Maheshwari saree of Madhya Pradesh

Published: 08th January 2010
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The traditional sarees of the Madhya Pradesh has an unusual origin for the generous queen Ahilya Bai who once ruled the territory and designed the first saree. These sarees were originally worn by the ladies of royal status but nowadays they are available in both national and international markets.



Saree is considered to be the most stylish outfit for the Indian women. Indians believe that adorning a saree is an integral part of Indian tradition that symbolizes sophistication in ethnicity. Women from all over the world have accepted this attire because it not only keeps the grace of women intact, but also enhances the beauty of the wearer.



The typical definition of a saree can be said as an elongated, unstitched cloth. It extends from four to nine meters in length-that drapes over the body in different styles. The style to wear a saree differs from place to place owing India to be a country of diversities. The most common style to wear a saree is to wrap around the waist area. The Indian saree is accompanied by a blouse and a petticoat. The blouse is also known as choli or ravika which is the upper garments. The ancient history indicates the remarkable variety of costumes that are made of cotton and silk fabrics which were used as the Indian Saree.



The Maharashtrian women wear this traditional sarees with the flowing pleats in front while the back portion is tucked into the waist. The Maheshwari sarees are mostly found in cotton and silk which is characterized by its simplicity. The body of the saree is plain or has stripes or checks. The plain sarees are known as Chandrakala and baingani Chandrakala, which is woven with blackish violet wrap and chocolate weft. The saree can be worn either side because of the reversible borders of the saree which is known as 'Bugdi'.



The pallav of the Maheshwari sarees is also unique with five stripes with three coloured and two white colours alternating. Now these Indian sarees are made in natural and as well as artificial silk also. The sarees usually have rich golden borders and two gold bands on the pallu. The traditional sarees with gold chicks, with lotus rounded all over are known as butis-are more expensive.



The town Maheswar was established by the famous queen Ahilya Bai. The figurines in the wall of her citadel and the places of worship became the source of inspiration for the sophisticated patterns of the Maheshwari saree. These designs are still found on Maheshwari saree even today. The saree is made up of pure silk which is very soft in texture with a unique shine. The golden threads or the zari works finds their way in the borders, pallu and the motifs.



The designs of the motifs are derived from the temples and the palaces of Maheshwar. The Maheshwari sarees were initially made only in red, maroon, black, purple and green but today these sarees are also made in lighter shades. The colours used in the Maheshwari saree are grape green, magenta, deep mauve pink, deep pink, golden, dark brown, cyan and many more. The Maheshwari sarees are designed in different decorations like bel phool, mayur, aam buta, ambi butti, chand tara etc. Nowadays womens don't have to try too hard to look good and trendy when it comes to a party.



The weavers make the cotton threads by high reeling and weaving cloth. The method of dying is practiced by making vegetable dyes from the locally available plants called katha colour. The border of the saree and the motifs are woven with the colourful thread which is dyed by the local method process. These sarees are quite durable and the motifs are quite unusual.



The hues and shades of the fabric are referred to in the vernacular as Angoori, gul bakshi, dalimbi, rani, etc. The use of zari and kinari is also a unique collection of the Maheshwari sarees. The zari work is seen in the blouse piece also. The saree are traditionally woven by the Hindu weavers, most of them are women from the Maru community. The weavers got the silk yarn from China, zari the golden thread is from Surat and some from Germany.



In the beginning the Maheshwari saree was made of pure silk then gradually these sarees began to be made in pure cotton and with a mixture of silk and cotton. The saree was woven by the silk yarn in the wrap and cotton in the weft. Nowadays wool is also being used in the fabrication of the saree. These Maheshwari saree are extremely light in weight. Another attractive saree is the printed saree with plain woven fabric along with prints in various colours and patterns. They are either hand printed or machine printed. Nowadays many designers have taken up these sarees as their main study and have come up with numerous patterns and designs.


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