Sindh has been known for its craft since times immemorial. The ajrakh, a textile with dominant hues of rich crimpson and deep indigo is originally a sindhi’s art. Ajrakh printing can be laid back to the period of mohenjodaro where evidences of ajrakh can be seen. Ajrakh printing therefore being so old, its making has changed from time to time depending upon the availability of resources, weather conditions, nature of the craftsman, demand in the market and so on and so forth.

We have tried to compare different changes brought into the making of ajrakh and categorized it into 3 main categories which are as follows :

  • Traditional ajrakh
  • Present ajrakh
  • Chemical ajrakh

Initially ajrakh was named as teli ajrakh due to its unique and magical properties. When washed frequently the colors instead of fading, became more brilliant and luminous. It is surprising to know that the fabric eventually gives away, but the colors remain fresh. This method involves more time and effort which presentday craftsmen find very tedious and hence the changes happened.

Present day craftsmen have got many changes in the complicated process of teli ajrakh which are as follows :

Khumbh jo marhalo, a step from the traditional ajrakh in which the fabric was steamed is not done by the present craftsmen.

In the same way saaj jo marhalo which is the washing of gissi with soda khaar is not practiced anymore. This treatment was done thrice traditionally.

After this process the fabric is yellowed for the printing to take place. This process though still exists in the present ajrakh but the materially that were used traditionally are not used anymore.

  • Leema(Dried Lemons)
  • Gurrh(Molasses)
  • Irandi Ka Tel(Castor Oil)
  • Water
  • Oil
  • Water
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Drying Machine
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Yellowed Fabric

After this the chhapai jo marhalo takes place in which the first process was called kiriyana traditionally which is called batna now.

  • Goondh

After this process kut printing takes place in which the black outline and filling of black is there traditionally and at present the process is divided into 2 parts

  • Chunam(Lime)
  • Alizarine

There is another process called phulli which is same as kiriyana. This process is not practiced now.

After this kharhh printing takes place which is printing of red areas which is called kunkachekna at present.

After this the processes are almost the same except the dyeing of red which was called rang jo marhalo traditionally and is called gana now.

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Making of Alizer
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