Ikkat or Ilkal? #AtoZChallenge 2017

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Image of The last of my Ilkal sarisage of
Can you believe this sari is over 40 years old?


When I was in college I loved wearing my Ilkal sari with its deep earthy colour. Of course at that time I didn’t know it was called Ilkal nor did I know where it came from. I just loved the soft feel of the cotton that clung to me.

Today I have just one left in my cupboard. Unlike the red and white silk pallu that is commonly found in the Ilkal, this one has plain thick bands .

The border and pallu are woven separately and attached to the main body of the sari with a loop stitch technique.

Made in Northern Karnataka, the Ilkal saris perfectly complement our skin tones with their strong, bold colours.

Unfortunately I don’t have any left in my cupboard and will have to search the net for illustrations.


Ikkats which are found in far reaching places like Indonesia, South America and even Spain, have their origins in the Cave Temples of Ajanta! I found out all these interesting facts while researching these fabrics.

Here the warp and weft threads are dyed in beautiful colours before weaving.The pattern that emerges is a subtle mingling of pastel shades and bright contrasting colours.

IKKAT fabrics are ideal for curtains, Upholstery and cushion

I also found this You Tube video uploaded by Sandeep Sangaru that best explains and illustrates the tradition of Ikkat from Gujerat. These saris are undoubtedly time consuming and expensive but believe you me, they are totally worth it.

[Tweet “Ikkat is a process of resist dyeing the yarn before weaving in order to make an intricately formed pattern. “]

Ikkat from Odisha and Telengana

The other Ikkats are from Odisha and Telengana. The Ikkats from Odisha and Telengana are made from cotton as well as silk fibres. They are also made Ikkat from Odisha is slightly different. These are normally made from pure cotton.

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Image for Ikkat from Sambalpur Odisha

And finally the Ikkat from Telanga which is also known as Pochampally, the town from which it originates.

Image for Ikkat from Telengana

Aren’t these weaves simply stunning? 

I hope you are enjoying this brief introduction to our textile traditions. It may seem that all that we weave is worn as a sari but of course that’s not true. Sadly, the sari itself is slowly being moved to the back of our wardrobes and only worn during special occasions…….

Disclaimer : I am neither a textile manufacturer nor a historian . I am just passionate about textiles and fabrics. I have gathered all my information from the Internet. Please excuse any errors and omissions.

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Author: Bellybytes

Proud Mumbai gal who always sees the humour in life. The mum who made banana fritters when all the other mums made cupcakes.

33 Comments on “Ikkat or Ilkal? #AtoZChallenge 2017

  1. Liked the pochampally one the most. But I am sure all other variations of ikkat are great to experience. These cotton sarees give relief from heat. I remember my mom has couple of these cotton sarees.

  2. Thanks for sharing this inform. It is good to know about different types of Ikkat. In Telangana, Ikkat sarees became very popular in last 3-4 years and always wondered how the print is similar to pochampally sarees which around for some time. You cleared some of my confusion. Ikkat silk saree is on my to buy list.

    A-Z Challenger
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  3. Love ikkat print! No ilkal saris though. The ikkat look is versatile and is used in just about anything these days, from saris to dress materials to accessories to bed and table linen. Looks fabulous. And the color combos are fantastic.

    Would love to see a pic of you in your ilkal sari!
    Vidya Sury recently posted…Intentional Living #AtoZChallengeMy Profile

  4. Love Ikkat, patola – I didnt know they were related 😀 I have recently graduated to wearing saris, i have so many all crying out for an airing 😀

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