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Passing on the Paithani tradition #AtoZChallenge 2017

The Paithani Tradition

Image for Paithani

Can you see the two colours pink and orange?

If it’s P, it has to be PAITHANI.

When I was a little girl,  I used to think the Paithani sari was rather  unattractive. It’s bold colours and booties were coarse compared to the fine, delicate Benarasi or the exquisite, rich temple saris of Kanjeevaram. But over the years, having seen them worn at various weddings, complemented by the appropriate jewellry, I realised that this sari can be truly stunning.

The  sari gets its name from Paithan, a small town in Aurangabad district, but there are several other places where this sari is now made.

Unique weave

What I really love about this saree is the unique double shaded look known as “shot silk “. I also love the strong distinctive borders and brocade pallu with motifs inspired by the paintings of Ajanta and other natural elements. Here too, like many other saris,  the border and pallu are woven separately and attached to the main body of the sari.

In the original sari,  the thread that is used for the borders, booties and pallu was of pure gold but today this would make the sari completely un-affordable. So modern weavers either use silver thread or silk thread that looks like gold.

Meera Mehta an award winning textile designer who has revived this craft, showed me  her collection of saris that she had commissioned her weavers to make. These are truly unique , closely following the traditions of this weave using traditional colours and long forgotten styles. For instance :

[Tweet “Did you know that a Paithani tradition was to weave in a saying or homily in the pallu ?”]

If you do want to see her original works of art ( really they can be called that) you will need to make a prior appointment to visit her studio located in the bylanes of Mumbai’s Fort district.  This may be a bit of a fiddle, but it is definitely worth it.

More affordable are the commercially retailed ones sold in almost every sari shop in India that keeps Bridal collections. Undoubtedly, the Paithani is an heirloom piece that should be in every sari wearing bride’s trousseau.

Image for P


Do any of you have a favourite fabric or weave ? Would love to hear from you in the comments below.

What will Q bring? Watch this space tomorrow for another tradition of Indian textiles.

Disclaimer : Once again, please forgive me for any errors or omissions. I am neither a textile designer nor a historian.

Join me and hundreds of other bloggers participating in the #AtoZ Challenge 2017, #UBC #blogboost and @Blogchatter

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A granny who always sees the humour in life and tries to do things differently. When others make cupcakes, this granny makes banana fritters. When she’s not busy chasing her grandchildren who love making her run around, she indulges in her passions of reading, writing, meeting friends and watching movies. And somewhere between all this she enjoys travelling and cooking!

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12 Responses

  1. Shalini says:

    I had heard of this style but don’t own into date. Noted in my diary… Thanks for such a lovely write up on this.
    Shalini recently posted…[P] Parsi food affair in Bombay |#atozchallenge 2017|My Profile

  2. A Paithani is on my wish list! A rich green one! The Pink-Orange dhoop-chaon is making me change my color preference though 🙂

  3. Dahlia says:

    By the end of this challenge I might just be sorted on Indian fabrics 😀 Thanks for these informative posts

  4. Kala Ravi says:

    Wow! You do weave magic with your words lady! That said, Paithanis are indeed priced very dearly by most of my dear Maharashtrian friends. Personally I think they look so grand and thus become overbearing for the simple occasions I attend. But reading this post, methinks…how about just one?
    Kala Ravi recently posted…Your Friendly Neighborhood GPMy Profile

  5. These are gorgeous fabrics. I’ve learned a lot here!

  6. Tina Basu says:

    I have a paithani, my mom got it for me – i haven’t worn much of it though. My mom is such a saree buffs, watches late night saree shows on TV – yeah you get such shows in Bengali TV channels!
    Tina Basu recently posted…Ultimate Chocolate Chip Mug Cake – 60 second eggless mug cake in microwaveMy Profile

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