Indigo vats in Akola are usually built in pairs. The two vats are inter- connected with a shallow gully, ensuring that when the pieces are immersed, the volume of water that is displaced flows into the adjoining vat with no overflow or waste.

The phentiya piece is folded several times lengthwise and dipped in the Indigo vat. The fold opened in the vat ensuring an even penetration over the entire surface of the piece. Each piece is immersed twice, oxidised and then left in the sun to dry.

This process is repeated at least 8 to 12 times to arrive at the inky-blue the community requires.

On a bright sunny day it is possible to dye the phentiya three times in a single day.

The resist Mern paste survives this process retaining the print so in demand by local communities.


  • Title: Indigo Dye Bath
  • Date: 2009
  • Location: Akola, Rajasthan
  • Provenance: Craft Revival Trust Archive

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