The vast arid desert of Kutch is the birthplace of many beautiful crafts. Ajrakh is one such oasis in the sand dunes of Kutch.Deriving its name from the Arabic word"Azrak".
Ajrakh is a treat to the eyes in its rich earthy tones of Indigo.The word Ajrakh is also locally interpreted as the starry evening sky, rightly describing the rich complex geometric motifs.
Nature plays an important role in the making of Ajrakh.The making of an Ajrakh is like witnessing creation unfold.
The life giving water from the ever flowing river,
The constant energy from the sun,
The sacred vibrant colours from the rocks and the plants,
The hands of artisans,
The intricately carves wooden blocks from the heart of tree trunks,
Brings life to this fabric.
The constant sound of the wooden block being imprinted with force onto the table echoes and sounds almost like a heart beating.It indicates that the craft is still going strong.Despite environmental disasters and the widespread industrialization, the traditional craft of Ajrakh,its long and skilled process and complex geometric patterns have still survived.
Ajrakh is a proud emblem of the nomadic, pastoral community called Khatri, in and around Kutch
The craft has been practised by this community who migrated from the Sindh to the Kutch, since the 16th century!The craftsmen work in total harmony with their environment, where the sun, river, animals, trees and mud are all part of widespread industrialization, the traditional craft of Ajrakh,its long and skilled process and complex geometric patterns have still survived.
The process by which Ajrakh is created is considered
intuitive to the Ajrakh makers.
It is not merely a job for the craftsperson but a way of life.
The skill and precision with which the craftsmen does the printing
has a rhythm to it and is reflected in the intricacy of the design.
Today,the Khatri community is globally acclaimed for perpetuating the age old techniques of Ajrakh printing. In the face of climate change and globalization, there is a rising trend for all things hand-made, sustainable and an awareness of a product's origin and culture.Such movements and consciousness are supporting the 'Khatris' to preserve their long standing legacy.