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When all trees have been cut down, when all animals have been hunted, when all waters are polluted, when all air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money. - Cree Prophecy

Thursday, October 09, 2014


Jaipur  the pink city is an interesting mix of a little bit of metro and lotsa dusty town types..
while I will not bother to write about any touristy note that there are many more alternate places there..
The Anokhi museum near the Amber fort is a must-see place if you visit Jaipur. Its an amazing collection of various priceless hand block printing tools and fabric that were printed with these. Why this museum is so special is because you can see how its all done. There are artisans who will quickly carve the wooden blocks in front of you and  also let you apply those prints on fabric.
This very museum building is a restored 17th century Haveli! That this restoration has been done so beautifully and with old traditional eco friendly ways and the fact that this beautiful place stands so majestically and beautifully renewed is an assertion of the Old Indian building technique and architecture.
The exhibits in the museum are as attractive as the whole building itself.

Inspired by the detailed documentation in the Anokhi museum and multiple references to Sanganer as an important, historical hand block printing centre, we ventured into the gullies of Sanganer. 
Bad news here. 
Natural dyes were a dying industry – done only on specific customer demand. The reasons for this were the longer time taken for natural dyeing compared to chemical dyes and the quality and lack of water. Dyeing typically happens close to rivers as the minerals in the water contribute to the richness of colour in the print. The river in Sanganer today is a mixed colur of effluents from the chemical dyeing industry which has swallowed the natural dyeing industry. Still it was heartening to see many small  shops with men of all age groups chipping away at wood making wooden blocks with typical motifs. These beautiful blocks are more for the tourist market than for the block prints on fabric itself.
There is more of screen printing (and hence chemical dyes/pigments ) in Sanganer today also because it is 10 times more faster than the block printing.

Note: Sanganer is also noted for its hand made paper. Interestingly most of the hand made paper out here is made from cut fabric pieces and waste cloths! though we visited one such facility, there is nothing to write home about except that most of it is made for export market!