Sari – the nine yard long ethnic Indian wear, the garment that has seen much revamp, but has never lost its glory. Recently I got a chance to have a close look at the making of intricate Patola- one of the double ikkat woven sari made from silk, made in Patan, Gujarat. The Salvi family has still held on to this age old tradion since the 11th century.
The origin of Patola saris dates back to even 700 years ago and Patan Patola have a special history and royal lineage. Patola sari also has a famous Gujrati songs linked to it which goes like “Chelaji Re, Mare Hatu patan thi patola mongha lavjo” which means “My Dear!, do bring the precious patola from patan for me.”
This double ikkat sari sees complicated fine texture and intricate work going into making the Patola. It takes almost 4 – 5 of artists day and night for over 5 – 6 months give this unique creation it’s final look. It all starts with the dyeing of both the warp and the weft and matching them in order to form motifs.
The traditional geometric patterns motifs in Patola include “Narikunj”,”Chowkdi”, “Pan”, “Rass”, “Chhabdi”, “Pulwadi”, “Choktha”, “Paanchphil”, “Navratna”, “Laheriya” “Sarvariya” and more like flowers, animal and human figures too from the basic designs. While the body is mostly plain with bold stripes, the borders are lined with animal or plant motifs.
The influence of ikkat patterns on Patola saris have flown down a bit from down South as ages ago weavers from Maharashtra and Karnataka settled in Gujarat during the Solanki Empire rule.
These Patola saris are no less than a status symbol and have been passed down generations as each can survive over a century without losing its colour or texture. It’s like passing down of cultures and traditions to the next generation. The quality of silk, fine work and intricate craftsmanship makes this piece of fabric a prized possession.
The Gujarati folk song ‘padi patola bhat fatey pan fite nahi’ talks about the colourfastness of the natural dyes used in Patan Patola.
Perfect skill, much dedication and conviction towards this whole dying work of craftsmanship is what has kept this Patan Patola tradition still strong.
Pick a Patola, it’s won share of heritage for years to come.