As a place, Kota in Rajasthan is famous for its three Ks namely the yummilicious kachori made here, the famous Kota stone and the Kota Doria. While Rajasthan is famous for the wide variety of sarees that its craftsmen weave, Kota Doria is subtly different from the rest. However, it retains the inherent character of the state. Its uniqueness lies in its design wherein the two naturally occurring fibres of silk and cotton are interwoven to create this magically different design.
So what’s the story behind it?
Historically speaking, the Kota Doria originated as “Masurias” from the weavers of Mysore. It came to Kota in the 17th and the 18th century through a Mughal army general. The general, Rao Kishore Singh got this during the reign of Shah Jahan. It was noticed that Masurias were heavily influenced by the sarees from Kota. This resulted in the making of “Kota-masurias” and ultimately the Kota Doria sarees. The Rajasthan royals loved the fabric. No wonder, it subsequently became one of the most popular and graceful fabrics in India.
Using different combinations of the warp and the weft, weavers magically create square-check patterns within the fabric itself. These patterns are popularly known as “Khat” and are so skilfully done that it makes the fabric seem almost transparent. It is one of the best-known fabrics to wear during summers. It is airy and light and provides excellent protection from the scorching heat of North India.
These exceptionally distinctive sarees from Kota come in three different woven styles. The basic variety makes for an excellent everyday wear as it is made either from cotton threads of slightly coarse texture or from plain golden threads. The block-printed one is a relatively new addition and is perfectly suited for wearing at any classically casual occasion. The Zari Kota Doria also comes as salwaar suit material. It is mostly meant for a dressy affair as the infused zari work imparts a grace to it.
A very interesting fact to note here is the use of the paste of onion and water as a raw material for strengthening the fabric yarn. Even with machine made Kota Doria fabrics flooding the market, the popularity of an authentic Kota Doria has not gone down. In fact, the unevenly edged fabric is a result of weaving on traditional looms. This can be used to distinguish an authentic from the machine-made one. Truly a fabric made to conquer the summer heat, the technique of Kota Doria remains unmatched till date.