The word ‘patola’ has its origin in Sanskrit. Its singular version was called ‘pattakulla’ and plural is called ‘patolu’. Though all of us believe the patola silk saree is from Gujarat, it was formerly mentioned in South-Indian religious scriptures. It is a type of an ikat saree made in a place in Gujarat called ‘Patan’. They are one of the most expensive and royal sarees you would find in the region.
History of Patola and its craft
In Gujarat, patola first emerged after the fall of the Solanki Empire. The ‘Salvis’, a caste of people from Maharashtra and Karnataka, who were essentially weavers, shifted their base to Gujarat around the same time. Patola became famous and a symbol of royalty among Gujarati women. Most of them would don these beautiful sarees during weddings and festivities.
Making patola clothing requires effort from at least four to six professional weavers. They work for six months to produce a single saree, which includes double ikat and techniques of tie and dye. Patola is considered to be the epitome of weaving due to the rigorous process involved in creating one piece. The weaving and dyeing of the cloth require precision and is a very complicated process. The weavers have to imagine the outcome of the patola lehengas or patola dupattas when they are weaving them. One of the classic characteristics of a patola is the double ikat weave, which makes it stand out from other types of saree weaves. This differentiates the cloth from other fabrics because the feel and color of the saree are similar on both sides.
- The first step is adjusting the yarns and tying them to cotton threads. This is done depending on the pattern and design that is required.
- It is woven by hand on a harness that is made of bamboo and rosewood.
- The measurements of the yarn can be very small, and it undergoes several cycles in the tie-dye process. Here particular colors are repeated to get the specific pattern and look.
- All the yarns must be placed properly because the displacement of one can disrupt the entire pattern and arrangement of the cloth.
- Different colors are used in specific places during the weaving process. This requires tremendous patience and meticulousness.
- A patola saree can also take up to a year to finish due to the level of intricacy and sophistication.
The colors of the saree never fade and the fabric is very long-lasting. It is believed it would at least last for 100 years, and still look fresh and vibrant. A characteristic feature of this saree is that it needs two craftsmen to work at the same time on one side of the saree. This process is time-consuming and requires artistic skills and craftsmanship on the part of the weavers.
From the very beginning, Khatri Jamnadas Bechardas has focused on representing the true culture of Indian society and ethnic artistry through innovative patterns and designs that speak for our diversity.