As Navrati 2021 commences, we hope to see the destruction of the coronavirus as a pandemic this year. While we slowly begin to attend festivities (with necessary precautions), we bring you 28 beautiful Indian weaves from across the country. You can pick up any of these beautiful weaves for yourself or as a gift this year.
The inspiration for this post comes from the inimitable Akankshaa Paranjpe, whose Instagram page – The Vintage Saree Project – breathes life into yards of weaves and creates beautiful stories.
1) Bandhini (Gujarat)
This stunning tie-dye fabric is usually available in shades of black, yellow, green, blue, red, with white dots forming lovely designs.
Special Feature: Bandhani comes in various patterns like Chandrakala, Bavan Baug, and Shikari.
Ape Fact: Bandhani hails from the Indus Valley Civilization, where the dyeing process started around 4000 BC!
Gift: This Bandhini art silk saree comes with a blouse piece too
2) Shisha (Rajasthan)
Introduced in the 17th century by the Mughals, shisha is now famously used not only by Rajasthani people but also in Gujarat, Haryana, and Madhya Pradesh.
Special Feature: Each region includes mirrors in their handicrafts in a distinctive manner
Ape Fact: Embroidered banners like shisha toran and abla toran are used at home entrances to ward off evil.
Gift: This beautiful silk and mirror-work saree complete with a blouse piece
3) Panja Durries (Haryana)
The Panja weaving technique derives its name from the tool â€“ Panja. It is mainly used to create rugs, floor coverings, and durries. The Panja fabric is produced out of thick threads and includes unique, gorgeous patterns.
Special Feature: It is often made of cotton, camel hair, jute, and wool.
Ape Fact: Designs are mostly geometric/ floral, and the colors are earthy.
Gift: This reversible table mat/runner to brighten up your dinner table!
4) Paithani (Maharashtra)
Paithani marks itself among the weaves of India. Paithan (Aurangabad) is famous for its hand-woven silk saree – Paithani. It is a significant part of Maharashtrian culture, and the art of weaving this saree was developed in 200BC.
Special Feature: Its intensive weaving technique and extremely fine silk threads make the fabric looks exquisite from both sides. It is considered one of the richest sarees today.
Ape fact: The craft of weaving the Paithani was invented in 200 B.C.
Gift: Choose from a collection of Paithani sarees here.
5) Mysore Silk (Karnataka)
The state is the largest silk producer. The rich silk material from Mysore is famous for its quality and artistry. The Mysore Silk sarees, produced under the KSIC brand, are single-toned and have a distinctive pure gold zari border.
Special feature: Maharaja Krishna Raj Wadiyar IV of Mysore was greatly impressed by machine-made silk fabrics worn by the British. He immediately ordered over 30 power looms from Switzerland and thus paved the way for machine-made silk sarees in India.
Ape fact: The sarees come in nearly 300 different colors!
Gift: Buy a Mysore Silk Saree, and learn how to care for it as well.
6) Kanjeevaram Silk (Tamil Nadu)
The Kanjeevaram, from Tamil Nadu, is famous for its exquisite fabric and zari work. It is a magnificent example of handloom weavers.
Special Feature: Kanjeevaram has rich gold depictions like coins, peacocks and floral motifs. The border and pallu are woven separately and then attached to the body of the saree in a delicate process.
Ape Fact: An average Kanjeevaram saree weighs 2 kg.
Gift: Pick from a range of colors and patterns here.
7) Kasavu (Kerala)
The white and gold kasavu saree is famously worn, especially during Onam. It is the name of a material used in the manufacturing process. Thus, when kasavu becomes a part of the mundu (dhoti), itâ€™s called a kasavu mundu.
Special Feature: This saree features kara designs on the bottom and peacock designs on the pallu.
Ape Fact: Its design has been inspired by the Greco-Roman attire, an unstitched cloth with a colored border.
Gift: Plain vanilla or decorated with motifs, get yours here.
8) Naga Shawls (Nagaland)
Every major tribe in Nagaland has its own distinct pattern featuring spear, human head, spear, tiger, and elephants.
Special Feature: These shawls are symbolic and are made with black and red wool.
Ape Fact: It has three pieces of cloth woven separately and stitched together.
Gift: Get warm and cosy with your own Naga Shawl.
9) Muga Silk (Assam)
Famous for its extreme durability, rich texture, and unique fabric, Muga silk is a variety of wild silk. It is now extensively used for making the traditional attire of Assamese women.
Special Feature: It has a natural yellowish-golden tint with a shimmering, glossy texture.
Ape Fact: It is also known as golden fibre.
Gift: Wear your inner strength with this soft silk saree.
10) Eri Silk (Meghalaya)
Eri silk is highly textured and features short fibres. It is a valuable fabric, thanks to its rich gold depiction. This fabric is also used for Kantha embroidery and Pattachitra art.
Special Feature: Known as the “queen of textiles”, this silk is so soft that it’s even used for baby diapers in Europe.
Ape Fact: It is believed to be the worldâ€™s most sustainable fabric.
Gift: Buy your uber-soft Eri silk saree here.
11) Puans (Mizoram)
Puan is a white and black wraparound skirt. The designs reveal much about a personâ€™s societal status.
Special Feature: There are several kinds of Puans, and each color, motif, and design has a traditional and cultural significance to the Mizos.Â
Ape Fact: More than 30 Puan varieties exist today.
Gift: Shop for your Puan today.
12) Kullu Shawls (Himachal Pradesh)
Both men and women wear these shawls, featuring geometric patterns and bright hues. State handlooms also promote these woven wonders.
Special Feature: These are handwoven from three wool types – Angora, Merino, and local sheep wool.
Ape Fact: These have clear and exquisite structures, fine woollen texture, and assembling quality.
Gift: Stay warm with your choice of shawls here.
13) Apatani (Arunachal Pradesh)
Apatani is a fabric woven by the local Apatani tribe. Their major colors are orange-yellow, red, blue, and dark blue.
Special Feature: The woven fabric features geometric designs, angular patterns, and zigzag finishing.
Ape Fact: The Jwekhe and Jillang patterns of the Apatanis have been worn on international fashion platforms.
14) Bhagalpuri Silk (Bihar)
Sarees designed here have the most gorgeous finish. Thus, the Bhagalpuri silk sarees are most popular because of their wide range of colors and designs.
Special Feature: The unique dyeing technique of these Bhagalpuri silk sarees sets them apart from the art silk sarees.
Ape fact: Bhagalpuri silk is made from cocoons of silkworms, also known as Vanya silkworm is native to India.
Gift: This festive season, grab your Bhagalpuri silk saree.
15) Kunbi (Goa)
This is a cotton fabric in chequered design, mainly used on sarees. It was used in the olden times by tribal women.Â
Special Feature: Check patterns on the saree are dyed only in yellow, red, white, and green. Darker shades of maroon, purple, and black are also used.
Ape fact: The saree was designed to enable women to work freely in the fields.
Gift: Buy your six yards of nostalgia here.
16) Kalamkari (Andhra Pradesh)
This art was used for telling Hindu mythology stories. This fabric is now used as a block print on most Indian attires.
Special Feature: The design on the cloth is made by printing with vegetable dyes.
Ape Fact: Today, this has become entirely digital. The digital files of kalamkari (pen work) are introduced across India.
Gift: Get decked out in a Kalamkari today!
17) Kosa Silk (Chhattisgarh)
Used in the Champa district, the Kosa silk sarees weaving process takes 3-5 days. It is said to be made out of a rare worm.
Special Feature: It is among the worldâ€™s finest silk mostly because of its durability.
Ape Fact: This Tussar silk version is produced exclusively in India.
Gift: Make the women in your life happy with a gorgeous Kosa silk saree!
18) Kuchai Silk (Jharkhand)
Kuchai silk is produced chiefly in the Kharsawan-Kuchai region of Jharkhand and is in demand in both India and abroad.
Special Feature: Kuchai silk is an organic Indian fabric.
Ape Fact: This is said to be the first Indian fabric to receive an international organic silk registration.
Gift: Wear the colors of the earth with this Kuchai silk.
19) Chanderi (Madhya Pradesh)
Its lightweight fabric has earned its other name -woven air.
Special Feature: Chanderi is produced by weaving in silk and golden zari in the traditional cotton yarn.
Ape Fact: Sheer texture, lightweight, and lustrous transparency set Chanderi apart.
Gift: Wear your brand new Chanderi with pride!
20) Phanek (Manipur)
Phanek is a color-block striped skirt made up of silk thread and cotton. This Manipuri traditional dress is mainly worn as a half-saree.
Special Feature: Hand-woven, Phanek is worn like a sarong.
Ape Fact: Phaneks are womanâ€™s lungies.
Gift: Wear the pride of Manipur with this Phanek!
21) Sambalpuri (Odisha)
It is famous in various Odisha regions, including Sambalpur. This handwoven ikat saree has its yarn tie-dyed before being woven into a fabric.Â
Special Feature: Sambalpuri saris are known for incorporatingÂ traditional motifs like shankha, chakra, and phool.Â
Ape Fact: Late Prime Minister India Gandhi was fond of Sambhalpuri sarees.
Gift: Own this two-toned beauty right away!
22) Phulkari (Punjab)
Phulkari is common embroidery of floral depictions used on fabrics by the Punjabi women. Phulkari commonly has bright-colored floral embroidered work made on light-hued fabrics.
Special Feature: Phulkari is done on the reverse of the cloth while the design is created on the front.
Ape Fact: It has its origins in the famous love story of Heer & Ranjha (a love tale) by Waris Shah.
Gift: Enjoy this delicate, pink-hued saree.
23) Lepcha (Sikkim)
It is meant for traditional ensembles, including cushion covers, shoulder bags, table mats, napkins, and others. Its base fabric is cotton, while the handloom weavers use wool to embroider motifs into the textile.Â
Special Feature: Lepcha weaves /’thara’ is woven in vertical looms with a backstrap.
Ape Fact: Back in ancient times, the Lepcha’s used yarn spun out of natural fiber â€“ nettle (sisnu)
24) Pochampally Ikat (Telangana)
The Ikat textile is produced from Bhoodan Pochampally and is famous for its geometric designs and intentional bleed.
Special Feature: The deftly woven fabric incorporates colors and designs seamlessly.
Ape Fact: There are about 5000 looms in the villages of Pochampally, and is among the UNESCOâ€™sÂ World Heritage Sites, with its â€˜iconic saree weaving clusters of India.â€™
Gift: Buy this diamond-patterned saree and stand out among the crowd.
25) Pachra (Tripura)
Pachra is a long cloth piece worn as lower attire by the women. The pachra attire is commonly worn as a risa, a small piece of cloth covering the upper body.
Special Feature: Tripuri women wear it, and it reaches down just below the knee.
Ape Fact: The Reang women put on black Pachra and Rea.
26) Chikankari (Uttar Pradesh)
Chikankari hails from Lucknow. This delicate embroidery design was initially white-on-white in the past. Currently, it is done in various colors.
Special Feature: One of the most prominent features of the Lucknow chikankari work is its stitches that are done wonderfully.
Ape Fact: It was primarily introduced by Nur Jehan, wife of Mughal emperor Jehangir.
Gift: This chikankari kurta will brighten up your festive season.
27) Panchachuli (Uttarakhand)
They earn their source of income from high-quality woollen products like shawls, wraps, and stoles. This weaving tradition has expanded with the help of the Panchachuli Cooperative that started in 1990 that has earnestly been promoting the weave to foreign countries.
Special feature: Made by rural women by knitting sheep wool clothes and Tibetan cashmere.
Ape fact: Only natural ingredients are used in the dyes.
Gift: Help weavers enjoy the festivities when you buy a lovely Panchachuli.
28) Jamdani (West Bengal)
Jamdani is today used in sarees with unique patterns. It is lightly woven in hues of white, gold, maroon, green, black, and silver.
Special feature: Traditionally, these Jamdani sarees have broad borders featuring lotus, lamp and fish scale motifs.
Ape fact: Jamdani is believed to be a fusion of the ancient cloth-making techniques of Bengal (possibly 2,000 years old).
Gift: Get Pujo ready with your favorite Jamdani saree.
These are the popular Indian handloom fabrics. Each represents the cultural heritage of the respective state. Love what you read? Go ahead and share this with your friends and family today!