We were fortunate enough to spend the last week of 2019 in the bustling city of Jaipur. The highlight of our trip was undoubtedly the Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing (AMPH). Nestled in the lively and narrow lanes of Amber, it is a must visit for lovers of textiles, fashion and art.
The museum is housed in a stunning 16th century haveli that was revived over a period of 3 years from 1989. The owners worked closely with architects and artisans who carefully restored the building from its dilapidated state. They used homegrown, traditional techniques with magnificent results earning them a UNESCO ‘Cultural Heritage Conservation’ award in the year 2000. The museum is also closed during the peak of summer for yearly upkeep and maintenance which explains why the haveli still looks truly marvellous even a decade after they first opened their doors!
AMPH works toward reviving the traditional and ancient art of hand block printing using carved wooden blocks. The museum is divided into galleries that seamlessly flow from one room to the next showcasing different textiles used in printing as well as an in-depth study of the dyes, tools and processes that were used to create these stunning works. It covers various printing compositions, motifs and colours unique to different styles like Jajam, Bagh, Ajrakh and Sanganer with swatches and garments unique to each of them.
My favourite exhibit was the step by step display of the process of resist printing, dyeing, washing and block printing that was meticulously documented and showcased. Another standout was the mini gallery that shone light on hand printing with precious metals like gold and silver.
On the upper level of the haveli, there is a Demonstration Area where you can observe expert artisans hone their craft and explain their processes. We were thrilled to try out block printing ourselves, guided by one of the artisans, Salim bhai. A native of Farrukhabad a town in UP celebrated for its printing and carving techniques, he grew up immersed in the art form and has been in the industry for over 40 years. He was patient and spoke lovingly of the craft and skill behind traditional Indian art forms and was proud of his work in the field. We even got to take home a block print sample.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience!
AMPH holds workshops year round and also supports block printing research, documentation and artisan outreach in the form of publications and research programmes. To learn more you can visit their website: