Ajrakh

Craftsmen : Pankaj Shah
Ajrakh is one of the oldest types of block printing on textiles still practiced in parts of Gujarat and Rajasthan in India, and Sindh in Pakistan. Textiles printed in this style are hand-printed using natural dyes on both sides by a laborious and long process of resist printing (a method of printing in which designated areas in the pattern are pre-treated to resist penetration by the dye).
Ajrakh prints were dominated by geometrical shapes and use intense jewel-like colours of rich crimson and a deep Indigo, with black and white highlights. In Gujarat, the main centers of Ajrakh are Dhamadka, Khavda and Bhuj. The Khatri community has been engaged in this craft for centuries and the technique has been passed down and perfected through several generations.
Ajrakh printed cloth has some magical properties -- with every wash, its colours became more brilliant and luminous. In fact, old timers in Barmer say that the fabric might finally wear away, but its colours will still remain fresh.
The Original process of Ajrakh printing involved as many as 23 laborious steps!