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The magic of Maheshwari Sarees

Updated: May 14, 2022

The town of Maheshwar is located in the heart of our country, amidst the lush sceneries of Madhya Pradesh, on the banks of the Narmada River, affectionately known as Maa Rewa. With riverbank forts, royal gardens, ancient temples, and holy hymns preserving its cultural legacy forever, time stands still in this medieval town. Handwoven Maheshwari sarees, an embodiment of elegance and exuberance from this renowned handloom weaving center dating back to the 5th century, are the town's crowning achievement.

Weaving has been a way of life for the residents of this village for centuries. It rose to prominence during the reign of Maratha Holkar when it was lavished with royal patronage, encouragement, and support. They shined brightest, however, when Maharani Ahilyabai Holkar seized the throne in the 18th century. The Maharani invited expert weavers from faraway nations to come to share their wisdom with the craftspeople in her realm during the Golden Age, which she dubbed "the Golden Age." According to legend, when she needed a unique gift for her friends and relatives, she asked her weavers to sew a beautiful 9-yard saree that she designed herself.

These magnificent cotton robes quickly became popular among the royal and aristocratic populations. It was unique since it had pallus on both ends, allowing it to be draped on the reverse side as well. Versatile and long-lasting, they were recognized as Maheshwari sarees across the country over time.

The larger and sturdier pit looms that were attached to the ground were employed in traditional weaving. Dyeing and untangling the yarn, reeling it by hand to transform it into small rolls, nimble weaving designs, and augmentation with zari, kinara, gold, and gemstones are all part of the complicated process. The light and airy fabric is finished with a glossy sheen, making it ideal for our tropical climate. The usage of wool instead of silk and cotton is a fascinating aspect of this weaving, and it is said to be an uncommon and cherished item. Check for the trademark reversible border, popularly known as 'Bugdi,' to identify a genuine Maheshwari saree.

The town and its ecosystem are a major source of inspiration, whose character is mirrored in these yards of wonder, from patterns to colors. Traditionally, it employs vegetal dyes with names like Angoori (grape green), Gul Bakshi (magenta), Aamrak (golden yellow), Jaamla (purple), and Tapkeer (taupe) (deep brown). It incorporates a variety of designs and patterns, including Eent (a brick-like design found in forts), Heera (diamonds), Lehar (a blend of waves and ghats), and much more. The Maheshwari sarees are a part of our Sundari Silks collections as a historical handloom, and we strive to ensure that the tradition of these treasured crafts carries on for posterity.

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