We started our survey with the research on ajrakh and after collecting the basic information on it, we headed towards barmer, rajasthan where the craft is still prevalent. We started the process by doing a lot of research on various aspects of crafts that together compiles the entire process of ajrakh.we all divided our topics of research individually so that we cover the minutest of details possible.
The good thing about the place was that they were using all natural products for ajrakh printing and are not in favor of chemicals.
We noticed that blocks are one of their main tools used for printing which has existed for centuries in many crafts, but the interesting part about the block used for ajrakh is the intricacy and detailing which makes it one of the most unique features of ajrakh.
Another important feature about the blocks at mr. Khatri’s factory is that they have designs on blocks from ancient time as well. One of their oldest blocks had design which was seen on the scarf from mohenjodaro’s time. Some of the colors that they are using had relevance in the ancient time as well, for instance the red color they had was used in olden days as lip color.
All the craftsmen connected with ajrakh have one thing in common i.e. their caste “ khatri ” and it was not only in rajasthan but also in the other parts of the country, mainly khatri’s are found doing ajrakh printing.
All the artisans were very helpful and considerate to us and gave their best support to help us gain good knowledge on the craft. They have been working on this craft since generations where their whole family participates in the making of ajrakh.
In the ancient times, ajrakh was mainly worn by the muslim sindhi society for their auspicious occasions like wedding.
To conclude, ajrakh plays a very important role in their daily life and is used in different ways by the artisans as well.
Mr. Khatri has been working in this field for nearly 35 years where initially he was working under his forefather’s guidance and after gaining experience, he started his own factory. His workers are paid well for the craft and are happy and satisfied to continue such a tedious craft.
Making of ajrakh is a very tedious and time consuming process. A total of 23 processes are required to fully complete the one ajrakh. Ajrakh is done on both sides of the fabric for home furnishings, and on dress material it can be done on one side only.
It is very interesting to know that a double bed-sheet, if done on both sides requires a total of 48 days for its completion. Each worker had to accomplish their respective task out of all the processes. The colors on the fabric brighten up after every wash and thus ajrakh never looks old and faded.
Ajrakh is now-a-days found not only in india, but it is exported to different countries like sweden, bangkok, netherlands, u.s.a etc. From their factory. In india their products are marketed to various parts of rajasthan, gujarat, maharashtra, delhi etc. In delhi it can be seen at fab india, delhi haat, globus, and emporiums etc.
The difference that we have noticed in the price of ajrakh from where it is manufactured and where it is sold is rs. 400-500 for a kurti.
Herefore by the end of the project we’ve gained a lot of concrete knowledge and information which has helped in the successful completion of our book. We hope we’ve been able to collect good information about ajrakh printing which can give satisfactory guidance about the craft.