Patola sarees, a symbol of tradition and class, are among the most exquisite and opulent weaves in India. It is hard to pin down the most captivating thing about these drapes. Whether it is the unique patterns and designs adorned over the fabric, the authenticity and quality of the yarns used, or the intricate detailing made by the master craftsmen of Patan, Gujarat, everything about a Patola silk saree is special. .
At WeaverStory, we are inspired by the craftsmanship, meticulous attention to detail, and breathtaking handlooms crafted by artisans who’ve mastered these enduring weaves with skills that have been passed down from generation to generation. We are dedicated to bringing the finest handwoven treasures from the heart of the country to the world to showcase our rich craft traditions and heritage, and the famous Patola weave shines bright in this treasury. Intricate and impactful, it makes for a cherished heirloom purchase with its unique designs and meticulous weaving technique.
As we bring you a new collection of Ikat Patola Sarees, we give you a lowdown on why this weave needs to be a part of your collection of sarees.
The Rich History of Patola: Tracing the Journey One Step After Another
The term "Patola" comes from the Sanskrit word "pattakulla," which is the plural of "patolu". Regardless of its historical connection with Gujarat, the Patola fabric first appeared in South Indian religious texts, such as the Narasimha Purana, where it is mentioned that it was worn by women for holy occasions and ceremonies.
The Gujarati connection, 'pattakulla,' emerged in the 11th century following the decline of the Solanki Empire, resulting in a victorious trade for the Salvis in Gujarat. Patola sarees quickly evolved into a status symbol among Gujarati women, particularly in wedding trousseau. Around 700 Salvi silk weavers migrated from Karnataka and Maharashtra to Gujarat in the 12th century. They attempted to gain the support of the Solanki Rajputs, who ruled Gujarat and parts of Rajasthan.
According to an alternative narrative, Patola's origins date back 900 years, when King Kumarpala promoted it as a symbol of wealth. After discovering its misuse in Jalna, Maharashtra, the king relocated the craft to Patan, Gujarat. Despite the seven-month crafting period, he synchronised production, ensuring a new Patola to wear at the temple every day.
Blending Art and Tradition: The Artistry Behind Patola Sarees
Patola sarees are among the most sought-after handlooms in India. They exude class and elegance while meeting the requirements of a modern woman with a discerning eye for fashion. The art of Patola weaving is a cherished tradition that is often passed down through generations. It is a time-honoured craft that has found its place at the top through the years of constantly changing fashion trends.
Weaving a Patola traditionally takes three people who weave for approximately four to seven months, which makes it expensive and time-consuming. These sarees are woven using a unique and detailed dyeing and weaving technique that results in stunning, vibrant designs. The technique is known as "ikat," a Malay-Indonesian word that means "to tie or bind". Ikat is made by dying the yarns before weaving them with a resist dyeing technique. This means that certain parts of the yarn are thread-tied, preventing them from absorbing dye.
The dyeing process entails repeated steps of tying, untying, retying, and dyeing to achieve the desired shades, colours, and patterns. After the dyeing process is completed, the warp threads are carefully placed on a loop to reveal the design. Patola's design makes use of a simple hand-operated harness loom made of rosewood and bamboo strips. A bamboo shuttle is moved to and fro through the warp shades. During weaving, each weft thread is diligently matched with segments of the warp pattern. One of the most enticing things about this entire process is that the Patola colours do not fade, even after a century. This is due to the dual-resist dyeing technique that has been used in its making.
The Captivating Charm of Intricate Patterns and Designs on a Patola
Rani Ki Vav, a historical site to visit in Patan, features the most eye-catching display of human and animal figures alongside geometrical designs that captivate your hearts. The symmetrical designs you see on its walls are based on the divine positions of the stars. These designs are impressive considering that they are almost a millennium old. The designs and patterns you see displayed on its walls are the ones used to make Patolas almost 900 years ago. The most interesting thing is that these are the same patterns used in the making of Patola sarees today as well.
To discuss the designs in detail, these sarees are renowned for their geometric and abstract motifs. They include elephants, human figures, Kalash, flowers, Shikhar, paan, and parrots. Furthermore, designs inspired by Gujarati architecture are also prevalent. Each of these patterns have a name. Examples include "nari kunjar bhat" with women and elephants, "paan bhat" with peepul leaf motifs, "navratna bhat" with square shapes, "voharagaji" with floral themes, "fulvali bhatt" with geometric intricacies, and "rattanchowk bhat" that feature geometric details.
WeaverStory X Patola Sarees
WeaverStory brings you the widest range of ikat Patola sarees that allow you to exude elegance and class seamlessly. From the eye-catching electric blue and mustard to the subtle off-white and yellow Patola saree, we boast a collection of colours and patterns you can’t take your eyes off. Wait no longer and shop for an Ikat Patola Drape from WeaverStory right away!
Author - Simran Shaikh