You might have seen pictures of Alia Bhatt exuding elegance in an Ajrakh printed saree at the recently concluded Joy Awards in Saudi Arabia. Bhatt’s saree-torial choices never fail to impress and this time around she’s got the internet talking about Ajrakh, a distinctive hand-carved handloom art form that originated nearly 4,000 years ago in the Indian subcontinent. About 100 families in Gujarat’s Ajrakhpur and Kutch keep this tradition alive today, while several innovative small businesses showcase Ajrakh kurtis, stoles, and sarees through the Amazon Karigar program on Amazon.in.
The term Ajrakh comes from the Arabic word Azrak, which means blue—one of the most commonly used colours in Ajrakh printing. Ajrakh designs are typically adorned with geometric patterns, blooming florals, and symbolic motifs inspired by nature and spirituality.
The soul of Ajrakh lies in its intricate block printing process, executed with hand-carved wooden blocks. A water intensive, 16-day process of resist printing, dyeing, washing, and printing gives Ajrakh its vibrant spectrum of colours. Natural dyes and extracts from plants, insects, and minerals like alum and myrobalan are used to create these intricate patterns.
What makes Ajrakh unique?
Artisans soak scrap iron, jaggery, and tamarind in water for two weeks. This solution is then cooked over fire to create the black dye for Ajrakh. During the summer, the dyes expand the pores of the fabric, making it easy for air to pass through. In the winter, the pores of the fabric close, providing warmth. Each piece of Ajrakh is a testament to the dedication, precision, and unparalleled craftsmanship of the artisans.
Spotlighted by celebrities such as Alia Bhatt
Despite challenges such as availability of ground water in Kutch, Ajrakh isn’t merely surviving but thriving. Fuelling this renaissance are designers such as Sufiyan Khatri and Nikta Mishra, who are actively seeking to collaborate with Ajrakh artisans by blending traditional techniques with contemporary styles and designs.
In January 2024, actor Alia Bhatt wore a sublime Ajrakh saree made by Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla at the Joy Awards in Saudi Arabia, which has become quite the internet sensation. The growing popularity of sustainable and handmade products has helped propel Ajrakh into the spotlight. Today, there are various organisations and initiatives dedicated to preserving and promoting traditional handloom art forms like Ajrakh.
Ready to infuse your style with a touch of Sindhi heritage? Explore a curated collection of Ajrakh garments by small businesses on Amazon.in.
Garvi Gurjari salwar suit
Experience the essence of Gujarat’s rich heritage with this handmade salwar suit fabric. Made from high-quality cotton, the fabric not only showcases the craftsmanship of skilled weavers but also contributes to the preservation of traditional arts.
Teenaro Ajrakh print silk saree
Indulge in the timeless allure of this soft modal silk saree featuring intricate patterns in rich black . Handcrafted with precision, the saree beautifully showcases the traditional Ajrakh print by fusing trendy and traditional elements.
Shivani Handicrafts indigo print cotton mulmul saree
Crafted from mulmul cotton, this saree beautifully merges comfort with sophistication. Embellished with a medley of prints, including block printed Ajrakh, the saree is the perfect blend of traditional and ethnic aesthetics.
The Weave Traveller Ajrakh cotton dupatta
This cotton dupatta is a versatile piece of clothing that can go with any outfit. Made from soft handloom cotton, it features intricate hand-block printed designs in shades of blue and black.
Amrozia Ajrakh print dupatta
Crafted from premium rayon, this dupatta features vibrant colours and patterns that are sure to add a touch of elegance to any outfit. Whether you're dressing up for a special occasion or just adding a touch of style to your everyday look, this dupatta is a versatile piece you will love.
Diamo gold skirt
This long skirt from Diamo boasts a hand-printed design featuring intricate gold animal motifs against a vibrant backdrop. Crafted from premium fabrics, it offers both comfort and style.
Sheenaz Jaipuri printed wrap around skirt
This is a wardrobe staple you will use time and again. Made from 100% cotton, it is soft, comfortable, and lightweight. The beautiful Jaipuri print is sure to make a style statement.
What is Amazon Karigar
Amazon launched the Karigar program in 2017 to enable small businesses and specialised micro entrepreneurs like weavers, artisans, craftsmen to benefit from e-commerce, grow their businesses and, in many cases, revive dying art forms. Amazon teams collaborate with on-ground partners and government bodies to educate, train and skill this community in online selling. Today, Amazon Karigar impacts over 1.8 million artisans with a selection of over 200,000 unique handmade products across handloom, handicraft, hand processed beauty and gourmet products. Over 45 government emporiums, NGOs and trade bodies have partnered with Amazon Karigar.