(Last Updated on : 23/10/2010)
The textiles of Rajasthan are ornamented with outstanding designs and vivid colours. The ancient art of textiles in Rajasthan uses fibers like cotton, silk and wool to create beautiful designs and textures.
In Rajasthan, as in other parts of India, the royal ancestry encouraged master-craftsmen to create the finest fabrics. The remarkable diversity of traditional textiles, both in technique and style, has survived even to the present day. It forms the foundation for further innovation in pattern and design, thus defining the aesthetics of the region and representing the evolving social and cultural values of its people. Rajasthani textiles explore handmade textiles that are mainly used for apparel. Century-old skills continue to produce some of the most artistic textiles in Rajasthan which are admired and collected not only by connoisseurs in India but are popular all across the world.
Just like any other region of the world, Rajasthani textiles also specializes in emerging some excellent fabric and the most precious one of the region is the tie and dye work which is also called 'bandhni' in local language. Tie and dye work, known as bandhej or bandhni is popular all over Rajasthan in the form of colourful odhnis and saffas. Rajasthani textiles have developed an outstanding range of colours and have mastered another technique in which the background is in light colour while the patterns are in dark colours. This is done by dyeing sections of the fabric in the desired colour with the use of a piece of felt and then tying. The cloth is bleached and only the tied sections hold back the colours. After this the background colour is usually dyed and the completed bandhni emerges, with dark coloured doted pattern on a light background. The red chunari, which is used as a veil by young married women in rural areas, is never dyed in fast colour bandhnis. An attractive design dyed in a particular style is the age old artistry that reigns supreme in Rajasthan. The art of bandhni is highly skilled process and Rajasthani artisans have come a long way in developing new designs and patterns every time fashion statement changed. Now the tie and dye clothes are one of the most exported fabrics of India which also carries the legacy of Rajasthan along with it.
Different methods are used to make the textiles of Rajasthan attractive and unique. Lahariya, Mothda, Ekdali and Shikari are the most popular patterns amongst all the styles of 'bandhni' and every design display a unique look and nature. Lahariya and Mothra are very much alike designs where Lahariya has long lines in various shades running diagonally through the entire piece of cloth and Mothra showcases a stunning checked effect with opposite diagonals. The human and animal figures depicting neatly in the dazzling colours is the identity of Shikari bandhni. Ekdali pattern displays small circles and squares in different shades of colour and the cluster of three, four and seven multi coloured dots make it even more gorgeous. Sikar and Jodhpur are the most favoured destinations for excellent textile works while Jaipur, Barmer, Pali, Udaipur and Nathdwada are still on their way to attain the best market for Rajasthani textiles.
Rajasthan is the heartland of hand-block printing as well. Spectacular, remarkable combinations of scarlet shocking pink, purple and orange, turquoise and parrot green, saffron and crimson, incorporated with touches of gold and silver steal the limelight in any gathering. Rajasthan textiles reflect the real core of block printing. Most of the work is done by hand only. The art of block printing and dyeing is associated with home furnishing and fabric for personal wear as well. The main centers for the block printing in Rajasthan are Sanganer and Bagru. The process of hand block printing includes artisans to soak carved wooden blocks in different colours and then paste them on the fabric thus creating some paranormal wonder on the piece of cloth. Delicate floral prints and designs made in vegetable colour is the specialty of Rajasthan block printing. The art of Khari or overprinting in gold is also widely practiced in Rajasthan. This makes the traditional form of block printing even more charming and contemporary in the region.
Rajasthani textiles come in a fascinating range of dyed and block-printed fabric which is further decked with embroidery. The women of Rajasthan have mastered the art of embroidering fabrics. In appliqué, different pieces of cloth are set in patched form together to make a multi-coloured mosaic. The exotic colours, shapes and pattern combinations against contrasting backgrounds make them unique amongst other textile works. Inspired from the neighboring state Gujarat, the mirror work in Rajasthan is also famous among the local women and people.
The main display season for Rajasthani textiles are during the fairs and festivals of the region. Majority of the Rajasthani textiles are sold in the Pushkar Fair, Nakki Lake Fair, Baneshwar Fair, Ramdeoji Fair, Janmashtami Fair and during the festivals of Teej and Gangaur. Tourists visiting Rajasthan make it a point to buy some excellent Raajasthani textiles, which are going to make their memory always colourful and bright. Rajasthan is a land of vibrant colours; these colours are a striking part of the Rajasthani life and are found in the bustling bazaars, in fairs and festivals, in the costumes worn and in the traditional paintings & murals. Rajasthani textiles are the representative of that myriad hue woven in the cloth. Be it the multi coloured tie and dye work or excellent block printing, Rajasthan astonishes the entire world with its skill and efficiency through its astonishing textiles and fabrics.