From fascinating man-made edifices dating back to centuries gone by to age-old customs preserved through several generations of the population, the abundantly rich heritage of our country continues to stun us to this day. One such channel representative of India's bustling culture is the Indian handloom industry. Often overlooked by a large segment of citizens, is our country's long-lasting love affair with textile and textile printing. With the first recorded instance of block printing in India going back to the Indus Valley civilization, our country has been home to an impressive array of textile art forms, each with its unique story of origin, source of inspiration and weaving process.
While the realm of Indian textiles is interesting enough to pique one's curiosity, we'll go with a more contemporary answer for why you need to know about these prints. Here it is....you can only wear stripes and polka dots for so long! Especially when there are so many gorgeous patterns indigenous to our nation and culture, why would you want to restrict the scope of your closet to plain lines? And even if you aren't particularly fond of ethnic wear, take our word for it, the allure of these splendid Indian prints spans across clothing styles and types as well as fashion tastes. Think beautiful summer dresses splashed in intricate Kalamkari print.
But before we get to that, you need to know what Kalamkari actually is. Along with 7 other incredible prints that originated in India. So, without stretching this introduction further, I'm going to jump straight into this guide to 8 beautiful traditional Indian prints every modern closet should have.
Kutch, Gujarat; Barmer, Rajasthan
What Is Ajrakh Print
Ajrakh is a type of ancient hand-block printing technique, that found its roots in the present-day Sindh province of Pakistan, along with the adjoining Western Indian regions of Gujarat and Rajasthan. Ajrakh prints are created using natural dyes, and the colours of Indigo Blue and Deep Red are most commonly spotted, along with symmetrical geometric elements and black or white outlining for defining the design clearly. The pattern is repetitive and the print is put in place with the help of a grid.
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1. Ajrakh Print Cotton Top From Ajio
2. Ajrak Print Cotton Brogues From Ajio
Pochampally Ikat, Andhra Pradesh; Bandha Ikat, Odisha; Double Ikat, Puttapaka, Telangana etc.
What Is Ikat Print
Ikat is a type of traditional Indian print, which is created by tying and dyeing sections of the yarn before the weaving of the fabric begins. This leads to the apparent blurring of lines, commonly found in Ikat prints. To create an Ikat print, artisans make use of resist-dyeing, which involves covering the fabric in such a way that certain areas of it remain protected against the colour. The formation of the unique Ikat pattern of a particular fabric is dependant on the way the yarn was bound initially. Blurry or shaken shapes and lines form a distinctive feature of this print type, although there are several design subtypes within the category of Ikat.
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Woven Cotton Ikat Dress Material From Ajio
Cholamandalam, Chennai; Kolkata, West Bengal; Rajasthan; Madhya Pradesh etc.
What Is Batik Print
Batik print first originated in Indonesia and subsequently spread to various parts of South Asia including India. The resurgence of Batik's relevance in modern textiles is often associated with a course on the subject being introduced at the Shantiniketan University of Kolkata. Batik prints are created with a resistance-dying technique, which makes use of molten wax to print the fabric. Bits of the fabric is first covered in wax, following which the cloth is dyed. This leads to the waxed bits retaining their original colour and forming patterns around the dyed areas. The print is repetitive and often intricate with floral and ornament motifs.
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Kutchh & Saurashtra, Gujarat; Rajasthan
What Is Bandhani Print
The word Bandhani literally translates to "tye", which is indicative of how this delicate splash of print is achieved. Bandhani is a type of tie-dye textile which is created by tightly tying the cloth into several small knots with sealed thread, followed by dyeing it. This intricate process of weaving and dyeing leads to the tiny dot-like or line patterns most commonly spotted in Bandhani print. Bandhani is widely touted to be one of the oldest forms of tie-dye techniques, brought to Indian prominence first by the Khatri community of Gujarat.
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1. Magenta Bandhani A-Line Dress From Myntra
2. Bandhani Print Kurta with Palazzos From Myntra
Bagh, Dhar District, Madhya Pradesh
What Is Bagh Print
Bagh is a type of block printing technique by hand, which makes use of naturally sourced dyes and pigments to create a repeating set of pattern. Bagh prints typically consist of floral, paisley or geometric motifs, with the colours of black, white and red making the most prominent appearance. The designs in Bagh print are heavily inspired by paintings of the Taj Mahal, flowers and mushrooms, and the process of creating the print can be successfully done on a variety of fabrics, including cotton, silk and chiffon.
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Akola Village, Rajasthan
What Is Dabu Print
Traditional art of textile prints that originated from certain pockets of Rajasthan, Dabu Print is created with a mud-resist hand block printing technique. A muddy mixture made of gum, lime and beaten wheat chaff is used to block out areas prior to and during an indigo bath, thus resulting finally in a unique pattern. Despite the time-consuming and laborious process, Dabu print has reemerged as a trending ethnic-wear print in recent years. You're most likely to find Dabu print in Earthy tones of blue and Indigo, marked by plant or floral-themed motifs in white or the original colour of the fabric.
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Dabu Cotton A-line Kurta From Ajio
Telangana; Andhra Pradesh
What Is Kalamkari Print
With the literal translation of the word "Kalamkari" being "pen art", this traditional print first emerged in parts of Iran and spread to the Indian states of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat. One of the most beautiful and intricate techniques of textile printing in India, Kalamkari involves block printing or hand printing using organic dyes. This form of textile print is heavily inspired by elements of Indian mythology, with motifs centred around Ramayana and Mahabharata being amongst the most commonly found ones.
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1. Kalamkari Cotton Nima Top From Ajio
2. Kalamkari Fit & Flare Dress From Ajio
What Is Leheriya Print
You must have come across dupattas splashed with this beautiful, wavy print in the recent past. Leheriya print is a traditional tie and dye printing technique, that hails from the Indian state of Rajasthan. With the help of resist-dying, artisans create flickering striped patterns on an array of brightly coloured fabrics. The name stands for the structure of patterns typically created in Leheriya print, diagonal or chevron waves. Leheriya sarees are extremely popular in Rajasthani ethnic wear, but you can incorporate the print in your wardrobe in the form of dupattas, stoles or Kurtis.
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Leheriya Print A-Line Kurta From Myntra
So, before the season of summer rolls around, breathe new life into your closet by investing in these gorgeous Indian prints!