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Paithani Sarees

The world famous Paithani saris are woven in the Paithani region of Maharashtra and are considered to be the richest saris ever made. The origin of these saris can be traced back to 200BC of Satvahana era. There are mentions about this type of saris in the Rigveda as well. It is believed that that during first century AD, the weavers worked with golden and silver threads to make some of the beautiful piece of art.

The Peshwas who ruled during the 18th century were ardent lovers of Paithani saris. It is believed that the Madhavrao Peshwa loved the fabric so much that he ordered dupattas of various colours with the pattern of flower and vine which is known as asavali. The mention of the saris in Rigveda gives the evidence that this form of art was prevalent from about 2000 years ago. The specialty of the fabric lies in the fact that it is done by a separate section of weavers for the past 600 years. The fabric is described as the great fabric in various Maharashtrian literatures as Mahavastra. Like the other art forms that existed in India, weaving of Paithani saris also witnessed a great decline during the British era. 

The Designs of Paithani Sarees

Most of the designs of Paithani sarees are influenced by the patterns of Buddhist paintings that are found in Ajanta caves. In olden times, the zari was made using gold and silk threads with body of Paithani saris in cotton and all the patterns we made to look perfect. The common design patterns used in the body of the sari are of lotus, hans or swans, flowering vines, peacock and more. Also, patterns like circles, leaves, stars and more. The common designs for the pallus include parrots, panja,barwa, peacck etc. The basic colours used in the making of Paithani saris are red, black, white, yellow, lavender, green, pink, purple etc.

Today, the cotton is replaced by silk which adds to the beauty. The Paithani saris are still made in the traditional way and it takes one day to set up the silk threads to the loom. It is a tedious process and only skilled artisans can work on it.

Making Process of Paithani Saris

The Paithani saris have a long and tedious making process, the time required for its making depends on the embroidery and designs. It said that a heavily designed and embroidered sari will take up to six months to complete. Even a plain sari can take up to a month before it can be sold in the market. 

Before beginning the weaving process the silk is washed with caustic soda and the colours are chosen and dyed on it before attaching it to the loom. These saris are weaved using wooden loom which is known as Dhota, scissor and threads that is wrapped in a roll of cloth known as kakda.

Once the dyeing of the silk is completed, it is arranged on the loom for weaving. Then, the garments are weaved using Dhota, scissors and kakda. Here the threads are weaved using three different modes of tapestry techniques like split tapestry mode, interlocking method and Dobe tailing method. Once the weaving of the sari body is completed, then weavers proceed to design the pallu and border of the saris. In olden times, the golden threads were used to make the pallu and borders which got replaced with silver threads that are coated with gold.

Two types of borders are preferred for Paithani saris, they are the Narali and the Pankha which only a master weaver can do the work. The borders are done using the interlocking weft technique with zari and coloured silk.

The speciality of the Paithani saris are its richness in colour with gorgeously designed pallu and border. It is completely hand woven and still done using traditional methods.

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