Hundreds of years ago, Rani Rathorji of Mewar established a village for the Chippa Community by the banks of the Beduch river. There was a temple constructed for them along with hundred houses. This formed the beginning for the settlement where they started the craft of printing on the river banks seeking inspiration from nature and everyday elements. Today around 200 people practice dabu-mud resist printing on fabric.
Akola is a village in Bhopalsagar Tehsil in Chittorgarh District of Rajasthan state in India. It belongs to Udaipur division. Located about 52 kms towards west from District headquarters Chittorgarh, 13 kms from Bhopalsagar and 339 kms from Jaipur.
Akola is surrounded by Kapasan Tehsil towards North, Mavli Tehsil towards west, Bhinder Tehsil towards South, Railmagra Tehsil towards North. Rajsamand, Nathdwara, Nimbahera and Udaipur are the nearby cities to Akola.
The village falls under a subtropical climate, and the weather is dry for a major part of the year except in the monsoons. The summer months span from April to June with temperatures peaking up to 45 degrees Celsius. The monsoons come from July to September. The winters are during the months of October, November, December and January. The maximum temperature at this time would be 25 degrees Celsius and the minimum is as low as 13 degrees Celsius with January being the coldest month.
The villages receive water supply throughout the year from the river Beduch and with use of hand pumps and tube wells. They also have good water storage facilities like wells and tanks. The nearest major railway station to Akola is Chittorgarh (COR) at a distance of 23 kilometers and the nearest airport being in Udaipur, at a distance of 35 kilometers.
The village is equipped with basic needs like a market place with small shops, medical facilities and temple. Schools are equipped to impart primary education. For higher education, they go to the schools in the nearby towns of Udaipur, Chittorgarh and Fatehnagar. It has a gram panchayat and the population of the village is around 15000.
A community center has been opened for social gatherings and events. Along with cement and brick houses, there are large boilers established with the support from the Government to assist the Chippas in washing and dyeing.
The old houses in the village are mud constructions covered with thatched roof tiles. A lot of people have moved on to 'pucca' cement constructed houses, some of them with cattle sheds. Spread with small eateries, tea stalls, provision stores the main road attracts a lot of activities. Small gullies run throughout the village and market places. There is a bridge across the River Beduch which connects Akola with other important nearby cities.
The culture of a place is a reflection of its society. Observing the culture of the Chittorgarh region, gives one a fair idea about the traditions and practices that are still followed by the locals. The festivals, the events, the attractions, all reflect the culture of Chittorgarh in one way or the other. Tourism has picked up in the last decade or so and the local people are generally quite friendly towards the tourists. Being a majorly Hindu region, all Hindu festivals are celebrated with much valor. Bright chunaris and turbans speck the area with the massive fort in black stone standing tall as guard of the region.
The region is richly populated by numerous tribes like the Chippas, Jat, Gujjars, Gadariya. The Chippas or the Nilgars - printers and dyers, printed coloured patterns on fabric using wooden carved block. They develop various printed textiles for the local use as well as outside markets. The Jats established themselves in the Indian desert of the present-day state of Rajasthan, India, many centuries ago. The main deity of the caste is Siva or MahÄdeo, whom they consider to be their ultimate ancestor. The JÄts are good cultivators, and several members of the caste held considerable estates.
Gujjar is a pastoral agricultural ethnic group with populations in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Gujjars settled in the state of Rajasthan worship the Sun God, Devnarayan (an avatar of Vishnu), Shiva and Bhavani. The women of the area are dressed in long skirts known as ghagra and long piece of odhani to cover their head. A lot of them can now be seen wearing sarees or Salwar - long Kurtas and odhanis covering their heads.
The menfolk are seen with dhoti-kurta or shirts and a turban called a 'Saapha'. The Saapha is mostly made of Bandhani printed fabric or block prints in black on white.
Falling in the Chittorgarh region, which is famous for its massive black stone fort, considered to be one of Asia's largest, Akola is a small town which has gained its popularity over the years as one of the premiere hubs of hand-printed textiles in the country with its unique techniques, usage of materials and motifs.