The technique of Ikat weaving is believed to be brought in the town of Pochampally from Chirala town of Andhra Pradesh. Graceful Pochampally Ikat Sarees, woven in silk, cotton and silk-cotton mixes of brilliant colours have big, bold and bright patterns. The uniqueness of Pochampally Ikat sarees lies in the transfer of design and colouring onto warp and weft threads first and then weave them together forming electrifying patterns on the body and pallu. Modern Pochampallys have great influence of the Patola sarees from Gujarat.
Made in the town of Bhoodan Pochampally in Nalgonda district of Telangana, India; Pochampally Sarees have been popular since early 1800s but the Pochampally silk saree manufacturing history goes back to 1970 when some villagers decided to weave silk along with cotton to make a better living. Pochampally Ikat sarees are known for their traditional geometric patterns in Ikat style of dyeing.
Bhoodan Pochampally is a cluster of 80 villages in Telangana state of India. The Bhoodan movement of Vinoba Bhave started in Pochampally in 1951, thus the town was renamed to Bhoodan Pochampally. The sarees made by the weavers here are called Pochampally Ikat Sarees. They is a mix of cotton and silk. The history of these sarees dates back to the early 1800s. However the manufacturing of Pochampally Ikat Silk Sarees started at a later stage. Pochampally Sarees are also listed as a part of ‘iconic saree weaving clusters of India’ in the UNESCO tentative list of World heritage sites. They got GI status in 2005.
Early Pochampally Ikat Sarees had borders which were embellished with supplementary warp patterns. The end of the saree had a series of bands which differed in width. The width reduced from the large central band. This changed with time. Now Pochampally Ikat Saree is recognized for its big, bold and bright patterns. They have geometric patterns with very bright colors. The most modern Pochampally designs are take from rumal, with wide plain borders, one or two bands in the end piece, and covered with ikat-created designs.
There are about 10,000 weaving families in Pochampally engaged in the making of this saree. Most of them belong to the Padamsali community. They used natural dyes to make ikat designs in the early times, but now they are being replaced by synthetic dyes because of the cost of production and the intricacy of designs. Pochampally saree is very comfortable to wear and is light in weight. The bright color and unique patterns of the saree attracts customers from all over India and abroad.
Besides Pochampally, Puttapaka and Chautuppal villages are the chief production sites for these saris in Telangana, Apart from Telangana, Orissa and Gujarat are also the hubs of production of Pochampally ikat sarees. They differ from the original Pochampally sarees in Telangana in their designs and the feel. The Pochampally cloth in Telangana is more smooth and lighter than the cloth in Orissa. The modern pochampallys have great influence of Patola sarees from Gujarat though. The characteristic patola motifs like elephants, parrots, dancing girls and flowers are often seen on these sarees.
Air hostesses of the Indian government's official air carrier, Air India, wear specially designed Pochampally silk sarees. Also, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan wore a Pochampally saree at her wedding and reception!
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