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Save the Weave
Saving India’s Incredible Weaves
"When human hands and heart work in tandem, that is grace in the making. Handwoven cloth has beauty and grace that is significant.” ―Sadhguru

Save the Weave is a movement initiated by Isha Foundation to bring awareness globally and in India about the need to shift to natural fibres.

India is home to more than 136 unique weaves, mostly in the form of sarees. Traditionally woven in cotton and silk, sarees are the backbone of Indian Handloom sector that is rapidly being replaced by machines and synthetic fibres.

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Salem Cotton Sarees
From: Salem, Tamil Nadu
The most discernible weave of Salem is the Salem cotton weave with the butta design of the pallu and border giving it a distinctive appearance. The weave count is responsible for the strength and softness.

The organic cotton collective sources its dyes from natural sources, providing the weavers a non-toxic working environment with better wages.

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Negamam Sarees
From: Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu
Negamam saree is the glory of a small village Negamam in Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu.

The saree is famous for its vibrant colors, simple checkered and striped designs. Negamam saree is weaved from Kora Silk, Silk Cotton, or Pure Cotton. The sarees typically have narrow borders and intricate pallus adorned with traditional motifs like peacocks, parrots, paisleys, elephants, and swans, which are often repeated and mirrored across the fabric.

It has the additional advantage of becoming softer with each wash and experiencing it can only renew the appreciation for the simplistic beauty that organic cotton can bring.

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Chinnalapatti Sarees
From: Chinnalapatti, Tamil Nadu
Chinnalapatti sarees are lustrous, fine silk cotton sarees made with the tie and dye technique. These sarees are woven like ikat fabrics and hence appeal to a lot of working women. Chinnalapatti weavers are masters in the art of weaving 'kora' silk in warp and 'mercerized' cotton in weft.

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Chinnalapatti
Kanchi-Cotton
Kanchipuram Cotton Sarees
From: Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu
Kanchi cotton is a brilliantly woven fabric originating from the city of Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu.

Cotton is considered to be the favorite fabric of Lord Shiva and silk was preferred by Lord Vishnu. Legend has it that Kanchi weavers are descendants of Sage Markanda, who was considered to be the master weaver for the Gods themselves. You can see several impressions of Kanchipuram temples finely woven in these sarees.

It’s a must-wear for women at traditional ceremonies, weddings and other festivities in South India.

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Jamdani Sarees
From: Burdwan, West Bengal
Jamdani weave of West Bengal is one of the finest varieties of muslin handwoven from cotton. This art flourished under Mughal patronage.

The name Jamdani is of Persian origin and comes from the word “jam” meaning flower and “dani” meaning vase. The name is suggestive of the beautiful floral motifs on these sarees.

The base fabric for Jamdani is unbleached cotton yarn and the design is woven using bleached cotton yarns to create a light-and-dark effect. It results in the vibrant patterns that appear to float on a shimmering surface, which is a feature unique to Jamdani sarees.

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Jamadani
Rasipuram
Rasipuram Cotton Silk Sarees
From: Rasipuram, Tamil Nadu
A small town in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, the name Rasipuram is derived from ‘Rajapuram’, which literally translates to “King’s Town”. Keeping with its regal moniker it is well known for its resplendent sarees.

Rasipuram handlooms are traditional weaves known for its fine quality and fast colours. The specialty of the sarees is that the weavers are able to produce a checkered as well as a temple border on the sarees. Each and every thread of the Rasipuram saree is hand woven.

These sarees are celebrated for their contrast of border to main body, and the unique choice of motifs inspired by local traditional architecture and temple motifs.

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Kasavu Sarees
From: Kuthampally, Kerala
Kasavu is a handwoven cream colored sari with a gorgeous contrasting golden border traditionally worn by the women of Kerala.

From God’s own country emerges one of the finest time-honored saris that defines the essence of beauty and simplicity. Also known as Mundum Neriyathum, the Kasavu is considered to be the most auspicious attire for any special occasion or ceremony.

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Kasavu
Narayanpet
Narayanpet Cotton
From: Telangana
Narayanpet sarees exhibit the combined influence of Maharashtra and Telangana. They have a traditional maroon or red patti border, checkered body, and a broad rich pallu with a unique pattern of red and white bands.

The more decorative ones have temple motifs. These rich lightweight sarees are made using high-quality cotton or silk and vegetable dyes.

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Kanchipuram Silk Cotton Sarees
From: Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu
Kanchi cotton silk is a brilliantly woven fabric originating from the city of Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu.

Cotton is considered to be the favorite fabric of Lord Shiva and silk was preferred by Lord Vishnu.

Legend has it that Kanchi weavers are descendants of Sage Markanda, who was considered to be the master weaver for the Gods themselves. You can see several impressions of Kanchipuram temples finely woven in these sarees.

It’s a must-wear for women at traditional ceremonies, weddings and other festivities in South India.

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Kanchi-Silk-Cotton

 

Paithani
Paithani Silk
From: Maharashtra
The traditional Paithani saree is crafted on a handloom with pure silk yarns and dyed in traditional colours. The silk yarns are sourced from Bangalore or Mysore and the zari threads are sourced from Gujarat. The preparation of silk and zari, dyeing and weaving, is all carried out in the town of Paithan, Maharashtra.

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Gandhigram Sarees
From: Gandhigram, Tamil Nadu
Gandhigram Handloom not only keeps the nation’s heritage alive but also provides livelihood to nearly two thousand people. Gandhigram Handloom is unique because of the geometric checks and stripes woven in the fabric, in addition to plain textures. Use of natural dyes is also endearing to the patrons.

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Gandhigram Sarees
Paithani
Ponduru Sarees
From: Srikakulam, Andhra Pradesh
A small part of our very precious past lies in the very quaint village of Ponduru. A mere 30km from Srikakulam district in Andhra Pradesh, this place is home to Ponduru Cotton, a variety favored by no other than the Mahatma himself. The uniqueness of Ponduru Cotton lies in the fiber - produced mainly from short staple hill variety cotton that is so pest resistant, it allows for chemical free farming!

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Bobbili
From: Narayanapuram, Andhra Pradesh
In Andhra Pradesh on the southeastern coast of India lies a village called Narayanapuram, the locale for traditional Bobbili Cotton Saris. If you wander the pathways in this village, you will find many family homes with brightly colored threads in multi-colored hues shining on their verandas, and it is in these family homes where the vibrant Bobbili sari is given life. Narayanapuram village has a close-knit community of 300 weavers who work on 50 maggams (looms) in rotation and are dedicated to creating these cotton marvels which are famed for their softness and low cost.

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Gandhigram Sarees
Paithani
Chettinad Cotton
From: Chettinad region, Tamil Nadu
Chettinad saris are named after the town in which they have been produced for many years. The town of Chettinad is located in the southern part of Tamil Nadu and the majority of population there belongs to the Chettiar community. They have a very distinctive culture, interesting food and a unique fashion sense. Chettinad saris have been worn by them for many centuries and carry with them a very long and detailed history. Chettinad saris are made of a thick variety of cotton which gives the sari an opaque quality. The complex method of weaving used to make Chettinad saris creates a shimmering and supple look for the cotton fabric, making the saris more comfortable and formal at the same time.

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Single Ikat
From: Pochampally, Telangana
Ikat is a meticulous technique of tying and dyeing the warp, weft or both before weaving them into a textile form. Single ikat fabric is created by interweaving tied and dyed warp with plain weft or a resisted weft yarn is inserted in plain weft

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Gandhigram Sarees
Gandhigram Sarees
Bhujodi
From: Kutch, Gujarat
The district of Kutch boasts a weaving history that spans centuries. Among the many weaving clusters present here, it is safe to say that Bhujodi is the centerpoint of Kutch’s textile industry. So widespread is the appeal of its handcrafted cloth that the village has now grown to become synonymous with what is popularly known as "Kutchi weaving". In fact, the exalted "Kutch Shawl" has even been granted the Geographical Identification (GI) tag Perhaps the highlight of the weave is its treasury of fine motifs that bear names such as dholki, hathi, vakhiyo, etc. Created with the extra-weft technique, these designs represent the cultural mores of the weave’s wearer community

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Ajrakh Prints
From: Kutch, Gujarat
Ajrakh prints have a history that cuts across timelines and geographies, thereby bridging cultures. Ajrakh is a type of hand block resist printing which has its roots in the Sindh district of Pakistan.The most defining feature of Ajrakh prints is how heavily the makers draw on nature – right from the cloth (primarily handspun and handwoven cotton and silk) to dyes derived from indigo, madder, camel dung, lime, iron deposits and other natural materials.

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Gandhigram Sarees
Gandhigram Sarees
Benares Brocade
From: Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
In India, Benaras brocades are synonymous with grandeur. The motifs on them are inspired from Indian and Persian designs mainly comprising of foliage and floral patterns.This ancient craft is practiced by craftsmen known as ”karigars”, coming from a lineage of traditional weavers who have passed down their exquisite finesse through generations. The exceptional intricacy of this weave can take anything from 14 days to 6 months to complete a single sari.

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