Reliving traditions

Reliving traditions

Gorgeous colours, daring designs and lavish patterns… fabrics from Rajasthan are truly unbelievable! Each fabric relives a great tradition here.

A special form of pattern, which is highly valued for its intricacy of design, is Lehariya, which literally means waves of the sea that shimmer as the rippling water of an ocean in bands of two, five or seven colours.

Lehariya is a pattern in which an entire cloth is dyed in different colours in the form of horizontal lines. Kota produces a huge variety of designs rendered by this process, from geometrical patterns, flowers and creepers to animals, birds and dolls, contrasted with their backgrounds.


Motifs of flowering shrubs carry the imprint of the Mughal printers who, during the reign of Jahangir and Shahjahan, specialised in making superb stylised drawings of flowering plants. High quality printing in this format of dupattas, pagris and bandhani is undertaken in Udaipur. Cross-borders, pallus and odhnis also show a masterly handling of motifs to produce a harmonious and rich effect. Flower petal designs and curves are the prime speciality of Sanganeri prints. Some of the flowers used are roses, lotus, lily and marigolds.

Jodhpur and Jaipur are famous for chunari sarees, popularly known as tie and dye fabrics. Different methods of tying produce an astonishing assortment of patterns. Each knot is named after the shape it forms. The shikari bandhej from Shikar in Shekhawat is especially famed. When the knots are opened, the designs that spring to life are simply magical. The other patterns are multi-coloured squares named after a favourite Indian sweet and the swirling feather-light doria sarees.

From the sandy deserts of Barmer come the geometrical ajrak prints with dark blue and red shades. The fabric from Chittorgarh has rich mosaic patterns in black, red and olive green.

Sandalwood blocks too leave their lingering fragrance. Textiles are hand printed in the courtyards of homes. Kota sarees are ideal summer wear. Bagru, a small nondescript town near Jaipur, also produces a variety of designs in glowing vegetable colours, printed on bedspreads, tablecloths and clothes.

Rajasthan has flooded the textile market with stunning designs in dark glowing printed colours and elaborate patterns inlaid with beads and tiny mirrors. It will forever remain a shoppers’ paradise for centuries to come!   

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