balotra style of hand block printing and process is very similar to complex craft of Nanadna and Tarapur printing. Yet both have difference of geographical specialties.

In Balotra hand block printing traditionally fadat and Ghaghara fabrics were made for local women while in Tarapur “Nandana” ghaghra and “Jawariya” lugda were made.

Today one family is left in this work mainly produces running material, stoles, dupattas and sometimes bed sheets. They seldom do sarees as it is not very easy for them to do it with such a complex style of hand block printing.


Motifs used in printing are mainly floral and geometrical lines. Most of the designs are inspired from Mother Nature and traditional. The name of different designs are as follows:

1. Bahuliya

2. Bhalka

3. Boriya

4. Chameli

5. Genda

6. Gul buta

7. Gunda bel

8. Gunda

9. Jumar

10. Katar

11. Ladu

12. Libodi ki bel

13. Libodi

14. Maliyo ne fetiya

15. Methee

16. Nodana

17. Piniyari

18. Trifuli

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Jawariya: Technique or Block Design

Jawariya Meaning 

Jawariya means jowar ka dana (Sorghum or cereal grass). It is one of the fiber rich, protein rich and easy to digest cereal found in India. Joar is a very good food supplement for people who are suffering from blood sugar. It does not only helps to control the blood sugar but also helps in controlling the weight. 

Jowar (Sorghum) seeds on jawariya fabric

Jawariya is a very old and traditional design used in hand block printing inspired from the nature. It is used in hand block printing since many ages by traditional hand block printers specially by "Tarapur Printers". This tradition is almost 400 years old and still in practice. 
Once it was a trademark design of tribal people of Jhabua, Bagh, Neemuch, Ratlam and nearby places in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan in India. In tribal community red printed and pink color dyed "Jawariya lugda" (Tribal saree) is considered necessary during marriage. 
Without Jawariya design saree no marriage ceremony considered complete among tribal even today. Continuation of this tradition still encourages traditional hand block printers to continue production of Jawariya lugda. 

Jowar (Sorghum) seeds on jawariya fabric

Jawariya technique of block design
Many of us wonder that "Jawariya" is not a block printing technique but a block design used by hand block printers. This block is made in "gadh" pattern of hand block printing which means when block is printed on the fabric it creates a rich color background. For "Jawariya" design it requires a mastery in craft of hand block printing to get the better impression on the fabric using natural colors. 

Specialty of Tarapur

Though this design was printed in many of the hand block printing clusters but today "Tarapur" cluster made it famous for and thanks to "Jhariya family" specially Shri Pawan and Banwari Jhariya who still producing "jawariya" lugda for tribal community. In a light manner once Banwari  Jhariya told us "Hamne ab tak kai hazar shadiyaan karwa di hain :)" (We have produced lot of jawariya lugda which made possible thousands of marriage of tribal families). 

This tribal design touched artistic height in Tarapur with the magic hands of Jhariya brothers with intervention of designers. 

Transition from traditional to modern times
Now with increase in the demand from urban consumers jawariya design is now experimented with variety of urban outfits including Saree, T-shirts, fabric  and stoles. 

Jawariya Mal Cotton Saree

Jawariya Modal Stole

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Craft Tour with Dr. Jayashree Chaudhuri

Hit the road 

A journey to explore the craft of western region of Madhya Pradesh is nothing less than expedition to search for a treasure. This time we had organized craft tour for Dr. Jayashree Chaudhuri who is an eye specialist by profession and artist by passion. This time in our craft tour list was to visit Tarapur village a hub of hand block printing.

Our journey starts from Indore on 24th January by road via Ujjain to explore the treasure of Ummedpura-Tarapur village situated on the banks of river Ghambhiri. It is a very tiny village of Neemuch district of Madhya Pradesh located at 350 kilometers from Indore. 

When you visit Malwa region of Madhya Pradesh its delicious food is one of the attraction apart from craft and culture. We enjoyed famous street side sweet corn of Saver town while heading towards Tarapur via Ujjain.

Dr. Jayashree Chaudhury enjoying sweet corn

Picturesque Spots

We reached Ummedpura-Tarapur a twin village in the evening while exploring various picturesque spots during the journey.

Pious Shivna River

Tarapur: A lost craft village 

Ummedpura-Tarapur is situated on the banks of Ghambhiri river once known for 400 years old Nandana hand block printing. Nandana is the traditional hand block printing technique only practiced in this village by 100 families of "Chhippa Community" belongs to the lineage of "Sant Namdev" who as a devotee saint of 12th century tailor by profession. Some 10 years ago 98 families involved in this rare craft of hand block printing stopped production due to increase in cost and lack of marketing. 

Today only 2 families left in the production of hand block printing and 4 years ago they also left the production of Nandana as they were not getting orders for it. Today both the families are involved in Alizarin hand block printing a kind of direct & mordant based technique, Dabu hand block printing a kind of resist technique and Tarapur hand block printing which is a combination of alizarin and dabu hand block printing.

EcoFab is working with one of the family led by Shri Banwari & Pawan Jhariya belongs to the 6th generation of chhippa community involved in hand block printing and dyeing. While working with Jhariya brothers (Banwari & Pawan Jhariya) we have again revived the "Nandana" hand block printing. 

Visit to Tarapur

On the first day we reached Tarapur in the evening the journey we started from Indore. There are 3 options available with visitors to stay:

1. Home stay: On nominal payment basis one can stay at factory with minimal facilities available in a village environment. 

2. Stay at Jawad: A hotel with decent facilities situated in Jawad a small town 5 kilometers away from Tarapur. 

3. Stay at Neemuch: There are various hotels available in Neemuch a district place 30 kilometers away from Tarapur, ranging from Cheap, Budget and Comfort hotels.

Jayashree didi preferred home stay to feel the rural life and to gain the maximum information about the craft.

Dr. Jayashree with Master craftsman Banwari Jhariya

Stay, learn & co-create

Craft tour is not all about fun but also to stay with craftsman to see their work, learn about their tradition and if you are an artist its an opportunity to co-create.

Being a passionate artist herself Dr. Jayashree grab this opportunity to design the sarees as per her choice and imagination. Due to her artistic mind and knowledge about the craft master craftsman Pawan Jhariya asked me "दीदी वाकई डॉक्टर हैं या डिज़ाइनर हैं!" (Is she actually a doctor or designer!). On this comment Dr. Jayashree laughed a lot and said its the best compliment I have ever got and an honor when it comes from a born craftsman himself. 

We stayed in Tarapur for 3 days and it was full of fun, learning about different hand block printing techniques practiced by Jhariya brothers and co-creation. Dr. Jayashree also documented the story of Nandana hand block printing. She also visited "Sukhanand" a serene and pious place 12 kilometers away from Tarapur.

On 3rd day we decided to leave Tarapur though Dr. Jayashree wanted to stay for few more days but her pre-scheduled work forced her to leave for Indore and then West Bengal where she lives and practice as an eye surgeon.

Last but not the least, on the last day of our stay we had one of the yummiest local rural food known as "Khanto Khichado" (Sour fried buttermilk & sweet khichadi). Sweet khichadi is made from jaggery and wheat. It was one of the best treat one can have on 26th January the day when India got its constitution.

Khanto Khichado

If you are interested in exploring craft tour organized by EcoFab can contact us via email or can whatsapp or call at 9993091955

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: