Threads of legacy: Sarees of Andhra Pradesh

Threads of legacy: Sarees of Andhra Pradesh

Andhra Pradesh is known for its extensive and varied cultural heritage. The state patronises a variety of well known crafts, including Kondapalli, Kalamkari Paintings, among others. Moreover, Andhra Pradesh has a long tradition of producing handwoven textiles. With delicate and distinguished designs, it creates the most luxurious sarees and fabrics. The renowned looms have a unique way of weaving, producing and finishing unique fabrics. Some of the popular ones are Mangalgiri handlooms, Gadwal sarees, Eluru Carpets to name a few. The majority of these handlooms use cotton and silk for weaving. In recent times, artisans have developed competence in weaving fabrics from a combination of natural silk and cotton, known as “cotton silk” or “sico”. In this blog, let’s explore the splendid textiles of Andhra Pradesh.

Six yard wonders of Nalgonda: Pochampally Ikat sarees

Pochampally Ikat sarees

Ikat weaving has become popular over the years in many weaving villages in Pochampally, a town in the Nalgonda district of Andhra Pradesh. Ikat fabrics have always been known  for their distinctive designs and unmatched beauty. In Ikat weaving, cotton or silk yarns are used to weave sarees with patterns that resist dyes. The pattern is neither woven into the structure of the fabric nor is applied to the surface of a completed cloth. Instead, before dying, portions of the warp or weft threads are covered with a rubber strip. The patterns are made onto the threads before being constructed into a fabric.

Six yard wonders of Dakshina Kashi: Kalamkari sarees

Kalamkari textiles are the indigenous handlooms of  Srikalahasti town of Chittoor district in Andhra Pradesh. The name Kalamkari originates from the Persian words qalam (pen) and kari (craftsmanship). Initially, it was used to portray sacred texts from  the Mahabharata and Ramayana. Displayed as decorative backdrops in temples, depicting the mythological stories, Kalamkari is an adored style of textile painting created using natural or vegetable dyes. 

Six yard wonders of Silk City: Dharmavaram sarees

Originating from a small town of Andhra Pradesh’s Anantapur district, Dharmavaram, these hand-woven sarees are made of mulberry silk and zari. Abundant usage of gold zari bestows a rich lustre to the saree, adding to its  resplendence and grandeur. Richly woven motifs of flora & fauna alongside patterns modelled after temple murals and paintings are the main designs on these sarees. Dharmavaram sarees are an ideal choice of attire as festive wear or  special occasions as their splendour is enhanced by the usage of gold, silver, green, and red zari.

Six yard wonders of the hillock town: Mangalagiri saree

Mangalagiri, a town in the Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh, has a special place in the global textile map. Mangalagiri sarees exude a unique charm as they are crafted with a zari on the border and without any motifs on the body. Made from cotton, these pure handloom sarees are lightweight and easy to wear. The weaving technique has changed significantly over the years, embracing both borders and those without. The borders on the weft of the saree are famous for their gorgeous and distinctive designs.

Six yard wonders of Gadwal city: Gadwal sarees 

Native to the Jogulamba Gadwal region of Gadwal, hand woven, Gadwal silk sarees feature a simple body with a golden edge border consisting of several motifs. They are interwoven using the locally popular“Kuppadam” and “Kumbam”technique. These border motifs consist of floral leaves or designs inspired by architecture. The  weaving patterns on the side borders give the sarees a lustrous and a distinct charm. The body of the saree is woven of cotton threads whereas the border and pallu are made of silk threads, making Gadwal saree even more unique. The sarees’ border patterns range from floral themes to stripes, temples, and coin motifs. Also the contrasting saree borders give an elegant appeal making them a practical choice for all types of occasions.

Six yard wonders of Srikakulam: Ponduru sarees 

Ponduru, a quaint town in Andhra Pradesh takes pride in being a centre for fine hand-spun (Ambar charkha) Khadi. Ponduru sarees are created entirely by hand,  beginning to end. Pomegranate peel, indigo, madder, and their mixtures are used as natural dyes in Ponduru sarees to create various traditional colours. These sarees require a significant amount of time and labour from the weavers  of Ponduru. The finesse of Ponduru Khadi garnered Mahatma Gandhi’s appreciation. He also mentioned Ponduru Khadi in ‘Young India’, a national newspaper of the pre-independence era.

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