Ajrakh is a complex textile printing process practiced in Rajasthan
. It involves a combination of various techniques including block printing and tie-and-dye process.
The steps include washing of the fabric, dyeing using a mordant, resist printing and a final conditioning process. A resist is a material that prevents a dye from percolating into the fabric. Resist is applied to the cloth according to the required patterns before it is dyed. The resist is made from clay or mud resin and a mixture of gum, derived from babool tree, and lime. Lime is added to prevent the cracking of the resist.
Various mordants are applied on the cloth and then dyed. Due to the mordants, the shades imparted by the dye vary, producing a rich colorful look. On the completion of the dyeing process, the cloth undergoes a conditioning procedure. The cloth is dipped in cow dung solution during the nighttime, washed, dried and sprinkled with water when in half-dry condition. This process is repeated four times for two continuous days. The cloth is finally washed of its impurities and dried to create the final product.