Patan Patola Sarees

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Patola sarees, famously known as the “Queen of Silk Sarees”, has been an intricate part of Gujarat’s culture for a very long time. It is a double Ikat silk saree that is made in the Patan region of Gujarat. Patola is the plural form of “Patolu”, and originates from the Sanskrit word “Pattakulla”. It is widely known for its intricate designs and vivid colours.

There is a Gujarati saying, “Padi Patole bhaat, phate pan fittey nahi”, which means that the quality of fabric might degrade over the years, but the colour and design will never fade. Eminent personalities like Nita Ambani and Priyanka Chopra have been seen wearing Patola sarees at various events.

Let’s dive deeper into what makes the Patola sarees so special.

Origin of Patola Sarees

The origin of Patola saree dates back 900 years, to the 12th century. It is believed that the Salvi community from the states of Maharashtra and Karnataka moved to the Patan region of Gujarat and started weaving during the reign of the Solanki dynasty. King Kumarpala (1143-1172) was an avid admirer of the Patola weaving and it was during his period that this culture took a major leap. Patola silk sarees were now being seen as a status symbol. Due to the time taken in its weaving and price, only aristocrats could afford it during old times. After the decline of the Solanki dynasty, the Salvis found themselves a big market in Gujarat and started becoming a household name. Due to its growing demand and popularity, it was also given the title of stridhan.

Also, some historians claim that Patola weaving has been known since the 4th century. It is because of the resemblance of the tie-dye technique of Patola found in the Ajanta caves. During the 3rd, 4th, and 5th centuries A.D., the Vakataka dynasty, which ruled over a sizable portion of Deccan, was the patron of the Ajanta Caves.

Weaving and Design of Patola Sarees

These are made using the double Ikat weaving process, which means the colours, designs and patterns are the same on both sides and cannot be distinguished easily. These are made using the warp and weft process with resist-dyeing, a method of dying yarn using dye to make a design by blocking certain sections and only allowing the unblocked portions to be coloured. It involves a lot of calculation, visualisation and a round of tying and dyeing to achieve the visualised final product.

These sarees are characterised by bright colours, like red, orange, yellow and indigo blue. The patterns and motifs on the sarees constitute animals, birds, human figures and Gujarat’s architecture. The most popular designs are Nari Kunjar Bhat (women and elephant patterns), Paan Bhat (Peepul leaf motif) and Fulvali Bhat, which refers to floral patterns.

Styling Patola Sarees

  • Pair your saree with gold or silver jewellery. You may also go for a pearl necklace, bangles or earrings which will complement your saree and give you an elegant look.
  • The colours and patterns of the Patola saree should be complemented by the blouse you choose. Choose a blouse in a complementary shade for a more harmonious ensemble, or go with a contrasting colour to make an instant impact. Choose the neckline and sleeve that will be best suited for the occasion.
  • The way the saree is draped can have a big impact on how it looks overall. The pallu can be draped in the Gujarati way, which involves bringing it forward over the shoulder and pleating it. Alternatively, you can wear it in the traditional Nivi manner, which involves draping the saree around the waist and leaving one end of the pallu hanging over the shoulder.
  • Wear shoes that complement your style and the event when wearing a saree, while also being comfortable. Traditional mojris, juttis, or sandals in a coordinating shade are your options.

    Taking Care of Patola Sarees

        • Use mild detergent and cold water to wash the Patola saree and preserve its texture and colour.
        • Dry clean your saree, and dip it in cold water for a few minutes before drying them.
        • Get it steam-ironed or iron it on a low setting to prevent damage.
        • Avoid exposing your saree to harsh conditions, direct sunlight or perfume, as it might lead to discolouration.
        • Keep your saree in a dry and clean place, away from moisture or pests. And wrap it in muslin or cotton cloth to wrap and store them.