Nirona (Rogan Paintin)

The village of Nirona, 40 km northwest of Bhuj, features several distinctive crafts (laquerwork, bell-making), but none more so than the award-winning ancient art of rogan painting, brought over from Iran 300 years ago and practiced by just one extended family in India in this village. The word rogan comes from a Persian word and means ‘oil-based’. The process of making colours to apply is time consuming. Castor oil is heated on fire for about 12 hours and then cast in cold water to make it a sticky residue called the rogan. It is then mixed with stone pigments to make different colours. The artisans use a six-inch metal stick, dipped in this paint to string together designs on cloth. One can find several designs on different cloths in the cosy workshop of the village. Of these, the ‘tree of life’ piece is especially famous. These delicate, detailed cloth paintings take months of work. Prime Minister Narendra Modi famously presented one fine piece to Barack Obama during the American president’s visit.

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