Sanganeri Printing

The Sanganer


Sanganer is situated about 8 kilometers south-east of Jaipur city. Prior to the 17th century, there is no mention of Sanganer as a centre of printing. At that time Sanganer was known as a centre of plain and dyed clothes. It was probably towards the end of the 17th century that this art form developed here. Probably due to war with Emperor Auranngzeb and the repeated invasions of the Marathas, many craftsmen (Printers) from the neighboring state Gujarat came and settled in Rajasthan. By the end of the 18th century this industry was fully developed in Sanganer. It is famous for dyeing and printing of colorful dresses, bed sheets, curtains, dress material and variety of other textiles. Bulk of the textile products of these industries is exported. The total area of Sanganer is about 635.5 Sq. km out of which, 12.9 Sq. km comprises the urban area. Most of the textile industries of Sanganer are concentrated in this urban area. There are estimated to be around 500 block and screenprinting units in Sanganer. There are at present, about 125 hand block printing units in Sanganer. Sanganer was renowned for its small decorative and delicate floral patterns, called, 'boota-booties' which was printed on fine cotton and silk.

The dyers and block makers came from Sindh and Punjab and settled here. The printers belong to chhipa community. They are all Hindus and are followers of the renowned Marathi Saint Namdev. Almost every member of the 'Chippa' family is involved in the washing, dyeing and printing of clothes. While, the printers are predominantly Hindus, majority of dyers and block makers are Muslims.Water of the Saraswati River that used to flow graciously through Sanganer, was known for its special quality that used to bring out radiance from the natural dyed fabric. This was major source of inspiration for the printing community.

In older days, the fabric was printed mainly for use of royal families and rich traders but now it is used as part of clothing for urban families and also exported. The principal items printed here include sarees, dupattas, salwar-kameez, bed cover, curtains, scarves, and printed yardages (running cloth material), etc. Both local and imported cloth material are used. At present, 'mulmu' (cotton voile), 'latha' (sheeting fabrics) and cambric etc. are sourced from Jaipur.On Sanganeri 'chintz' (printed cloth) usually, yellow, green blue (with different tones) are used as the background. These days one rarely comes across the variety of shades that were found in the old Sanganeri 'chintz' but still the 'chhip'; for sanganer have the incomparable know-how of matching the back ground on base colour with colours of the prints.