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Cluster Brief

Bagh Print Cluster, Dhar, Madhya Pradesh

This unique craft of thappa chappai or

Bagh Print Cluster, Dhar, Madhya Pradesh

This unique craft of thappa chappai or block printing with natural colours, has evolved from a rudimentary tribal art indicating the vast and rich cultural diversity of the country.

Bagh in Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh is a small village situated at the bank of river ‘Baghin’. It is about a hundred and fifty kilometres from Indore. ‘Bagh’ as the name suggests, is derived from the village Bagh, situated on the banks of the Bagh River. The Bagh print fabric has geometric and floral designs. Bagh’s proximity to the river was an important reason for their choice as flowing river water is vital to the process of printing. Bagh caves situated very close to the village are renowned for mural paintings by master painters of ancient India. Bagh has always been associated with this printing style as Ismail Khatri is the leading craftsman who migrated to Bagh village with his group in the 1960s. He then gave shape and a new approach to the block printing technique which was then in practice in a rudimentary form among 80 percent of the tribal people. According to local artisans, some of the wooden blocks they used are two to three hundred years old.  The cluster at present actively holds 400 artisans, who are involved in making of block printing on Tussar, crepe, silk, and georgette. These are an all-time wear as they can be used in all seasons and climates. Clothing Products like sarees, salwar suits take up to 3 days to be ready whereas dupattas, scarves, kurtas take up to 2 days.  What makes this craft form even more special is its environment friendly approach, as the garments are all naturally dyed through vegetables and seasoned with flowers like Alizarin and Dhayadi.