The exotic tradition of tents has touched the spirit and soul of many different cultures, capturing the imagination of nomads and free spirits throughout the world. North American Indians, Bedouins, Romans, Ottomans, Arabs, Tibetans, Mongols, Mughals and Maharajas have all favoured the romance of life under canvas. These tents offered the ultimate in luxurious hospitality, often serving as royal structures for the Maharajas and their courts, and were used to entertain for a variety of occasions.Today, the tents are still used at palaces, private properties, gardens and resorts. And there are still Safari and Tented Camps in India at which travellers are welcome
For centuries they have been host to royal weddings, religious ceremony, polo events, hunting parties on safari, and dessert encampments.Ceremonial tents became the symbol of wealth and rank and the centerpiece of religion and society – a place to talk, to play, to communicate. Tents were often the most precious possessions – dwellings of both utility and luxury. The history of tents is long and widespread, mentioned in holy literature, recorded in poetry, depicted in art, and used as a form of art in expressing the lives of ancient cultures.
The Mughal Emperor Akbar, is said to have lavishly patronized art during his era.His style was a mixture of Persian and Indian motifs which gets reflected in the magnificent tents, carpets and furniture captured by the Ottoman army in the 17th Century. The Sultan had his court in a huge encampment of hundreds; even thousands of tents; at the centre of which was the “Tented Palace” called the “Imperial Tent Complex.” The imperial tents were pavilions, walled in by a symbolic rampart of cloth and recognized by their size and the splendor of their decoration – both inside and out. Around the royal enclosure were grouped together imposing tent of diminishing size belonging to high-ranking officers and officials. Within the royal enclosure is a great variety of tents of differing size and function, including a kitchen tent, dining tent, women’s tent, bath tents, toilet tents and stable tents.
A Printer is a Printer by caste and by trade. A Printer prints because it is his way of life. Many days are required to move a piece of cotton fabric through all the complicated steps of tanning and registering, curing and washing, resisting and dyeing. Hand block printing is a skilled and laborious process.
Printers at Garg Tents explain that they enjoy the challenge of doing high-quality work, as long as customers recognize the quality and are willing to pay for it. The designs often provide challenges for the printers. This technique simulates a wooden block on which the required design is first carved. The carved block is then used for transferring the motif in the desired colour on the fabric. This process is most effective on ethnic floral patterns and for printing in vegetable dyes in traditional Bagru and Kalamkari prints. Each colour in a design is printed on to the fabric separately - one block each for each colour.
Hand-block printed fabric designs of north India are some of the best known traditional manufactures of India. Archeological remains from the Indus Valley civilizations in the 3rd millennium BCE include cotton fragments dyed with ‘madder’, the same earthy red pigment which features in many of our hand block printed products. Dye vats, spindles & bronze needles found at sites like Mohenjo-daro indicate highly developed fabric work.
Indian textiles were carried along the great trade routes of the Ancient World, becoming highly prized in the Persian, Greek & Roman civilizations for their brilliant colours.
Special expertise in the complex process of hand block printed fabrics developed in the Rajasthan to service myriad royal courts in India. Many of those designs outlasted the rise and fall of other fashions and became a staple of home furnishings in Europe.
Modern industrial methods threatened every traditional handicraft, including hand block printing, with extinction. Mahatma Gandhi made strenuous efforts to support traditional handicrafts, especially fabric production. If he had had his way the center of the modern Indian flag would have been occupied by a simple spinning wheel, not the more martial chariot wheel. Gandhi believed that rapid industrial growth, driving people from the villages to the cities, robbing them of autonomy and cultural identity, was not the appropriate form of development for India.
He wanted to sustain and enrich village life and traditional culture. He accepted that science and industry offered many benefits to the people, but not at the expense of their fundamental livelihoods. At the time many as hopelessly idealistic regarded him yet his views can be seen reflected in the support the Government of India still gives to small-scale cottage industries..
You can clearly see Gandhi’s analysis played out in the field of hand block printing. Modern industry in the form of screen printers were able to take the classic hand block designs and reproduce them much more cheaply. A centuries old artisan tradition virtually died.
However US and European health concerns led to restrictions on the use of certain screen printing dyes. The cost implications for many Indian screen print manufacturers meant that Europe, US and other major markets were effectively now closed, forcing them to shut many of their units as a result. The Government of India has actively sought to revive the traditional art of hand block printing as part of a strategy to address economic damage to the fabric screen print industry.
How to reach us:
Air : Nearest domestic airport is Chandigarh and all major airlines daily operate flights form Delhi, Rajasthan, Mumbai etc.
Rail : An excellent connection to Delhi by Shatabdi Express and many other fast trains and can be reach in two and half hours.
Road : A network of comfortable tourist buses from New Delhi, run by road corporations of Haryana, Rajasthan and other states and can be reach in three hours. Hiring a taxi would be an excellent idea.