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Ethnic Indian Sarees :: Paithani Sarees

Written by: Bindu Lakshmi Kankipati - Published: 10-Jun-2017

Priceless intricacies of Paithani sarees

The art of weaving Paithani flourished during the 'Satvahana era' in the 200 B.C. The name "Paithani" is derived from small town "Paithan" is situated on the banks of the river Godavari located in Central India, Aurangabad district, Maharashtra state, India. The Nizam of Hyderabad was also an ardent admirer of Paithani sarees, the Peshwas took it upon themselves to promote the craft, and consequently, settled Paithani weavers in Yeola, which is now the manufacturing hub for Paithani. The Paithani saree is traditionally a part of the trousseau of every Maharashtrian bride. People here speak Marathi language and they lead simple life. There are many communities involved in weaving these beautiful sarees namely Khatri, Koshti, Swakula Sali are few known communities.

Maharashtrian or Marathi cuisine is just tempting but lip smacking and delicious too, little hot and spicy, the riches of the food and aroma, what more can I say!! If you are a vegan, than a must try Bharli vangi(stuffed eggplant) goes well with chapathi, roti, Kolhapur is as famous for its spicy mutton(goat meat) curries, popularly called ‘Matnacha rassa’ mutton Kolhapuri is red-hot mutton curry dish.

Paithani Sarees are hand woven saris preferred by the women of Maharashtra during festivals and important functions, these sarees are considered as one of the richest saris in India. Paithani saris are available in cotton and silk, made exquisitely from silk, cotton, and silver threads, To weave one basic Paithani saree it will take eight to ten days, the more detailing and intricate works it may even take one month to two years to weave one masterpiece Paithani Saree. These sarees are done on 'Handloom' made on a wooden loom. it's made from finest silk, multiple colors are used and it's just a it's a collectors piece. Paithani is completely handwoven fabric made from fine silk gold and silver threads(zari). The cost depends completely on the type of design, patterns, number of days required to weave and finally the amount of manual labour work involved in it. It is made from natural silk or cotton with precious gold and silver metal threads.

Paithani Sarees and Fabrics gets exclusive Intellectual Property rights through Geographical indication Act (GI). Earlier these sarees were produced only for sophisticated buyers. The main body of the saree is either plain, or full saree with intricate works, as well as spotted designs are seen.

Color palette: Generally they use traditional colors and darker and brighter shades are red, mehendi green, blue, yellow which are popular. While some resulting from the amalgamation of different colors such as neeligunji as sky blue, motiya known as peach pink, golden mango, pasila- blend of red and green, gujri-black and white blend, mirani-black and red blend, Kusumbi - violet red, royal red, vangi-aubegine purple, pophali known as yellow, Samprus as blend of green-red, uddani (a fainterblack), sankirodak as white, orphankhi as green-blue blend, firozi as white-red pale green, aboli as peach-pink and kaali chandrakala.

The Motifs: The oldest traditional Paithani designs are the royal bird known as muma parinda, lotus or kamal pushpa, muniya or tota-maina motif symbolizes the parrot, koyari motif known as mango, hans/hamsam/swan motif, mor known as peacock, chandrakor(moon) narali motif known as coconut, cotton bud known as rui phul, humaparindas (the pheasant), bangdimor (peacock in a bangle), anarvel known as pomegranate flower, kalas pakli(petal), behesti parinda (the bird of paradise), drakshavel (vine and grapes), akruti(almond shape) kuyri known as the paisleys, gokarna vel, asawalli(flowering vines) and instruments like tanpura, tabla, shehnai, sambal, fan known as pankha and few small motifs like circles, stars, kalas pakhhli, chandrakor, clusters of 3 leaves are few popularly known motifs.

The pallu: One can see 'single Pallu' and 'double pallu' the uniquesness in the pallu, meticulously crafted colourful pallu elaborate and exclusive detailing multiple peacocks(mor) setting lotus, asawali, a flower pot with a flowering plant, muthada, a geometrical design, ensemble very intricate muniya(parrot), some traditional bunch earthen pots , paisley flower vine, Ajanta lotus inspired by Ajanta caves, some are with Jacquard pallu with tissue type, asawali, a flower pot with a flowering plant, pleasant instrument pallu, meena work on the saree, muthada, a geometrical design, Laher this design is done in the centre to strengthen the zari, panja, a geometrical flower-like motif, Barwa, 12 strands of a ladder, 3 strands on each side these are few popular designs and motifs in pallu.

Different types of pallu(falling edge of the saree)

  • Single Pallu/Padar (16-18" Pallu)
  • Double Pallu/Padar (24-30" Pallu)
  • Fancy Pallu Medium Pallu/Padar (18-22" Pallu)
  • Fancy Pallu Large Pallu/Padar (24-30" Pallu)
  • Heavy Brocade Pallu (30-36")

Varies types of border

  • Kadiyal border
  • Double-layer, triple-layer Muniya brocade border
  • Muniya lace border
  • Narali border
  • Peacock border
  • Pankha border
  • Oblique border
  • Geometry brocade border
  • Golden band brocade border
  • Temple brocade border

Mainly there are three techniques used in weaving this saree

  • Split tapestry weave
  • Dobe-tailing method
  • Interlocking method

A delightful shopping: Paithani sarees, Pure Paithani Clutches, Paithani large handbag, Flat purses, Paithani jewerally box, Paithani mobile cases, duppattas, long kurtas, dhoti pants, sarong skirts, Paithani jackets, Paithani tie, Paithani sling bags and many more.

How to identify a authentic Paithani saree

  • Genuine Paithani handloom saree, while checking look for reverse side of the saree the top and reverse side of the saree looks same looks exactly the same, border and pallu as well and there are no mesh of threads(no interlocking of threads) are noticed.
  • Since the Paithani sarees are manually handwoven, no two Paithani sarees identically seen(exactly the same) there will be minor variations in the design.
  • Authentic silk, when you burn the silk, it should smell like human hair.

Fabric care

  • Paithani Saree, recommended only for dry clean only and roll press
  • At home, if necessary iron the saree from back side(reverse side of the saree)
  • Change the saree folds after every use.
  • Paithani Saree should be kept and wraped in muslin cloth.