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Patola Sarees; the Grace of Gujarat

by Ankit Jain

Patan the place in Gujarat is famous for its Patola Saree. Patola sarees are the hand made Sarees which are created in large quantities in Patan. Patola Sarees are famed for its subtle, attractive and clear pattern which is done with great precision and skill. These sarees are prepared with handlooms, and so according to the design and pattern, it takes time to produce this saree. Even surat is famous for the making of Patola Sarees; the pride of Gujarat.

Historical evidences show that Patola sarees have existed since at the thirteenth century and have always had upper-class and ritualistic associations. The walls of some south Indian temples, such as at Mattancheri (Kerala) and Padmanabhapuram (southern Tamil Nadu) exhibit eighteenth-century depictions of Patola designs. Gujarat is believed to have exported Patola sarees to South-East Asia since the fourteenth century. Traditionally crafted by the Hindu Salvi caste and traded to South-East Asia by the Muslim Vohra community, these expensive, high-status sarees were worn by the Vohras and wealthy Jains and Hindus (Brahmins and Bhatia traders) in weddings and other auspicious events. Slowly the Patola Sarees became a status symbol among Gujarati girls and graduated as an indispensable part of the women closet.

The patola saree is one of the best hand-woven sarees created today. Patola silk sarees are the pride of Gujarat. These sarees are fashioned by using the resist dying technique. There are two types of Patola sarees:

  • Rajkot Patola: This is only vertically resist dyed (single ikat).
  • Patan Patola: This is horizontally-resist dyed (double ikat).

Patola Sarees are recognized for their blazing bright colors and geometric designs interweaved with folk motifs. Every patola saree is one of its kinds as it is fashioned completely with the imagination and expertise of the weaver.

Fabric in Patola Saree:

Patola saree is woven from silk known as the patola silk. The patola silks are still made by a handful of master weavers from Patan and Surat known for their zari work.

The Process:

A Patola Saree takes 4 to 6 months to make, depending on how complex the design is. The Patan patola is done in the Double ikat style, which is possibly the most intricate textile design in the world. Every fabric consists of a sequence of warp threads and a lone weft thread, which binds the warp threads collectively. Each one of the warp threads is tied and dyed according to the pattern of the saree, such that the knotted sections of the thread do not catch the colours. The result is that both sides of the saree look precisely similar as if it is printed on both sides with identical designs, and can be worn both ways.

Design and Colour

The weaving is done on plain conventional handlooms, and the dyes used are made from vegetable extracts and other ordinary colours. Flowers, animals, birds and human figures form the fundamental design. Nowadays, there are new geometrical designs using the vegetable dye as well as chemical dyes. Patola Silk Sarees with vivid colours are also enriched with zardosi, kundan, sequins. The designs of Patola sarees have a wide range of variants. The designs of this saree principally fall into three types that comprise purely geometric forms, reminiscent of Islamic architectural embellishments and ajrak (complex geometric print designs of the Sind), such as the navaratna bhat (nine jewels design). Other designs that are included in the Patola sarees are the floral and vegetal patterns. These gratified the needs of the Muslim market which spurned depictions of animals and people, such as the Vohra bhat (Vohra community design), paan bhat (paan leaf or peepal tree leaf design), and chhaabdi bhat (floral basket design). The Patola sarees are also designed with patterns that portray forms as the nari (dancing woman), kiinjar (elephant) and popat (parrot). Among the Vohra Muslims, a version of Patola sarees is used as their marriage sarees.

The cost of this saree is very high and thus few people can afford to buy this sarees. Therefore due to its expensive exquisiteness, it has become a status symbol to wear this saree. One can wear this saree to formal occasions as well as to weddings to enhance her appearance and status.

Thus, Patola Sarees are the most time-consuming and intricate sarees produced in the western region. These sarees may have elaborate five-colour designs, resist-dyed into both warp and weft threads before weaving, ensuing in an entirely reversible fabric. The sarees are produced with great meticulousness and excellence by the artisans of the western region. Patola saree is a gorgeous saree which you can where for any formal occasion. Moreover, the Patola sarees are expansively used in each region for the diversity and the designs they manifest. As the custom exemplifies, the sarees have accomplished a grand position in the list of Indian Traditional Sarees, indeed becoming the pride of Gujarat.

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This entry was posted in Knowledge Base, Sarees

Comments

  1. Sunny says:

    Very much informative for me, As I was not aware with this form of sarees. I think in India saree is also one of the topic for research.

  2. Suresh Patola says:

    The blog is really useful and gives good information about Gujarat Heritage – Patola Silk Saree

  3. Designer Indian Wear says:

    The Patola Sarees are most popular and wearable in Gujarat. Mostly wearable at the occasion like wedding, reception party and family function it enhancing the beauty of the lady. I like your post you have shared worthy information about Patola Sarees. Thanks