Today what we know as 'Ajrak' was found to have been in use in the Indus Valley civilisation
It is said Ajrak encompasses the universe within it – blue for the sky, red for twilight, black for night… its geometric patterns are the stars… truly, poetry on a saree!
‘Ajrak’ is one of the oldest printing methods in India, with its origin going back to the Indus Valley civilisation. ‘Azarak’ in Arabic and Persian means indigo. So it was that blue evolved to be one of the main colours used in this saree type, along with red, black and white.
It was initially made by the Khatri community, which lived on the banks of the river Sindh. In the 16th century, the king of Kutch invited them to settle in his kingdom. After two generations, the weavers converted to Islam and settled in Dhamadka in Gujarat because it was close to the river Saran.
As time passed, the river dried up; the 2001, earthquake (affecting mainly Bhuj and Dhamadka, nearby) was the last straw… The weavers relocated to Ajrakpur in Gujarat. Today, the city is known for this specialised, formalised art.
There are more than 20 steps involved in the creation of the Ajrak. From the extensive cleaning of the cloth with soda bicarbonate and castor oil, printing with hand-carved wooden blocks to dyeing with natural colours and a final wash and bleach… The printing then happens on both sides…
The result: sarees that are truly unique and to be treasured….