As Summer approaches, the women folk of India who still love wearing sarees, think of purchasing cotton sarees. The women along the Eastern region of India think of Bengal Cotton Sarees. All the South Indian women think of Chettinad or Kanchipuram cotton sarees and while women along the Deccan Plateau think of Narayanpet Cotton Sarees. These different types of handloom cotton sarees are so synonymous with the weather and have been worn for centuries, by the women of our nation.
Most of the older women in Maharashtra would have owned a NarayanPet saree, either in cotton or in Silk. In fact, they believe it to be woven in Pune, Maharastra. But that is not the case. Narayanpet is a town in Telangana that is located about 167 kms from Hyderabad. It was intially a part of the Mahbubnagar district but in 2019 became a district by itself. It is this Narayanpet district where the beautiful Narayanpet handloom sarees are woven.
How do you recognise a Narayanpet saree??? The body of the saree is characterised by a dual shade colour patterned with a checks design using either zari threads or contrast colour threads. The Pallu is characterised by the striped zari design adjoining bands of contrast colour. The wide saree border is traditionally woven in contrast colour with zari motifs of the floral and fauna or a temple border.
You won't be surprised to hear the weavers talking fluently in Marathi as most of them have some ancestral relationship with Maharashtra. It is believed that the original weavers of Narayanpet were a part of the entourage of the Maratha King, Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj, who had rested for some time in this region before continuing his journey. Few of the weavers stayed behind and started the tradition of weaving sarees with a distinct checkered design with borders that characterised the beautiful temples of the region. Traditionally , these sarees were woven in pure cotton to suit the weather of the region. The women folk could easily wear them through out the year. The contrast colour pallus along with small zari designs on the saree made it appropriate even for special occasions.
Narayanpet sarees are traditionally woven using the interlocked weft technique where the 2 weft yarns are joined securely by linking them together in a row. This way, the weavers can add different colours side by side in the same saree. Thus you will always find Narayanpet sarees in dual shades, like Purple-Pink, Blue-Violet, Maroon-Green etc.
These sarees also look similar to the Ilkal/Khun sarees from the Karnataka region especially in the Pallu design. Narayanpet sarees typically has bands or pattis of contrast colour in the pallu similar to the silver tope design of Ilkal sarees.
Nowadays, the the warp of the Narayanpet handloom cotton saree is made of cotton yarn while the weft is made of mercerised cotton yarn. This gives a silky effect and glossy look to the traditional cotton saree, making it more appealing. The typical zari borders are being replaced by wide Jacquard borders with intricate designs of the flora and fauna. These variations in the traditional design are created to suit the silhoutte of a modern woman.
Thus Narayanpet sarees are a fusion of the cultures of Maharashtra as well as Telangana and are a testimony to the fact that our ethnic designs can withstand and adapt over centuries to suit the comforts of the people who wear them.
Shubhsarini Collections has Narayanpet Sarees woven in Cotton as well as Silk.