Patola is one among the hundreds of varieties of Sarees India offers. Its production was first brought up by the Salvi community, who migrated from Maharashtra to Patan, Gujarat.
Patola saree is a rich variety of silk saree with a unique dying and weaving technique, known and practiced only by the Salvi caste’s weavers. This traditional dress was, and still is very expensive, due to the enormous amount of manual work and craftsmanship required to produce one Patola Saree.
HISTORY OF PATOLA
The Silk weavers of the Salvi community migrated from present day mid Maharashtra to Patan, Gujarat with the intention of having the support of the Chaulukyas Rajputs, who ruled all of Gujarat and parts of Malva and south Rajasthan at the time, with Anahiwad Patan as the capital.
The art of Patola weaving is very old. Some historians say, the art of Patola weaving was known in the 4th Century Ajanta caves, which resembles the tie-dyes technique of patola.
Patola-weaving is a closely guarded family tradition. No other than the Salvi weavers knew the method and techniques to produce one. It was only taught to the male members of the family and they further carried on this traditional style of weaving for centuries.
This traditional dress was of very rich quality, due to which it became very popular among the Aristocratic families. Patola dresses were worn by the Royals and High status and rich families of that time.
Patolas are produced with the method of resist-dyeing process, using the warp and weft technique. A sword-shaped stick made out of rosewood, called Vi, is used for adjusting the yarns while arranging. It takes more than two people and more than six months to weave and finally produce a patola saree, making it a very tedious task and hence, the expensive price of it evident.
The first step is to tie the yarn with cotton threads according to the pattern. Measurements can be as small and precise as ¼th of a millimeter. Every piece and colour has a unique place in the pattern, so a very skilled and precise craftsman is required to make a Patola Saree. It requires multiple people working together while weaving a single saree. Sometimes, depending upon the design and length, it might even take a year to finish.
UNIQUENESS IN PATOLA
Patola sarees are double ikat, threads of both sides are dyed and weaved with the same precision and concentration. This makes the Patola saree double side wear, and both sides look exactly the same.
Natural dyes like indigo, turmeric, henna, catechu, madder roots, katha, marigold flower, etc are used in making Patola. Also, the use of artificial dyes like Copper Sulphate, Alum, Potassium Dichromate , etc are used, which makes the vibrant colours of the unique design of Patola Saree.
Based on their origin, there are two varieties available of Patola sarees:
The Rajkot Patola, and the Patan Patola.
Rajkot Patolas are single ikat weaves that are vertically resist-dyed, while Patal Patolas are double ikat weaves that are horizontally resist-dyed.
Patan Patolas are much more expensive as they are marked as one of the most complicated textile designs in the world.
IDENTIFYING AN ORIGINAL PATOLA SAREE
Patola Saree is made of pure silk, any Patola found to be made of silk and cotton or just cotton is fake.
The colour of a genuine Patola Saree never fades aways. Even after heavy wear and rough washing.
The price of a Patola Saree is above 1 Lakh Rs. Generally it ranges from 1.5 Lakhs upto 3 Lakhs Rs.