Textiles (MP)

textiles.jpgThe textiles of Madhya Pradesh are a part of the rich heritage of India. The weaving, printing and colouring of textiles of Madhya Pradesh have been influenced by the bordering States of Orissa, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, but at the same time they have developed their own distinctive style and individuality.

Hand Block Printing

Hand block printing is among the important crafts of Madhya Pradesh. The popular colours used in this process are vegetable and natural dyes like Indigo, turmeric roots, pomegranate skin, lac, iron, and other substances that create an effect that is rich yet subtle. These natural colours do not fade easily, permeate the fabric and lend it an attractive look. The Malwa and Nimar regions are renowned for their hand block-printed cotton textiles.

Bherongarh near Ujjain, has large printer communities who specialise in lugda, jajams, oudhnis and quilts. These printed quilts were also presented in the court of Mughal Emperor Akbar and were exported to Europe during the pre-independence days by the East India Co. Today in Bherongarh, a range of hand block-printed products like sarees, dupattas, dress material, bed sheets, pillow covers, table cloths are available.

Jawad specialises in Nandana prints which consist of traditional motifs in fast colours. In Tarapur and Umedhpur, indigo is still used in printing.

The printed textiles of Bagh located in the Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh, are the piece-de-resistance of hand block-printing. These are created by a community of printers called 'Chheepa' derived from the Hindi word "chhapna" meaning printing. The printers of Bagh as well as Kukshi and Manawar use vegetable and natural dyes, specially extracted from roots of "Aal" or madder. The resultant colours are bright shades of red and black and also occasional indigo. The blocks are made of intricately stylized motifs, which have evolved over hundred of years. These prints have a tonal and a three dimensional effect which is impossible to replicate in the screen printing or machine printing process. Bagh printing - a connoisseur's choice, has become a national and international favourite.

The other important printing centres in the State are Ujjain, Indore and Mandsaur.

Tie & Dye

The art of tying and dyeing fabric is known as Bandhani or Bandhej in Madhya Pradesh. This delicate technique represents the earliest forms of resist patterning. In this process, parts of the fabric are tied with thread or twined into minute knots and then dipped in dye. Mandsaur produces excellent bandhanis. In Indore and Ujjain also, craftsperson's produce exquisite samples of tie and dye.


Batik is a resist process in which the fabric is painted with molten wax and then dyed in cold dyes. Batik is done on a large scale in Indore and Bherongarh. Multi coloured and variously designed Batik sarees are popular and attractive for their contrast colour schemes. Apart from sarees, dress material, bed sheets, lungis, dupattas etc. are also made here.


Madhya Pradesh is famous for its delicate weaves in Chanderi and Maheshwari sarees.

In Chanderi, traditional craftspersons used silk as warp and fine cotton as weft. The Chanderi cotton sarees are ideal summer wear. Usually in subtle hues, they have a sophistication hard to match. In the silk "Zari" sarees, craft influences of the Varanasi style are visible. The sarees generally have a rich gold border and two gold bands on the pallav. The more expensive sarees have gold checks with lotus roundels all over which are known as butis.

Maheshwar on the banks of Narmada, is an important centre. The Maheshwari saree, mostly in cotton and silk, is characterised by its simplicity. The body is either chequered, plain or has stripes, combined with complementary colours. The reversible border of the saree which can be worn either side, is a speciality. It has a variety of leaves and flowers on the border, in karnphool pattern, which is quite popular. The pallav of Maheshwari saree is also distinctive with five stripes, three coloured and two white alternating. Nowadays these sarees are made in natural and artificial silk as well.

Tussar silk produced in Madhya Pradesh, is known by its Sanskrit name 'kosa'. Raigarh and Champa are important centres for tussar silk sarees and fabrics, where the weaving is done by the Devangan community. These sarees radiate a natural brilliance due to the fibre used. Brocade work is done with Zari to give them an ornate look. The pallavs and borders of the sarees are woven with thread, coloured in the Ikat style to give it a designer touch. Apart from sarees, a wide range of tussar dress material is also available. The Kostha weavers of Chhattisgarh make sarees called 'Mailooga' and 'Gamchha'. These sarees have simple designs and are worn by the Gond, Baiga and Kanwar tribals. For the Muria, Maria, Dhruva and Gadba tribals, the local weavers weave special dresses for folk dance performances namely Dhruva-Bandhipata and Tual. Special weaving is done using coloured threads (red and brown) of the 'Aal' (madder) tree roots.

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