Irresistibly Fascinating Patola Silk Sarees To Fall In Love With
Vibrant colors, beautiful motifs and a transformation of a silk saree into something ethereal is the Patola saree from the land of colors -Gujarat. The saree they say is as old as the hills. The art of weaving was recognized in the 7th century as there is evidence in the Ajanta caves (near Mumbai) of some work which reminds us of the tie-dye technique of the patola saree. They used what is called the dye-resist technique. The Salvi silk weavers had the support of the Solanki Rajputs ruling Gujarat and Patan even in the 12th century, was a formidable bastion of artisans practicing this weaving.
Patola silk sarees are exquisite sarees from Patan, Gujarat, traditionally woven for royalty only. The fine fabric and complex weaving technique used made these sarees very expensive and because of this, only the richest merchants and financially resourceful women were able to afford them. Even at the present time, the true Patola saree takes anything between 6 months to 2 years to weave, depending on the design and pattern. This age-old craft is still practiced by the Salvi family in Patan, who are the main producers of the authentic Patola sari.
Though different versions of Patola silk sarees exist, in many parts of western and southern India, the original Patola Silk Sarees (and still considered the ‘purest’) are the Patan Patola Sarees. These are double ikkat sarees, made by using one of the most complicated weaving techniques in the world. The warp and weft threads are tied to resist the dye in order to achieve the final effect of the material and this process is repeated for each and every thread. This strategic knotting is what contributes to the unique texture of Patola silk saree. They have an immensely rich color variation and great depth in the simplest of designs. Another remarkable factor of the Patola silk saree is the type of design used. Inspired by natural and food-related motifs, one can find artistic pictorials and geometric patterns that simply cannot be done using any other technique.
This saree is, in fact, a traditional saree of the state of Gujarat. In Gujarat, Patola sarees are known for their long life and the fastness of the dye. Thus this is the kind of saree women prefer to buy as a life-long investment, something that could even be passed down through the generations.
The single ikkat technique can also be used to produce these outfits. Rajkot patola silk sarees are very beautiful, with artistic designs and a similarly multi-hued appearance, but tend to be more cost-effective. They are produced using much less labor-intensive techniques and utilizing more affordable materials. Rajkot patola sarees are a boon for modern women who want gorgeous sarees like these for less formal events.
Some of the common Patola saree designs include dancing girls, mangoes, parrots, peacocks, watercress, diamond patterns, and floral spray. Traditional designs tend to be bound to certain classic ethnic motifs inspired by nature but with the increasing research work in fabrics and weaving, one can find newer, more western style patola saree designs as well. In fact, the designers have, in the past, made use of this luxurious fabric to create gorgeous contemporary sarees with different types of designs.
Silk patola sarees come in a wide range of colors, from soft pastel shades to bright reds and blues. They are often multihued as well, with the subtle shifts in color being one of the main attractions of this saree style.
The biggest patrons of Patola are foreign nationals and non-resident Indians. In fact, they fall in love with these irresistibly fascinating patola silk sarees. Kanhaiyalal Salvi, a legendary Patola weaver has taught weaving techniques to students at the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad, Surajkund Mela in Haryana, Crafts Museum in Delhi, Honolulu Academy of Arts in the US and even to former US President Jimmy Carter and his wife on their visit to India some years ago! His works have been on display at the Festivals of India held in Japan and the USSR.
An interesting fact is that at present there are only four families that pursue the beautiful craft of Patola weaving. This highly precious craft is a closely protected secret that is taught to just the sons of the family. Patola weavers prophesy goes like this that this art will die out in another 20 years in the face of many difficulties. Patola silks are highly appreciated abroad, but their importance has yet to be identified within the country and the younger generation has to be of such heritage crafts.
Online portals like Adi Mohini Mohan Kanjilal have once more opened the wonderful collection of Patola silks to one and all. Available in a variety of designs and hues, one can now become the proud owner of a one-of-a-kind Patola saree. That day is not very far when the present generation in India will start falling in love with patola saree and will collect it for their wardrobe as a piece of heritage art.