The Paithan town in Maharashtra produces a unique variety of handwoven sarees. It is embroidered with Zari in golden thread with its borders having oblique square designs and Pallov (Pallu) having unique patterns such as peacock patterns. Regarded as one of the richest silk sarees in India, it attracts the heart of every Indian woman.
More than 2000 years ago, the art of Paithani was developed in the city of Pratishthan near Aurangabad. However, it was during the 19th and 20th centuries when the Nizam of Hyderabad ordered large quantities of Paithani silk and largely contributed to this art. Initially, its production was limited to Paithan but with the increase of its popularity, the weaving activities spread all over Maharashtra.
The production of Paithani comprises the use of either zari or silk threads which are typically of three types – Charkha which is uneven and costs less, Ciddle Gatta which has better quality besides being smoother while China Silk is the finest and most expensive among them all. Since Paithani is completely hand woven, the time taken to complete it varies from a month to a year or more. The higher range Paithanis have unique designs since they are individually made in contrast to repetitive designs in the lower range ones.
Paithani has an extensive and rigorous manufacturing process which starts with dyeing the raw silk in order to make it smooth and lustrous after which it is set on the loom. The concluding step is weaving which normally takes 18 to 24 months if the complexity of the design is high. It takes a master to weave the borders and pallu since they are intricate and need efficiency.
There are two divisions whereby one has a common color for warp and weft on the borders and a different color on the body known as the Kadiyal or interlocked design. Ekdhoti design involves dissimilar choice of colors for warp and weft. While the traditional Paithani’s include silve plated zari, Brocade Paithani’s have zari in gold.
The art and design on pallu and borders are catergorized in 3 broad types. Bangadi Mor implies a peacock in a bangle shape which is attractive and expensive. Munia brocade is a green leaf colored style since it is weaved with parrots(Munia). A colorful design is that of Lotus brocade which consists of seven colors.
In many regions of Maharashtra, it is customary to gift a Paithani saree to the bride on her wedding. However, Paithani fabric is not just limited to Maharashtra, in the recent light of times, it has known to attract people globally like America and Australia. Paithani suits all formal celebrations like corporate events and social parties along with wedding parties and get-togethers.
Accessories and jewelry enhance the beauty of this design especially gold plated ornaments. Owing to their typical weaving techniques, the Paithani Saree mostly comes with a higher price tag. Although it requires some maintenance such as avoiding direct sunlight and harsh washing, the Paithani is an exquisite design and will always show its class.