The Handicrafts of Gujarat

Mata-Ni-Pacchedi (Kalamkari)

Among the most popular in Gujarat is the Mata-ni-Pacchedi ritual textiles produced by the Vaghri community to celebrate the mother goddess. The shaman falls into a trance dancing in front of the image (always in profile) of the goddess depicted in the pacchedi during ritual chants and animal sacrifice. The images are hand- painted on the fabric. Primary colours used in the pacchedi were red, black and beige. The craft originated in Viramgam town in the 1950s.Today, it features a fresher palette of colours and is used to make bed covers, apparel, curtains and table linen.gujarat-textile-3

Tie and Dye

A Gujarati bride looking to buy a bridal bandhani (tie and dye) will always opt for one from Jamnagar. The lovely gharchola odhni (in red or green with scatterings of white and yellow dots and pretty motifs) is imbued with many auspicious elements. Bandhani can be sourced out of Kutch and Surendranagar districts as well, but because of the mineral-imbued waters of the Rangmati and Nagmati, the bandhanis of Jamnagar are the most favoured. The beauty of bandhani fabric is timeless in its appeal.

The method entails gathering up bunches of fabric with strings and immers­ing them in a dye tub. When done and unfolded, the entire swathe of fabric has magical patterns appear in different hues. The process is laborious and takes a few months. It’s a true-cottage industry – often with the entire family pitching in to handle different aspects of the long, drawn-out process. For special occasions you can buy bandhini odhnis and cholis jazzed up with beads, mirror work, tassles, etc.

Gujarat’s Navratri celebration is an excellent time to discover the variety of bandhanis in the market – from the beau­tiful lehriya (wave-like print) to the zari kyra patterns which feature motifs from nature, created by the Bhatia community. Bandhani work is featured on super-fine muslin (mulmul) and is also available in other fabrics like silk and wool.

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