Origin: The origin of Bagru lies buried beneath the mysteries of Indian handicraft. As most crafts in India, this one too holds no authentic record to proof its origin.
Legend has it, around 450 years a community of Chhipas (people who stamp or print) came to Bagru from Sawai Madhopur (Alwar), and settled in Bagru. This community settled along the riverside Sanganeri. They played with clay provided by the banks of the river and soon it became a significant element of deriving base colour for Bagru prints.
Present Day: Even today, the artisans creating Bagru craft live together in a small village called Chhippa Mohalla (meaning printers quarters). They still live where their forefathers lived that is by the Sanjaria riverside. They are practicing age old methods thus ensuring survival of the traditional art.
The interiors of Rajasthan, at a distance of 30-35 kms from Jaipur, there is a small village titled Bagru. Bagru is home to around 22,089 i.e. male 52% and female 48%. This remote village is famed for three-centuries-old tradition of printing with the splendid efforts of artisans.
Process of Bagru printing: The entire procedure of Bagru printing can be categorized into four steps: preparing raw cloth, making dyes and colours, the printing process and developing intricate dyeing technique. Firstly, the raw fabric is washed off its impurities like starch, oil and dust. This step is guarantees even and good penetration of colour. Cloth is washed with paste that is made over two days. This is done by mixing cow-dung, soda ash and sesame oil. Locally, this step is addressed as Hari sarana. Now, the washed and dried cloth is ready for Harda treatment.
Harda, a seed, is considered to be the most significant element of printing and dyeing technique. This seed is powdered and mixed with water. Fabrics are washed in this mixture and this lends a yellow tint to the cloth. Now the printing process is carried on. Artisans smudge the cloth with Fullers earth and then dip it in turmeric water to get beige colored background. Post this, they stamp the cloth with striking designs employing natural dyes of earthly shades.
Specialty motifs are transferred onto light coloured background with wooden blocks. This is done in two styles – direct and resist style.
Bring Home: You can pick up these beautiful craft items from artisan fairs.