Unfailing Beauty of Patola

The ever reigning and the unfailing beauty of perennial patola silk saris resurfaces in the form of a fresh assemblage.

If there is ever an art of spinning, weaving, dyeing and finally draping in 100% pure silk that has an envious history and track record – it is none other than Patan Patola. The small town of Patan that is situated 127 Kms North of Ahmedabad inherits the rich cultural heritage of Gujarat and is world renowned due to its Patolas saree that is a sacred silk cloth tie and dyed in double ikat which took to different forms over time.

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Image and Content Curtsy – tumblr.com

In a country as diverse as India, the idea of luxury is one too many. From mass-produced pricey cotton shirt with a logo, to a masterpiece handmade by an artisan, anything and everything is touted as luxury. It makes the L-word a very commonplace word and then merely the cost of the item, not the distinctiveness or the craft that went into it becomes the sole measure of it. Such a notion limits a discourse of luxury more as bling. But real luxury products are fast moving beyond brands or logos, they do not need to have those monograms – real or imitations to define it. And one such luxury is the ostentatious Patola Sari.

Since its creation and advent more than 700 years back, Patan Patolas today take form in the shape of handmade saris draped by women on important religious occasions and wedding ceremonies. The most important process involved is making of Patola silk saris is that of tie and dye using natural dyes like catechu, cochineal, indigo, turmeric, Natural Lakh, Harde, madder roots, manjistha, ratnajyot, katha, kesudo, pomegranate skin, henna, marigold flower, etc to display vibrant colours in the silk sari or fabric. Alum, copper sulphate, ferrous sulphate, tin chloride, potassium dichromate and other mordents are also used in the tedious dyeing process. A unique feature that distinguishes hand dyed Patola saris from other textiles is that the saree even after heavy wear and tear will never fade in colour or design! This is because of the use of resist dyeing process of tie and dye on both the warp and weft silk fibres as a result, even if the entire process is backbreaking, Patola saris are ultimately extremely pleasing on the eyes and makes a prized possession for the owner.

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