Dyeing in Rajasthani Costumes


Dyeing is a popular method of coloring cloths throughout India. But dyeing for costumes in Rajasthan has special importance for its specific types of tie and die outfits. Dyeing is a coloring process of imparting eye-catching colors to different types of textile materials in loose yarn, fiber, garment or cloth with a dye. Such materials are easily available in Rajasthan and shaped magnificently in colorful ways.

For more than 1000 of years, the process of dyeing has been widely used by people in Rajasthan to give a new looks to their clothing and decorate them. The main sources to obtain dyeing colors are from plants and animals. However, these days many artificial dyes are used for a wide variety of colors and to provide more resistance while washing. Many times during washing clothes and colors start disappearing. Because of this problem rigid artificial colors are used for dyeing. Different types of dyes are employed in Rajasthan for different fibers at varied levels for the process of textile production. 

Rajasthan is also known as a capital of dye-yielding plants and its river waters that have specific features to obtain the liveliness of colors wherein cloths are dyed.  All Rajasthani regions have their specific properties that are unique and vibrant due to the water quality and the process of dyeing. Traditionally, printing and dyeing centers were situated close to a river and other water sources. The final result in shades of color relies on different factors, such as contact to the sun and control of water. First of all, Greige fabric or organic material is used from the loom and in conventional dyeing method, commonly dealt with telkhar emulsion. Various materials are used to prepare emulsion like khar, oil, river residue, and goat or sheep dung. Then it is applied to bleach to make the fabric absorbent and soft for other actions.

A chemical agent, myrobalan tannin or harda powder that behaves as mordant, which is a cluster with water making the pila karna solution. It is used to handle cotton fabric with naturally low affinity for natural looking dyes. With the help of harda treatment, the affinity of cloth improves to easily dye and recovers dye-fastness. Fabric is soaked in different pits comprising the solution and even beaten for dispersion. Due to this a pale yellow color is imparted to fabric. Though chemical dyes are commonly employed in textile production, several artisans keep the conventional materials and dying processes.

Most natural materials used for dyeing are pomegranate rind, alizarin, indigo, myrobalan, alum, turmeric, iron tilings, kesula flowers and jaggery. Among these materials, the most commonly used ones are pomegranate rind, indigo and alizarin. Alizarin is of red color that can be seen broadly on textiles. Its main source is the root of rubia tinctorum and madder plant. Alizarin is evoked from the root mixes with ammonia alum to make a firm red color. Natural and unnatural alizarin is applied on fabric that is beautifully dyed in tamda. The specific amount of alizarin is melted in water to get the red shade. The fabric is immersed in a hot dye bath. As the temperature increases, red color grows in different parts of prints. 

Indigo or Neel is also used extensively in dyeing in Rajasthan and its surroundings states. The color is extracted from plants and their leaves. Natural and unnatural indigo colors are used for the dyeing process.