Textiles Of Rajasthan

Rajasthan, also known as 'The abode of Rajas' or as the 'Land of the Maharajas' is one of the largest and most majestic states in North-western India. The allure of the Thar Desert, the sumptuous traditional Rajasthani cuisine, mighty forts and palaces that have stood the test of time, luxurious camps and resort, intricate handicrafts, and stunning textiles is what attracts thousands of people from across the land to this illustrious state in India.

Focusing on Rajasthani Textiles, it is easy to see that all textile craft the state has to offer, has had an ardent fan following amongst tourists, designers, and textile enthusiasts over decades. The sheer adaptation of traditional motifs, colors, and embroidery techniques translating them into unique fabrics is what makes Rajasthani textiles so unique and distinctive. As a business, the overall production of textiles accounts for almost 22% of the overall state's business.

What are the most well-known textiles in Rajasthan? 

Block print & Resist Print Textiles

Sanganeri: Sanganer is a town south of the capital city of Jaipur. It is famous for crafts workshops that house the artisans who practice the Sanganeri block printing technique.

Sanganeri block print is done using wooden blocks that are carved using floral motifs known as butas, butis, and jaal, which are dipped in acrylic or vegetable dyes and printed using hand block printing technique on fine cotton. The artisans who practice the art of Sanganeri block printing are known as 'Chippas. They trace their origin to the Khatiwaris in Gujarat.

This hand block printing technique also has received the Geographical Indication status in India.

Dabu: Families living in the village of Akola, Rajasthan are well-known to practice the textile craft known as Dabu printing. This textile craft is a labor-intensive, mud-resist dyeing and printing technique that has been practice by traditional artisans in Rajasthan. It is the Indian version of 'Batik', another resist dyeing and printing textile practiced in Indonesia. Dabu motifs are inspired by the local flora, fauna, and day-to-day lives of the artisans. It is a painstaking process, which involves skilled artisans involved in stages right from the transfer of the mud resist print using wooden blocks dipped in mud, then washing it off, and finally the dyeing the fabric. The colors used in Dabu printing are dull, compared to Sanageneri prints, as only pure vegetable, mineral, and indigo dyes are used for the process.

Tie-Dye Textiles

Bandhani: Bandhani or Bandhej (in Gujarat), is the most famous tie-dye technique practiced in North-Western India. The word has its origin in the Sanskrit word 'Banda' which means 'to tie'. It's a very intricate textile technique that involves tying small knots using threads onto a silk or cotton fabric while creating distinct patterns and motifs on the fabric. Once the knots are complete, the next step is dyeing the fabric. What's interesting is that the areas where the knots were tied and then cut open after the dyeing process, don't catch color, leaving small dot-like motifs around the fabric. The most common colors used in Bandhani are yellow, red, black, blue, and green. When it comes to motifs, traditional motifs inspired by birds, flora, fruits (such as Mango, locally known as Keri), and geometrical patterns are commonly used in Bandhani dupattas and sarees.

Leheriya: Leheriya is a resist-dyeing technique that translates the desert landscapes onto fabric in the form of colorful diagonal or chevron striped patterns. It is mainly practiced in Jaipur and Jodhpur. The colors used for the dyes in Leheriya are derived from plants and minerals. Leheriya was patronized by the Rajput rulers in Rajasthan, who used this textile craft for their turban cloths (also known as Safaa). It's an extremely complex tie-dye process, where the most intricate of designs can take up 9 different colors and a skilled artisan over a month to complete.  

Embroidered Textile

Gota Patti: Gota Patti, also known as 'Aari Taari' or 'Lappe ka Kaam, is an embroidery technique that involves the usage of a golden/silver gota lace that is appliqued onto fabric using zardozi and aari techniques. In the olden days, the gota lace/ribbon was made from flattened gold or silver wires woven in the weft. In today's time, due to cost factors lurex is used.

‘Gotapatti’ is the cutting and folding of these gota lace/ribbon into basic rhomboid units, referred to as ‘patti‘ (leaves), and combining them to create elaborate motifs. These designs and motifs are inspired by nature, birds (peacock, parrot, sparrow), human figures(Bani Thani), and animals (elephant, horse).  

Handwoven Textile

Kota Doria: Kota Doria is a handwoven textile practiced by weavers in Kota, a town in the southern part of Rajasthan. It involves cotton and silk yarns to create square-checked patterns. Sometimes gold zari is used in the weaving process to add a luxury value to it. It's a very delicate and soft fabric.

The name Kota Doria itself indicates the origin of the craft. Kota, a town situated in southern parts of Rajasthan, hosts several clusters, which have been weaving delicate muslin saris, called Kota Doria or Kota Masuria. The word ‘Dori’ literally translated from Hindi, means ‘threads’. The town of Kota has the distinction of being one of the three fine-count cotton-producing regions in the northern part of India, the other two being Chanderi and Maheshwar.

Kota Doria has also received a Geographical Indication tag for its uniqueness.  

Charmed by the textile master crafts of Rajasthan? Well, come visit this stunning resort in Rajasthan and experience its allure firsthand.

Manvar is no ordinary resort in Rajasthan, but an abode when it comes to authentic Rajasthani cultural experiences. This resort in Rajasthan is a desert camp, luxury camp, and exotic private camp located between two distinct zones. With a farm on one side and the mighty Thar desert on the other. This stunning resort in Rajasthan is very easy to navigate as it's 110 km away from Jodhpur, 170km away from Jaisalmer, and 200 km away from Bikaner.

Each day is packed with an immersive cultural experience at this resort in Rajasthan. Manvar promises to give its guests the true taste of everything that Rajasthan has to offer.  

Image credits:
Textile Arts of India by Kokyo Hatanaka Collection 
Meher Jetley


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