Akola, a city which is famous for its alluring scenic beauty is the originator of the unique Daboo printing style that uses mud resist dyeing. Dabu printing dates back to 675 AD in ancient lands of China which then travelled to the land of Rajputana presently known as Rajasthan. Though the process is la- bour intensive and involves multiple stages of printing/dyeing, the outcome is a visual treat to the eyes. The skillful manoeuvre of mud resist (combina- tion of mud, gum, lime and waste wheat chaff ) adds to the charm of dabu printing.
The fabric sourced from the mills first undergoes a washing process to re- move the surface impurities and starch. The designs are then hand block printed onto the fabric using fast drying dyes. The mud resist made by com- bining mud, gum, lime and beaten wheat chaff is patted on certain areas of the design. To aid the drying process, saw dust is sprinkled on top which creates a unique veiny effect. Post drying, the fabric is dipped in the indigo vat of dye, dried and washed completely to remove the excess dye and the mud resist. The area coated with the mud-resist paste remains untouched revealing the original color of the fabric.
The motifs used are generally picked from the nature with Kahma, Kantedar, Lal titri and Dholika being the popular ones. Geometric shapes like lines, dots, and chevron can also be used to a significant extent in the present scenario. Initially, the printing was solely done on cotton but is gradually getting carried out on different other fabrics like silk and chiffon. This ancient hand block printing technique fascinates thousands across the globe and has paved the way for new designers to explore newer trends. Dabu printing is not only prominent in Rajasthan but it is noticed and well known celebrated among the fashion enthusiasts to keep the legacy alive.