Ajrakh Printing - All you need to know
What is Ajrakh (or Ajrak) printing?
The old block printing technique called “Ajrakh” is a legacy left behind by the people of the Indus Valley civilization. Ajrakh is primarily made in the province of Sindh in Pakistan and the adjoining territories of Barmer in Gujrat and Kutch in Rajasthan.
It’s All in The Name.
This beautiful fabric derives its name from the Arabic word “Ajrakh,” which means blue, one of the dominant hues in the Ajrakh design. But historians have varied views on the origination of its name. Some believe that the name originated from the two Hindi words Aaj and Rakh, which simply means “keep it today.”
As per a few other historians, it means “making beautiful.”
When Did Ajrakh Become Popular in India?
In the early 16th century, when the Khatris began migrating to Kutch district from the Sindh province, the art of Ajrakh started thriving in India. First, the King of Khatris acknowledged the beauty of this art. Then, he began encouraging Khatris to settle in unoccupied Kutch regions. Ultimately, from there, some Khatri families who possessed this art migrated to Rajasthan and settled in and around the Barmer province, including the region of Gujrat, and excelled in the art of producing Ajrakh.
Presently, the Khatri community is engrossed in producing the finest quality Ajrakh fabrics in the village named Ajrakhpur in Kutch. Their art also dominates the regions of Barmer.
How Is Ajrakh Made?
There are four basic themes that are used to make Ajrakh:
1. Teli Ajrakh
2. Do Rangi Ajrakh
3. Sabuni Ajrakh
4. Kori Ajrakh
The following steps are involved in the production of Ajrakh:
Saaj- this step involves washing the Cotton fabric thoroughly by soaking it in the solution of castor oil, camel dung, and soda ash. It is a complex process and can take a few days.
Kasanu- the fabric is then dyed in Myrobalan, a cold solution of the powdered nut of the Harde tree. This is done to ensure the dye stays in the fabric after the process of block printing.
Khariyanu- A resists composed of gum Arabic and lime is dyed on both sides of the fabric using wooden blocks. This process is called Rekh and is done to outline the shapes that are required to be white.
Kat-this step involves making a paste out of scrap Iron, Jaggery, and Tamarind seeds. Making this paste takes at least 20 days, and then it is printed onto both sides of the fabric.
Gach-gum Arabic, Alum, and Clay are mixed to form a resist that is to be printed onto the fabric simultaneously as the resists of lime and gum Arabic. This combined step is called Gach. Next, to prevent the smudging of clay, cow dung, or sawdust is spread all over the fabric. Then and it is left to dry for about 7-8 days.
Indigo dyeing- the fabric is then dyed in indigo and kept in the sun to dry naturally. The dye is applied twice to make the coating firm.
Vichcharnu-the fabric is washed thoroughly to remove excess dye and resist print.
Rang-in order to impart a brilliant red color to the alum residue portion, the fabric is boiled into a synthetic madder. For other colors, the fabric is boiled in different types of dyes.
Why Is This Fabric Considered So Unique?
Ajrakh is worn widely in the subcontinent region. The fact that makes this fabric unique is that it praises nature incredibly. From dyes to resist solutions, everything is made from natural products. Therefore, the beautiful hues in the Ajrakh are naturally profound.
At Tahiliya, we try to combine this customary fabric with fashion. We offer our customers the trendy designs of Kurtas made from supreme quality Ajrakh.
View our latest launches and check our trendy Ajrakh Collection now!