Atlas a 400 year old craft that has been a home to the chippa community- a clan whose name comes from a Gujarati work meaning ‘to print’. Just a few hours drive from the magnificent city Jaipur- resides a village called Bagru. Where the village welcomes you with a rhythmic beat of blocks and the air smells of drying fabrics.
The painstakingly laborious but anciently beautiful process takes around 20 days for a fabric to be completed. The process includes washing - to get rid of the fabric impurities and then Harda is done which leaves a yellow tint. Think of it as a primer. Then the fabric is dried, where the fabric is laid flat in the sun. Then once the colours are mixed - the printing is started. The printing involves three steps, where the outline is printed first with the block and then the insides. Once the printing is completed, the fabric is left for drying. The dried fabric is the washed in cold water and then boiled with alizarine which gives red colour and acts as fastner.
Difference between Sanganeri and Bagru style of printing
The main distinguishing feature between Sanganer and Bagru printing is that Sanganer print is usually done on a white ground, whereas Bagru prints are printed on an Indigo or a dyed background. Local water also has its effects. In the water of Saanganer, the results of block printing are very rich dark shades of colour, while at Bagru one finds a reddish tinge in the block printed textiles. Water was (intentionally being used in the past tense) abundant in Sanganer; due to which dyeing, printing as well as washing could be done very easily. In contrast at Bagru, where water is comparatively scarce, ‘Dhabu’ resist printing and indigo work is practised more often.
Traditionally, motifs printed at Bagru are large with bold lines, as compared to Sanganer, where sombre colours and fine lines, intricate detailing are practiced. Sanganeri motifs are based on nature, while the motifs of Bagru are more often geometric.