Bapji - The Head of the Erstwhile Royal Family of Jhodhpur

Bapji, the head of the erstwhile royal family of Jhodhpur, formally dressed, pays obeisance at the family temple at Mehrangarh fort.

Rajasthan has been associated with the production of colour fabrics in the Maru-Gurjar tradition since ancient times. Both men and women are fond of costumes, making events such as the Pushkar or Beneshwar fairs a spectacular feast of colours. Their sense of colour-aesthetics has led to the use of colours and motifs intended for different occasions. For example, the lehariya is a zigma pattern created in the tie-dye process that is specially worn in the monsoons while the phaganya odhni or mantle is intended for the spring festival of Holi. There are regional variations too: in western Rajasthan, Garasia women wear Garasion ki phag, a veil with a yellow ground and red border, and a large round in the centre. Mina women wear dhaniya chunari while Gujar women prefer rati chunri, and a Malan wears a ghaghara or skirt of asmani, dhani and chakari farad or yardage.

Weaver, dyer, printer, block-maker: all the craftsmen associated with the textile industry were, and are, highly skilled and have been producing fabrics and embellishing it for centuries.

Woollen fabrics have been made in north-western Rajasthan since very old times. The industry arose as a result of poor agricultural lands and a dependence on the rains, making animal husbandry the main stay. The need to shear wool off the skins of their camels, sheep and goats, led to a cottage industry of spinning yarn on indigenous spinning wheels, a job performed mostly by women. The woollen yarn was then given to a weaver for weaving. The woven textile was dyed and embroidered by the women.

The weaving communities consisted of the Kolis, Chamars and Meghwals. The Jat and Bishnoi women were highly proficient in embroidery on woollen fabrics which was done in cross-stitch using multi-coloured threads. Two or three pieces needed to be joined together to make odhanis. The woollen ghaghara was of a special variety known as dhabla which was unstitched and held together by twists of a coloured woollen string. Men too used the same fabric for garments to cover the lower half of their bodies while blankets were to cover their torsos.