India is a land of many cultures, identities, and traditions that we have followed since ancient times. Our culture is diverse, accepting and most importantly, it is vivid. The most prominent and essential part of our identity is the fabric patterns and prints created here. Prints from various parts of India have gained immense recognition and states have become popular mainly because of the textiles printed and patterned there. Here are some of the most famous and exquisite ones.
First, we have the regal and subtle pattern of the double ikat patola. These are famously woven in Northern Gujarat and places like Patan and Surat are known specifically for the handicraft of this textile. It incorporates features like leaves, flowers, animals, human figurines, architecture, and much more. It includes designs like Pan Bhat, Ratan Chok Bhat, and Gala Wali Bhat.
This is a prominent pattern that has been famous since the 17th century. It is one of India's oldest traditional art forms and was first found in the Golconda sultanate, Hyderabad, in the Middle Ages. The Mughals, who were frequent users of this pattern in the form of clothing, or canvases used as displays, called the artisans of this craft "Qualamkars", from which the term "Kalamkari" evolved. Kalamkari is most famously crafted in Andhra Pradesh. This pattern is created after 23 steps and the piece created from utter patience is definitely worth the effort. It is derived from the word ‘kalam’ which means pen and is named so because the pattern is a beautiful work of hand-painted artistry. It is so famous because most believe that the cloth, or rather the designs and prints have healing properties. The colours, the motifs, the patterns, and the narration in the form of art, are believed to create an aura that heals the soul, mind, and body.
3. Ajrakh Block pattern
Ajrak, most famously known as Ajrakh is a unique form of block printing found in Sindh, Pakistan, and Ajrakhpur, Kutch district, in Gujarat. These are rich and elegant shawls that show different and unique patterns made using block printing. The origin of this fabric pattern can be traced back to the Indus Valley Civilization. They found a way to utilize Gossypium arboreum, also known as tree cotton to make cotton fabrics, later used for printing. A bust excavated was seen to have draped a cloth, similar in style, texture, and design to the Ajrakh shawls. The motifs are seen to be incredibly precise and accurate and this is due to the carved-out wooden blocks used to print the cloth. This cloth has become the recognizing sign for Sindhis everywhere and is a symbol of pride, respect, and hospitality. What makes it so unique, is that real Ajrakh must have blocks that are perfect squares. All sides must be equal and have the same pattern when the cloth is reversed.
Madhubani or Mithila, is a type of folk art form and was first created by the women of various communities in the Mithila region of India and Nepal. This pattern is created using several techniques like twigs, brushes, nib pens, matchstick, and even their own fingers. The patterns created are of religious significance sporting designs of Durga Pujas and Kali Pujas. They also show rituals like marriage, Holi, and birth. These patterns contain tribal motifs and unique, bright colours that make it easy to identify these magnificent pieces. It is named after the Madhubani district of Bihar and is a major export center for this form. Painting on canvases, paper, bedsheets, and sarees are the main forms of expression here. They mainly depict people and nature and deities from famous epics. Scenes from royal courts or social events like high tea, weddings, birth, etc are also painted. The Tulsi plant is painted more often than not and can be seen in a lot of paintings.
This is one of the most famous designs today mainly due to popularisation by teenagers. It is lightweight and doesn’t feel heavy, and it is also made in cool, pastel tones and is one of the best choices for the summer. It’s a traditional embroidery art form that is created in Lucknow and is its best-known art form. Its intricacy sets it apart from a normal cotton kurti and the patterns are extremely eye-catching and gorgeous. It is created in three stages - block printing, embroidery work, and washing. One of its main stitches is the Murri stitch, which creates the patterns. Its origin in India can be traced back to the 3rd century and even Megasthenes mentioned its use by Indians. It is used to make things from tops and kurtis to sarees and bedsheets.