23 January, 2020
Ajrak, meaning blue in Arabic is said to signify the universe which is believed to be an interplay of vibrant hues of the color palette: color red for the earth, black for darkness, white for clouds and blue for the universe itself.
Think of the moonless night sky, think of midnight, think of the absolute blackness of the dark, and think of the night sky…think of the star-spangled sky, against a stark blue-black background. Does your mind conjure images of the night sky dotted with magical patterns? This magic is what ajrakh (aka ajrak) is.
Deriving its name from ‘azrak’ or blue in Arabic, Ajrak printing is believed to draw its origins from the Indus Valley Civilisation. Tracing its origins to more than 4000 years ago, Ajrakh is a block-printed textile. It is resist-dyed using natural dyes like indigo and madder.
Ajrakh is made by the Khatri community in the Kutch region of Gujarat and in Barmer district of Rajasthan. Ajrakh printing is a heady mix of intricate geometric patterns against deep hued textiles.
Ajrak is a long legacy which involves 14-16 stages of dyeing and printing which can take up to 21 days to complete. More than a fabric, it is a tradition belonging to the Sindhi community.