Rajasthani Fabrics – Made with Love by Trembling Hands


Image – Carol mitchell/Flickr

Rajasthan is the heaven of cultural and traditional mingles. Textile is one of those cultural entities that make Rajasthan stand out and shine among others. The state has a multitude of local textile styles. 

There is not one but many regional fabric styles spread across the state. India’s textile industry is one of the largest and the oldest industries in India. The traces of textile weaving were found in Vedic texts and archaeological finds from the Harappan civilization. 

The Rajasthani fabrics industry uses cotton, silk, and wool as the fabric canvas to produce and design the marvellous fabric styles. The Rajasthani textile got the ‘Heartland of Hand Block Printing’ title. 

Bandhini Fabric

Rajasthani Fabrics, Bandhini
Image – maadhuri / Pxhere

The Rajasthani precise design cloth work is famous in the whole world. The Bandhini textile is famous for such work. Historical records suggest that the earliest examples of Bandhani date back to 4000 BCE. The Bandhani textile got its name because of the knots (Bandhan) on the cloth during dying. The weavers intentionally leave the knot even after dying the fabric, which has become a Bandhani Textile symbol.  

This print is in practice in Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh as well. This fine textile work is in demand in the entire country. The designs include red, yellow, saffron, maroon, and black motifs.  

The symbolism attached to this is multitude and goes hand in hand with the colour depiction. For instance, a red cloth designed with Bandhani printing increases the beauty of a Hindu Bride. Another example might be the representation of maternity via yellow Bandhani cloth.  

Chandrakala, BavanBaug and Shikari are some of the patterns on the Bandhani fabric. The Khatri community is the parent community that is responsible for the development of the Bandhani style.  

Leheriya Fabric

Image – Pintrest

The term ‘Leheriya’ derives its origin from the work ‘Leher’, meaning wave. The name accurately describes the textile. The Leheriya work focuses on clear and sober pattern designs created on thin cotton or silk cloth. This is predominantly famous for turbans, saris, and chunnis. 

The Leheria turbans were a fashion statement in the 19th-20th centuries. Every one out of five men in India wore a Leheria turban to show off their fashion sense. The Leheria textile industry got fame for its zig-zag patterns and vibrant colour palette. The print is still in practice in Nathwada, Jaipur, Udaipur, and Jodhpur.

Bagru Fabric

Rajasthani Fabrics, Bagru
Image – Wikimedia Commons

The artists who work on the Bagru textile focus more on floral design printing, and they use natural vegetable colours for printing. The Chippa community of Rajasthan extensively practises the Bagru print.  

The Bagra print originally belongs to the textile industry of Gujarat. It travelled with the chippa community when they migrated to the deserts of Rajasthan from the Gujarati mainlands in the 17th century. The weavers work on Indigo or blue-coloured cloth stylization to enhance the beauty of the product.

Seyali Bagru is a type of Bagru print that involves the provocative use of yellow ochre and black hues. 

Kota Doria Fabric 

Image – Wikimedia

Kota Doria, as the name suggests, is a textile industry based in Kota. The checkered square patterns are the speciality of the Kota Doria Cloth. The pure cotton or silk fabric is extremely lightweight, and the use of check patterns is a unique lucrative method.  

The style has roots in the textile style of Mysore. A Mughal army general, Rao Kishore, enlisted and brought some weavers from Mysore, and this became the beginning of the style in Rajasthan. For this reason, Kota Doria was called Kota Masuria in its initial days. The weavers often apply a mixture of onion juice and rice paste while weaving the cloth, and the application of this mixture ensures cloth durability.  

Kaithloon, present near Kota, is insanely famous for Kota Doria sarees. Although machines are in predominant use today, small handloom weavers got employment due to this textile industry. Not to mention, the emotional strings attached to the handmade Kota Doria is absent in the machine-made sarees.

Barmeri Prints 

Rajasthani Fabrics, Barmeri Prints 
Image – Gifts ‘N’ Things/Facebook

The geometric prints of the cloth make the Barmeri textile unique. The Barmeri has to offer a lot that does not resemble the typical Rajasthani textile. For instance, unlike the light floral colours used in most textile works, Barmeri is famous for its dark shades. Based in the Thar desert, the locals prefer darker colour tones as dark shades are cooler. 

This famous textile of Rajasthan belongs to the Sindh region, and these prints originally belong to the Sindhi Muslims. However, the art spread across the country along with cultural and trend shifts.  

The Barmeri print often dwells on topics or themes like plants, animals, birds, and nature. The bright and vibrant dyes used involve primary colours like red, yellow, indigo, etc. 

Sanganeri Fabric

Rajasthani Fabrics, Sanganeri
Image- iTokri.com / Facebook

Sangneri is one of the most famous textiles in Rajasthan. ‘A hub of block and screen printing in Rajasthan’ is what we call it. The illustrious folk patterns on the white cotton give it a traditional essence. Sangneri is famous for making tablecloths, home linens, bed covers, etc. The folk motifs printed on the cloth also have black outlines which enhance the beauty of the fabric. Figures and flower patterns use red dye to attract customers.  

The Sangneri bloomed with the British invasion of India, and the European settlers exported large quantities of Sangneri to Europe. Sangner in the pink city, Jaipur, is the originator of the style. Wooden block printing is the core method in use, and Calico printing is the other name by which we often call the Sanganeri block prints.

The most famous motifs include that of lotus flower, roses, sunflower, lily, etc. The initial weavers used natural dyes only. However, chemical colours or dyes are no surprise wing to the stark rise in demand and less staff.  

Mothara Print

Rajasthani Fabrics, Mothara Print
Image- Parul’s Fashion / Facebook

An interesting fact about the Mothara Print- the Mothara print got its name from the Moth Dal. The mothara print is an ever-flourishing tie and dye technique of Rajasthan with checkered patterns printed on the cloth with interspersed undyed areas.  

Rajasthan is among the best places to visit in the entire world. The earthly yet world-class cultural embellishments are exclusive to Rajasthan. As a traveller, it is virtually impossible to ‘keep your hands to yourself’ when you see alluring textile and handlooms everywhere you go. The modern-day textile industry mainly relies on machines. However, the actual textile of Rajasthan lies preserved in the handmade textile only. Although the hands of the weaver tremble, the essence and beauty of the fabric are still intact.  

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