A perfect blend of Natural beauty, rich history, and spectacular manmade wonders, Maheshwar has always intrigued a wide spectrum of tourists with varied interests for many years now. And like many tourists who visit this ancient town in lakhs every year, we had a mission in hand too to visit the handloom industry and see the magic being woven.
A small town in Madhya Pradesh situated on the banks of River Narmada, the morning bells ringing in temples and the view of many sadhus and pilgrims at the bank of the holy river of Maheshwar, leave an imprint on your mind and soul. Enjoying the pleasant weather and appreciating the rustic beauty of the city, as we made our way through the streets of the town admiring the brightly painted wooden houses with overhanging balconies, what caught our attention was the click-clack of the wooden looms from one of the historic buildings which happens to be the weaving center of Maheshwar.
A center for handloom weaving since the 5th century, the origin of Maheshwari sarees is traced to the establishment of Rehwa Society, an NGO founded by the Holkars in 1979 to give women employment and revive the town’s textiles. Home of one of India’s finest handloom fabric traditions, Maheshwar is noted as a centre for weaving colourful Maheshwari saris. These saris are weaved with distinctive designs involving stripes, checks, and floral borders.
As we stood there transfixed, watching them work on the loom, the weavers brought to our attention some interesting facts Maheshwari sarees are coloured using vegetable dyes. The most popular being angoori (grape green), dalimbi (deep pink), gul bakshi (magenta), jaamla (purple), tapkeer (deep brown) and aamras (golden-yellow). The pallav or aanchal of a Maheshwari sari is distinctive with five alternating stripes of which three are of different colours and two are white. The use of zari and kinari is used to embellish the saris which often have a rich golden border and two gold bands on the pallav. The unique feature of a Maheshwari sari is its reversible border. The border is designed in such a way that both sides of the sari can be worn. The fine, airy cloth is perfect for hot Indian summers while the blend of silk and cotton makes the cloth float above the skin.
While they were sharing with us the tricks of the trade, watching these weavers at work, weaving every single thread with finesses, delicacy, and sophistication, for us felt like a child watching a magic show! In all, Shatika’s trip to Maheshwar was worthwhile – A mission truly accomplished!
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