BATIK

Lying in the western frontiers of India, the Gujarat province with its 1600 km long coastline has been the centre for international trade since ancient times. The trade vastly depended on agricultural produce and products of fine craftsmanship, port of Mundra being one of the major stops during ancient and medieval period. Archeological Evidences reveal existence of strong trade relations between the port of Mundra and ports in Arab and Egypt along the Red sea. These goods were further transported to Europe through Mediterranean Sea. Until 1969, the port was still used by Haj pilgrims to commence their sacred journeys.

Due to flourishing trade in this coastal town, people from various communities and regions started inhabiting here. Amongst these were some of the craftsmen communities that saw great trading potential for their products, Batik printers being one of them. As a result, the town of Mundra had some of the finest Batik workshops.

The process starts with removal of starch from the plain white fabric. The fabric is soaked in soda and with thorough rinsing; the starch from the fabric is removed. A work table is prepared by spreading river-bed sand on a long rectangular surface. The printer begins block-printing with wax once the plain fabric is laid out on the table.

The fabric is dyed after the printer is done with the first phase of wax printing. Post-dyeing, the area covered with wax retains the base color, while rest of the fabric attains the dye color. Number of stages of printing and dyeing depends upon the design and colors involved. When the whole printing process is completed, the process is concluded with subsequent washes in warm water. The wax melts and it is collected in a separate container. Thereon, the fabric is sun dried. Each fabric is about 10 metres in length. These are rolled and stacked in the warehouse.