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Patola Sarees: The Much-Prized, Legendary Indian Weave

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Patola Sarees would probably be at the top of the list of legendary weaves of India. What was once an exclusive possession only to the royals and aristocrats, these are still very special, worn on occasions like weddings and Vedic rituals. Each of the Patola Silks takes months and years to get designed, weaved and is a prized possession that is often passed as an heirloom.


Patola Silk Sarees originated in Patan, Gujarat, made with a double ikat weave, is one of the costliest Indian designer sarees. Double ikat is a weaving technique in which both the warp and weft are resist-dyed before the sarees are woven. Which makes it difficult to weave and very pricey at the same time. Double Ikat weave is produced in three countries- India, Indonesia, and Japan, and the one made in Patan (Gujarat) in India, is the most difficult.

History says that in the 12th century, around 700 silk weavers of the Salvi caste from Maharashtra and Karnataka moved to Gujarat to seek and acquire the patronage of Solanki (Chalukya) Rajputs. The then rulers of Gujarat and Rajasthan, who used to dress themselves up in Patola Silk. The Patola Silk Sarees rose to such popularity that even when the Solanki empire declines. That these Indian Sarees became a part of stridhan (bride’s property) and a status symbol among Gujarati women.

How is Patola Silk Woven?

At first, the yarn is tied with cotton thread as per the decided pattern by an experienced artist and is a very time-consuming process. The yarn undergoes tying and dyeing several times. Even if a single yarn is displaced, it can disturb and ruin the whole set of yarn. Each colour has a specific place to be in the saree, and the design needs to be aligned carefully.

A Patola loom is designed specifically to be tilted on one side and two people need to sit together to work on one particular saree. Depending upon the length of the saree and intricacy of the pattern. It may take six months to a year or more to design a Patola Saree.

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Patola Sarees are reversible and look the same on both sides. And are known for their vibrant hues and geometric motifs.

What’s So Special About Their Motifs?

Be it Hindus, Muslims, or Jains, every community has added its values in the making of Patola Silk. While the Jains prefer geometric patterns and abstract designs, the Muslim women prefer Vohra Gaji Bhaat. And the Gujarati women like flowers, parrots, elephants, girls’ designs on these Indian saris.

The Varieties

There are typically two types of Patola Sarees, the Patan Patola, and the Rajkot Patola. While the Patan Patola is the more expensive one and is double ikat weaves that are horizontally resist-dyed. Rajkot Patolas are the single ikat weaves, resist-dyed vertically.

The Current Condition of These Designer Sarees

At present, there are only four families who pursue Patola weaving. It is a closely-guarded secret and taught only to the sons of the family. Since only a few know the weaving technique and process, this makes this a long-drawn process.

While the weavers prophesise that this artform will wear out in another 20 years or so, facing many difficulties, it is a shame to let something so beautiful be lost.

If you want to buy a sari online, visit Like A Diva to have a look at the vast range of sarees on display, designed for you.

Like A Diva

Like A Diva is an online clothing store for Indian ethnic fashion wear that includes Indian Asian suits, designer sarees, elegant and exquisite Anarkali suits, designer lehengas, gorgeous Indo-western evening dresses and more styles of Indian Asian wear.

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