Bagru, now a town on the Ajmer highway out of Jaipur has a long tradition of block printing by hand on cotton fabric. This is different from the Sanganeri Block Printing as these are printed on black and red background. In the past, these prints were essentially used by the local community. Colour and motif often denoted caste, community and marital status.
These prints traditionally were in combinations of deep red, iron black and indigo blue highlighted with green and yellow, and mud-resist used to conserve areas of white ground. In building up patterns, geometrical forms were adopted along with floral, animal and bird motifs.
Bagru Black – This is derived by mixing acidic solution of iron – often rusted nails/horse shoes etc. with jaggery (country sugar) allowed to rot for about 10-15 days. - Many other natural substances used for producing dyes are pomegranate skins, bark of mango tree, vinegar, slaked lime etc.
Indigo Blue – The internationally famous Bagru Blue is obtained from the indigo bush found throughout India.
Bagru Red – This dye is achieved by combining a source material such as alizarin with alum, the results ranging from pink to deep red.
Bagru is famous for its Syahi-Begar prints and Dabu prints. The Syahi-Begar Prints are designs in a combination of black and yellow ocher or cream. The Dabu Prints are prints in which portions are hidden from the dye by applying a resist paste. Even though the traditional printing processes of bleaching resist and colour printing and dyeing have continued, many of the natural ingredients have been substituted with chemical, though some craftsmen still use the original methods. Despite the simplicity of motif and limited colour palette, the earthy quality of Bagru prints continued to appeal. Traditional use of barge fabric was fadats and lugdis for ghaghara, dopatta or angocha (shoulder cloth), jajams and bichhaunis (floor coverings).
Here’s an informative documentary on the current status of Bagru block printing.
Bagru is just 30 kms away from Jaipur.