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SOLITUDES IN SILK
Analytical report submitted to the Discover India Program Committee, FLAME for the partial
fulfilment of the Discover India Program Six Credit Course.
Research Team:
Aakash Jain
Aayush Vyas
Aayush Agarwal
Atishaye Adya
Bhoomi Bhanushali
Dhruvita Patel
Nimalka Passanha
Ridhima Saxena

Faculty Mentor: Prof. Gauri Gandhi

AUTHENTICATION CERTIFICATE
This is to declare that the work amalgamated in this report entitled Solitudes in Silk submitted by
the undersigned research team was conceded out under my mentorship. Such material as has been
obtained from other sources has been duly acknowledged.
Research Team

Aakash Jain

[________________________]

Aayush Vyas

[________________________]

Aayushi Agarwal

Atishaye Adya

Bhoomi Bhanushali

[________________________]

Dhruvita Patel

[________________________]

Nimalka Passanha

[________________________]

Ridhima Saxena

[________________________]

[________________________]

[________________________]

Faculty Mentor:
Prof. Gauri Gandhi

[________________________]
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Acknowledgements
We would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to the Salvi family; Bharatbhai, Rohitbhai,
Rahulbhai and our very own Savanbhai. Your warmth and welcoming nature still wants us to come
back to Patan. You made our week long trip feel like we spent months with you. A little of us still
resides somewhere in the corners of the Salvi house and the by lanes of Patan. Now we can
confidently claim we have a home in Patan also. And a million thanks for bearing the
inquisitiveness in each of us with so much patience.
We are grateful to Mrs Vaidehi Patel, who was our mother away from home. None of us missed our
mothers during the trip because we knew you were there for us.
Gauri maam, we thank you for constantly bearing with us during the trip and being our guiding
light for the entire six months of the program.
The FLAME Chairman- to allow us to take this trip in the first place.
Our dean Prof. Christina Furtado for giving us valuable inputs and teaching us to always verify our
findings.
The DIP committee, for steering us tolerantly throughout the program. Professor Hardikar, Viraj
maam and Nandita maam for constantly correcting us and patiently listening to each one of us
whining, especially during the submission days of the project.
And finally, I thank you God for letting all of this happen peacefully

Table of Contents and Figures


Index
Prologue.............................................................................................................................7
1. Introduction..8
1.1 Patan 101.....................................................................................................................8
1.2 The Basic Fact file of Patan........................................................................................9
1.3 Motivation of our choice............................................................................................10
1.4 Focus of work.............................................................................................................11
1.5 Research Methodology...............................................................................................11
2. The Weaving Technique..13
2.1 The Workshop............................................................................................................15
2.2 The Loom...................................................................................................................17
2.3 Pattern Motifs.............................................................................................................23
2.4 Terminology and other local terms............................................................................25
2.5 Procurement of yarn...................................................................................................26
2.6 Processing of yarn......................................................................................................27
2.7 Processing of yarn for resisting..................................................................................29
2.8 Wrapping and Dyeing.................................................................................................31
2.9 Preparation of the loom and Weaving.......................................................................35
2.10
Weaving...............................................................................................................37
3. The Patolu Weavers- The Salvi Caste....41
3.1 Origin and Etymology................................................................................................41
3.2 The Family Structure..................................................................................................44
3.3 Forms of Marriage......................................................................................................46
3.4 Religious Characteristics............................................................................................47
3.5 Appearance, Attire, Home and their way of life.........................................................48
4. The Use and Distribution of the Patolu...51
4.1 The Jains and the Hindus of Gujarat..........................................................................51
4.2 Vohra Muslims............................................................................................................53
4.3 Hindus in Central and South India..............................................................................54
4.4 Distribution and use of Patola outside India...............................................................55
4.5 Archaeological Evidence............................................................................................56
4.6 Age and History of the Patola export trade.................................................................57
4.7 Structure and Patterning of export Trade....................................................................58
4.8 Patola Imitations..........................................................................................................59
5. Architecture in Patan..........................................................................................................63
6. The Mashru Weasvers........................................................................................................67
7. Major Learning and Conclusion.........................................................................................70
8. Appendix...........................................................................................................................72
9. Bibliography .....................................................................................................................88

FIGURES
1. Map of Patan8
2. District map of Patan9
3. Parts of a Patola Sari.14
4. Warp and Weft..15
5. The workshop in Patan..16
6. The loom (sketch)..17
7. Parts of a loom (sketch).18
8. Individual parts of a loom 1 (sketch).21
9. Individual parts of a loom 2 (sketch).22
10. The Salvi ancestors41
11. A Salvi weaver at work.43
12. Idol of Neminath at Salvivad48
13. Rani-ki-Vav..64
14. Pattern Motifs found in Rani-ki-Vav66
15. A Mashru weaver at work68
16. Group photograph73

Prologue
Seven hundred years ago, the modern day Patan, situated in the northern pockets of Gujarat, was
known as the Anhilpur Patan. It was ruled by a certain King Kumarpal1 of the Solanki dynasty. He
was a great follower of the Jain traditions. Meticulous and quite particular about his clothing and
out of sheer reverence towards the Jain religion, the King ensured that he was attired in newly made
Patola garments every time he visited the temple. This became known as the Kings Patolu and it
was branded as auspicious. This holy cloth was imported especially for the king from Jalna (modern
day Jalna) in Maharashtra. The patolu cloth was woven by a special guild of weavers known as the
Salvis and it was claimed that only seven hundred in number, this particular caste of weavers bore
skills so special that the cloth they produced was almost magical in nature.
However, on one occasion, the temple priest refused to let the King enter the temple deeming that
the Kings clothes were impure. On further investigations by the King it was found that the ruler of
Jalna was using the same Patolu fabric as bedspreads prior to exporting it. Insulted and furious,
King Kumarpal attacked Jalna and defeated their ruler. Consequently, to ensure the purity and
prevent the misuse of Patola, he moved all of the seven hundred Salvi weavers to Patan. The Salvis
came to reside in Patan. It has been centuries since their migration and yet they continue to live in
modern day Patan, still weaving the magical cloth, the techniques of which have yet remained
unknown to others and mastered by none but the Salvis themselves.
And thus our trip led us onto the quaint road to Patan wherein many a questions lie unanswered
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The Kumarpala legend also has another version according to which Kumarpala, the successor of
Jayasimha requested the Cahamana King Arnraja of Sapadalaksa (near Chittor) for some silk drape for
himself which was declined and Kumarpala attacked and defeated him and brought the Salvis of Bimbora
to his capital. (Das, Sukla. "Patola." Fabric Art: Heritage of India. New Delhi: Abhinav Publications, 1992. Pg.
65. Print.)

Chapter 1: Introduction
1.1: Patan 101
Located at the northern borders of the state of Gujarat, one would not know a lot about the sleepy
town of Patan, unless they were into the Sari business or a historian. Patan is an ancient fortified
town situated in the North- eastern region of Gujarat

Map of Patan 1

The town holds a prestigious place in history as it served as the thriving capital city of Gujarat for
about 600 years. Founded by the great Chavda king- Vanraj in 745 AD, Patan was initially called
Anhilpur Patan or Anhilwad Patan (after Anhil Shepherd, the Prime Minister and a great friend
of King Vanraj). The modern town of Patan cropped near the remains of Anhilwara (or Anhilpur)
after it was destroyed by Allaudin Khilji in 1298.

District Map of Patan 1

Situated about 120 kilometres, north-west of Ahmadabad, on the banks of the sacred Saraswati
River, Patan was at its zenith during the Solanki period. It was then a great place of learning and a
prosperous trading centre. The rulers were great patrons of arts and architecture and thus
constructed various religious and historical places in the town. It is described in the Jain text
Kumarpala Rasa as a prosperous fortified town, about 18 miles in circumference and 84 town
squares, bazaars laid out with gardens with fountains and trees, grammar school of Sanskrit and
Prakrit, Hindu and Jain temples. Today, one can barely find the traces of the magnificent historic
town.

1.2 The basic fact file of Patan is given below


PATAN

1.

Geographical location: 71.32o to 72.20o East, 23.66o to 24.41o North

2.

Temperature: 45o centigrade (maximum), 7o centigrade (minimum)

3.

Average rainfall: 600 mm

4.

River: Saraswati

5.

Area: 5,667.66 square kilometres

6.

District headquarters: Patan

7.

Talukas: 7

8.

Population: 1,342,746 (2011 Census)

9.

Languages: Gujarati, Hindi and English

10.

Seismic Zone: Zone I

1.3 The Motivation for our Choice


The mysterious and the charismatic culture of India has caught the imagination of many a poets,
thinkers, scientists, and philosophers, as well as historians. Conduct a simple exercise- walk to any
public place of your choice and ask the people: What is it that makes out nation so different from
the others? Majority of them will revert back to our history and eventually tell you that it is our
culture, our heritage, our customs, our legacies and our inheritance left behind after centuries of
events, places and people. Unity in diversity" is not just another locution or reference. The very
nature of these words is highly judicious to a realm like India that is extraordinarily rich in culture
and heritage. Few quotations or statements cannot label the plinth that India holds in the world map
because of its colourful and inimitable culture.
The people of India hold their places of worship, their historical architectures and more importantly
their attire very close to the heart when the culture comes under question. Our temples are an

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important part and parcel of our daily life as well as the various festivals and rituals followed; as
also the garb worn on these special occasions. It is said that the beauty of Indian women lie in their
attire. Very quaint and folkloric, yet contemporary is the Sari, worn by an Indian woman, whether
urban or rural.
The art and the architecture of our nation in all its glory and superfluity define the change
experienced and endured by the people throughout history. Every monument, irrespective of size
and stature, has been a landmark proof to the indigenous Indian history. Each has a story to tell.
The somnolent town of Patan implausibly had all the above mentioned traits conducive to an almost
perfect research location. It is the home of the ancient architecture of the Indian Sultanate, the
primeval temples and more importantly the culturally rich Patola saris.

1.4 Focus of work


Aim of the project
The purpose of our project work, carried out in Patan, was to comprehend if the
ancient art of double ikat weaving of the Patola cloth is indeed towards a decline.
Consequently, we formulated our thesis question: Is Patola weaving a dying art?
Goals

To conduct a comprehensive documentation of the art of Patola weaving

To understand the caste of the weavers

To map the changes, if any, in the weaving techniques over the year

To study the influence of the Patola imitation on the original art form

To study the influence of the Patola motifs and designs on the architecture around the town

of Patan

1.5 Research Methodology:


One of the chief reasons for our choice of studying the weaving techniques was the fact that the
process has never been documented in great detail. The only known documentation ever was carried
out by Alfred Buhler late in the 19th century. Unfortunately, his documentation was conceded in the
Dutch language, and moreover the copy has become rare through the years. Hence, currently it is
almost impossible to find data on the weaving techniques specific to the Patola weavers in the town
of Patan.

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Our preliminary research consisted mainly of referring to the various books on the double-ikat
textiles. India retains three primary double-ikat producing region, of which the least is known of the
weavers in Patan. It is not easy to provide a complete or even sufficient profile of the socio-cultural
particularities of this ancient art or the weavers. Moreover, only a small number of the members of
the Salvi caste of weavers actually continue to practise this art. A further difficulty in presenting
objective information was connected with the available sources. There were very few written
accounts available and of those which were available, majority were published in the local Gujarati
language. The findings on the internet, which were again very few in number, did not render much
help too. Consequently, our main tools for the field research were the interviewing of the weavers
and documenting their techniques first hand. This included video documentation and in depth
interviews with the weavers. Our research team also interviewed a number of experts in the field of
textile and architecture. Because of the above reasons, most of our information, thus, comes from
the interviews. To keep our sources in focus, the answers to most of our questions were mostly
recorded literally, along with the name of the informant and the date of inquiry. The other tool we
used extensively was the help of expansive surveys which further helped us to answer our research
question: Is Patola weaving a dying art?

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Chapter 2: The Weaving Technique


It is said very often that the Sari is the most beautiful of all the attire for women in the Indian
culture. It is said that the beauty of Indian women lie in their attire. Very quaint and folkloric, yet
contemporary is the Sari, worn by an Indian woman, whether urban or rural. Over the years there
have been various changes in this attire with respect to the length, the patterns, the motifs and
designs. A variety of Saris have been introduced every season. In fact, modern designers have
reached the extent of terming the traditional attire as Designer Saris.
In such modern times as these it came as a pleasant surprise to us that tucked away in the northern
pockets of Gujarat in Patan there existed an ancient art of sari weaving, known as the Patolu (plural
Patola) the word which has held onto its traditional methods. Of course, this too did not stay away
from the prying eyes of the commercial designers, but astonishingly it has stood the test of the time
again.
And so we asked ourselves: What is so special about this piece of cloth that it has earned the tag of
an heirloom?
In the following chapter we are going to discuss about the various intricacies of the weaving
techniques involved in this art.
Let us start with the most basic query.

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What is a patolu?

Parts of a Patola Sari 1

It is the most prominent and the intricate of all the ikat woven cloths. A patolu is, in fact, a double
ikat cloth. Generally all the Saris woven in the ikat style involve tying and dyeing of the warp or the
weft. The uniqueness of the patolu lies in the fact that both the warp and the weft are tied and dyed
separately using resist dyeing techniques (Resist dyeing will be later discussed in the chapter). This
form of weaving requires the most skilled weavers and it is widely considered to the most intricate
form of ikat.
The illustration given below should help in the better understanding:

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In the modern mechanised world, the Patolu is a living example of the vast difference between a
handmade and a machine-made fabric. Few in number yet more skilful with handiwork, the longestablished patolu weavers have successfully kept the art alive along with its traditional
foundations. Our research led us to the basic theoretical knowledge of the technique which yet
remains unknown and not mastered by majority of the weavers around the world. Unfortunately
over the years the actual number of the weavers originally involved with the art has been on a
steady decline owing to various reasons
This further led to a speculation whether the Patolu weaving is yet a dying art?

(Figure 1 " Basic diagram of plain weaving showing the warp and
weft threads. The loom shuttle carries the weft thread.")
< http://spiritshuttle.com/Images/WarpAndWeftDiagram.jpg>
Warp and Weft 1

The most important part of the weaving process is undoubtedly the workshop of the weavers where
the actual weaving takes place.

2.1 The Workshop


During our visit to Patan, we visited the workshop of Vinayakbhai Salvi (of the Kantilal lineage).
According to Savanbhai, the workshop was remodelled a few decades ago especially for patolu
manufacture. The newer workshop is not traditional in size, arrangement or designs yet it is suited
to its need. It is interesting to observe that though the workshop is not old fashioned anymore, the
weaving carried out there is traditional and so are the Salvi weavers who are themselves keeping up
with the modern times and yet they are conservative in their lifestyle.
The workshop is described below in some detail:
The important aspect is the main room (consisting of the loom) is about seven metres wide making
it easier for the entire length of the warp required for the sari to be spread out. The length of the
room is about nine metres which facilitates the operations which include long yarn lengths and the
use of tying devices for warp yarns. The side rooms were initially used for the warp assembling,
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weft preparation and the dyeing processes. Currently almost all the processes are carried out in one
single large room.
The workshop was originally covered with corrugated sheet metals, but after the remodelling a
cemented ceiling has been installed. The walls are white washed; on the back wall hang the
photographs of the initial patolu weavers (the Salvi ancestors) and the opposite wall has framed
pictures of the various processes and the stages of weaving. The interesting fact to be observed is
that the workshop is merged so well with the house that it looks as if it has existed there as long as
the house has. The loom hanging right in the middle of the hall does not look out of place, neither
do the other tools-they seem to belong right there. Mere words cannot justify this feeling. The
photograph below should give a better understanding.

The Workshop 1

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2.2 The loom

The Loom Sketch 1

Strangely enough, the loom used for patolu weaving, in spite of its many unusual features, has
hardly been described in the earlier literature. One of the major problems of Patola is its primitive
loom (Ghosh 19)2 which does not have peddles and so requires that the weaver perform all the
operations from manipulating the shuttles and lifting of the held to the adjusting the designs is done
by hand. This is one of the reasons why it is not getting the mass market since cost of fabric
becomes beyond the capacity of common man, while they can afford to get cheaper Ikats from
Orissa and Andhra Pradesh where they use peddles. (Ghosh 20)2.
It is said that a weaver can produce at the most 15 sarees a year due to their primitive technology
thus making the fabric too costly (Ghosh 20)3.
The device at a stage ready for weaving has a length of three to five metres. In the workshop of the
Salvi family, it stretches from the window almost to the rear wall. A part of the warp, wound
2&3

Ghosh, G. K., and Shukla Ghosh. " The Patola of Gujarat, Chapter 4." Ikat Textiles of India. New Delhi:
A.P.H., 2000. Print.

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loosely on a bamboo rod, is hung on this wall. The weaving is carried out on the side consisting of
the window, increasing the amount of light that is available to the weaver.
The details of the loom construction given below, which are partly contradictory, have been
obtained from our own observations in Patan. The individual parts are:

Parts of a Loom 1

A] Warp beam Device (KAMTHI):


It consists of two or three parts. In Patan, we have seen a device with one cylindrical bamboo and
two bamboo tubes cut in halves. The warp threads are twisted and knotted into small bundles at the
back of these rods. From here, the warp threads in the form of thick skeins lead to the portion of the
warp which is wound on a wooden stick and not stretched out on the loom. Two thick rope loops
join them with one another and also with transverse stick. A rope is attached in the middle of this
cross stick and tied to a hook on the wall. The tension rope can be tightened at will with the help of
a wooden double hook.

B] Leasing arrangement:
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The leasing arrangement which keeps the warp threads in their correct positions and prevents
entanglements placed roughly between the warp beam and the shedding system. The odd and even
warp threads are crossed between these parts. They lie in groups in the notches of the wooden stick.
These parts of the leasing arrangement are connected to one another at the side by means of cords
so that they do not slide to and fro.
C] Shedding Arrangement:
This is the most complicated part of the loom and permits the formation of two sheets necessary for
weaving; it divides the warp into two portions of odd and even threads which alternately cross
during weaving. The shed rod is used to form one shed. A thick wooden pressure bar is also part of
the shedding arrangement. It lies on the warp. It has, in the middle, a slightly curved handle and the
heddle is attached to the bar by means of cords and strips. On the right hand side, the bar is attached
along with the shed rod to a rope hung from the ceiling. On the left, it is connected to the shed rod
by means of a cord loop.
The weaving sword helps in extending the shed opening and in beating up the weft. It is made of
heavy, well-polished rosewood.
Occasionally, the sword has a bore at the back end through which a cord is threaded and attached to
the ceiling. With the help of this cord, the sword can be pulled out of the shed; the cord also
prevents the sword from slipping out when it is inserted in the end. When not in use, the sword lies
on a wooden stand near the loom.

D] TEMPLE (KATAR)
This device is simple-looking but very important for weaving. It is a double edged knife, located
near the place where weaving is carried out, on the cloth fell and parallel to the breast beam. It has
to be reset frequently in the course of weaving. Its function is to keep the fabric taut and to prevent
the fabric from shrinking because of the tension in the weft threads. An iron needle is tied to one
end of the bamboo strip in such a way as to let its tip protrude outwards from the strip. A cord loop
is attached to the other end. The strip is adjusted from below so that the needle is at one edge of the
fabric; the other end is fixed with the help of the loop and a needle. The device which is under

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tension keeps the fabric taut and maintains a uniform width. The temple has to be reset after every
few centimetres of cloth have been woven.
E] Breast or cloth Beam (TOR):
This is the heaviest part of the entire loom and consists of a wooden beam, square in cross section
with rounded edges. The left end is slightly tapered; the right end is cut straight and has a
protruding knob. Two square holes which cross each other are provided at this end; there is also an
iron strip to strengthen the beam. The holes take up a peg fixed to a wooden bench next to the loom.
Parallel to one edge of the beam, there is a thin wooden stick passed through the loops in the warp
threads and tied with a string leading through the holes in the breast beam. The front end of the
warp sheet is fixed in this fashion. The beam can be rotated and thus the cloth wound on it when it
is lifted from the peg on the right hand side.
The breast beam (and the entire loom) is inclined towards the left because it is placed in an
approximately 120 cm high hollow in a brick wall on the left. (Buhler 243). 4 The right end is
placed on a somewhat higher wooden bench. The inclined position is supposed to facilitate
weaving.

Bhler, Alfred. The Patola of Gujarat: Double Ikat in India. Vol. 1., Basle, Switzerland: Krebs, 1979. Print.

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Individual Parts of the Loom 1

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F] Shuttle (DHOTO or NALI)

Individual Parts of the Loom 2

The shuttle, used for inserting the weft into the warp sheet, consists of a short bamboo tube. One
end is cut straight and open; the other end (front end) is round, smooth and closed except for a small
hole in the knot of the bamboo. The bobbin (KANTHU, from KANTHALU, lit, bobbin) with yarn
wound on it lies inside the tube and the yarn comes out of the large opening.(Buhler 243)1 The
bobbin nowadays consists of a small aluminium tube; millet stalks (straws) were used formerly. A
pad of fine raw cotton placed at the open end of the tube prevents the bobbin from falling out,
without, however, hindering a smooth passage of the weft yarn. A small piece of rag-sometimes-a
small stick is inserted in the other end of the tube in order to keep the bobbin from slipping too deep
inside the tube. Whenever necessary the bobbin is removed along with the cotton pad by pushing a
needle through the small hole at the front.

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*Additional devices and implements:


A cushion with a white cover is generally kept on the brick wall. The shuttle is placed on it during
shed changing (and kept free of dirt). Other shuttles not in use (e.g. those containing single-coloured
yarn) are also placed on the cushion.
For correcting mistakes in the ikat design, thick 10-15 cm long iron needles are used; a thin smooth
steel plate is used to remove starch.
Scissors (KATAR), a foot-rule (ANKANU) and a container with a pump for sizing the warp are
other auxiliary implements. The place in front of the loom is slightly hollowed. A movable wooden
board ( PATIJ, lit. bench) is placed on side supports here, so that weaving can be carried out from a
sitting position.

2.3 Pattern Motifs


One of our primary research hypotheses was that the Patola business could boom only if it moved
ahead with time. We assumed that the business was seeing a downfall in spite of its uniqueness
because it could not meet the demands of the new age market. According to us, the motifs needed a
drastic revision as they had been the same since years and there was an urgent need of modernizing
the Patola sarees from its fabric to the machinery used to weave it. As of now, each saree is
handmade and it takes about 5 to 6 months to weave one of them. But we were proved absolutely
wrong when we interviewed scholars and talked to the weavers we realized that renewing Patola
could, in any sense, be a good idea from either the trade or heritage point of view as:

The customers generally demanded the old motifs because each motif was auspicious and

symbolic to their particular caste and respective traditions. In the traditional Gujarat Jaina culture,
for example, certain specific motifs were specially ordered for important ceremonies such as the
wedding of a young girl or the baby showers.

The patolu weavers are largely conservative in nature and do not want to alter the traditional

motifs in any way as they believe that the art would lose its essence and become like every other
popular art. They also mentioned that they did not care about the demands of market as they do not
consider this as their business but as a skill, a matter of pride that they have attained from their
forefathers.

Apart from this, the difficulty in designing new patterns for so complicated a technique

should also be kept in mind. This is the prime reason that most modern, untraditional fabrics mainly
have geometrical, abstract patterns (in other words, built up on motifs that are relatively easy to
23

design). The same thing works for Patola as invention of a new motif would mean construction of a
new graph which is like the blue print of the saree. A minor mistake can spoil the work of months
that is spent on weaving because threads are arranged according to these graphs. Therefore, patolu
weavers prefer the old motifs that they have been making since ages as they are verified. Any new
experimentation might lead them to run in heavy losses which again would not be a good for their
trade.
Although, combining familiar motifs and groups of motifs with one another or within the groups
themselves in a new way is far easier than inventing totally new patterns and possibilities of this
sort have been exploited quite frequently. For example, certain main field patterns have been
combined with different kinds of border stripes and ikat bands in the end panels, motifs mainly
found in main fields have been used in border stripes, the number of border stripes or parts of
frames and/or of ikat bands have been changed, certain motifs have been enlarged several times or
the number of pattern units has been changed. In this way a large number of patolu forms have been
able to come about. The choice of colours is an additional factor that can create extremely varied
effects basically identical patterns.
The ikat patterning characteristic of Patola can be composed of plant, zoomorphic and
anthropomorphic and abstract geometrical motifs. Although there are a number of existing motif
patterns; in reality, only few of the possible combinations of these elements into larger motifs and
patterned areas are taken advantage of and there are not as many patolu forms with totally different
patterning as one might at first think. One of the books we referred to, spoke of twelve and later of
eight main, traditional patterns. The kinds of patterns relevant for determining the motif types
belong to various groups. In one, leaf forms and leaf combinations predominate. A second is
characterized above all by blossoms, inflorescences, flowering shrubs and blossom-stars. The third
is composed of anthropomorphic and zoomorphic motifs often combined with plant forms.
Abstract, geometrical shapes, here, too, sometimes combined with plant elements, typify the fourth
group. Then there are Patola whose main fields are either monochrome or not patterned in double
ikat fabrics for blouses with motifs that only appear here, and, finally, modern forms with
completely non-traditional patterns. What is decisive for further classifications within the first four
groups is the division of the main field into transverse stripes, rectangles, lozenges, networks of
diagonals, hexagons or stars; the patterning technique used for group 5 requires subdivisions.
(Refer to the appendix to see the proper classification of the motif types done by Buhler)

24

2.4 Terminology and other local terms


Unfortunately we could discover only a few terms for form parts and individual motifs, but there
are probably a great many such ones. Some of them may have no historical significance, having
them coined on the basis of the outward similarities between a motif or form part with some object,
plant or animal in order to mediate communication between weavers. But one could probably draw
certain conclusions from them as to history or use by certain population groups. According to the
Salvis, the arrangement of heart shaped leaves in the main field was called JUMAR or JUMMAR
(Glass or metal vessels or lamps, also a decoration hung over a cradle),

the concentric circles were GOL (circle, ball) or MASJID (mosque),

the trapezoid shape was CHOK (place), the octagonal shape stars KAROLIYO, to the

diagonal caterpillar design KANGRI (saw pattern) or KAN KHAJURO (ear wig) and

The small scattered patterns were flowers. MT 23 (see the appendix) (the VOHAR GAJI)

were intended for the Muslim Vohra community. The single motifs in the VOHRA GAJI were thus
Muslim religious symbols. According to him the heart shaped pattern was a representation of
mosque architecture.

He called the caterpillar form KHAJURO (worm), and the leaf like constructions as

UNDEDI (mouse).

The combination of motif designations forms the holy realm of mosques-to which mosque

lamps, which are often depicted on columns as ornaments, belong. And the motifs of insects like the
spider and the earwig, which in Gujarat, too are considered unpleasant, is surprising and ambiguous.
The insects may have been jocular or caricaturing words-the way that an embroidered scorpion was
once laughingly called Muslim by one of the books on this subject. But a deeper Muslim
interpretation might also be possible: in the Near East the scorpion is considered as the destroyer of
evil eye.
Often the same terms are used for form parts, individual motifs, and single patterned sections. This
even holds true for motif types, whose names are largely derived from single motifs in the main
field which are considered striking or important.
As far as could be established, all the terms used for patterns arise from the Gujarati language. The
only exception seems to be KHUNJAR (Sanskrit, elephant).
The most important terms discovered for single motif types have already been mentioned in
connection with the survey of the patterns. We shall now consider them more closely. Most of the
25

terms found in the relevant literature (Buhler 213)5 or discovered in Gujarat refer to ornamental
designs. A very few contain geographical references and one point to particular population group.
The majority of these designations pertain to clearly traditional motif types. Most of the times, no
names could be found for modern forms.
As a rule, the terms relate to the patterning of the main field, that section of the fabric which we,
too, considered decisive in our examination of patolu types. But the same names are often used for
other parts, too-for the patterning of the border stripes, frame, end panels and even for individual
motifs. Thus, it is not rare to find motif type designations in the literature that are confusing because
they do not refer to the main field but to those other patterned parts. What is worse is the fact that
on occasion names for types have been confounded or ascribed to forms which they could not
possibly apply to.

2.5 Procurement of yarn


As mentioned before, one of the main things that make this Patola saree so unique is the way the
threads are pre-dyed so that when they are arranged on the loom their design becomes visible. What
we did not find out during our pre-field research, as it had not been documented by anyone, was that
not all the individual threads were of the same thickness and structure. They varied at different parts
of the Patola and so if placed incorrectly the entire Patola saree would be ruined. This again points
out just how mentally sharp the weavers have to be to ensure that everything is in the right place
and be able to isolate any discrepancy or mistake made with the thread placement.
The books that we read all seemed to contradict each other with regard to how and where the Salvi
weavers got their raw material. Buhler claimed they used tussah is used for a certain variety of
Patola while other authors6 claimed that eri and tussah were also used earlier in addition to bombax
(cultivated silk). Cultivated silk is yellow in colour, while tussah and eri are white. Our visit with
the Salvi weavers revealed that it was Buhler who had gotten it right- they were using Chinese silk
as its quality surpassed that of its Indian counterpart. The product made for Indian customers and
the Indian market is made purely of silk, the reason being that for Hindus; silk was viewed as a
symbol of purity and by extension so was the Patola. If cotton or any other material was
incorporated into it, it not be considered to be pure anymore and thus would not be able to be used
5

Articles in Gujarati by Adalja and Bhler, Alfred. The Patola of Gujarat: Double Ikat in India. Vol. 1. Basle,
Switzerland: Krebs, 1979. Print.
6

Varsha Mahendra Adalja, a Gujarati writer mentioned it in a few Gujarati articles we read at the workshop.

26

for religious occasions in the future. It is keeping this in mind that the Salvi weavers have kept with
tradition and used the same pure materials that they did 750 years ago. However, in the pieces
they create for export purposes they sometimes use cotton thread in the warp. Occasionally, for
aesthetic purposes, the Salvi weavers use gold threads to enhance the design on the saree. This gold
thread is only ever used in the borders of the saree, never the main body
When in Patan we also found that some families were open to some types change while others were
not. Tradition dictates that Chinese silk (China PATTA) be used to make the Patola. However, there
are some Salvi families that are willing to weave a Patola out of Indian silk if a special order is
placed. Others prefer to use Japanese or Korean silk as they are uniformly strong and a beautiful
shade of white.
Imported Japanese silk has to be bought on the black market in Bombay. Since the patolu weavers only
produce small amounts of fabric they have not been allocated any official quotas so far in spite of all their
efforts. Although they frequently export their products or sell them to tourists, in recent years they have thus
been dependent on smuggled goods but cannot admit that they used imported material for the fear of
penalties.
All silks are denoted as CHIR, HIR or RESHAM. They are purchased in bundles (PADIKU) in the raw form
(KACHU RESHAM) by weight.

2.6 Processing the yarn


The entire Patola saree is completely homemade. The threads are separated, treated, prepared for
dying and dyed in the backyard. The dyed threads are then attached to the loom which is located in
the workshop part of the house and woven into a saree. The women of the house take care of
everything that is done pre-weaving. Once the threads are ready, the men painstakingly attach them
to the loom and then begin to weave. Attaching the threads to the loom is a very delicate process as
one has to be very careful to ensure that none of the threads get tangled or break. It was very
evident to us just how much of a family affair the entire Patola making process is. Each member has
his/her own part- a way to contribute to their families legacy and all of them work seamlessly
together as a single unit. One of the things we observed and that really fascinated us was that the
family had a common rhythm that came to them so easily. It was especially evident when the two
Salvis were working at the loom. There seemed to be a sort of unspoken communication happened

27

between them- each knew what needed to be done and what the other one needed. They were
completely in sync with each other without any verbal communication.
The first thing that the weavers do is to convert the silk into a form that is appropriate for dyeing
and weaving. It has to be treated in order to make sure that the dye sticks to it in a uniform manner.
1.

Boiling and washing of silk.

This is the first step. Rough and stiff yellow or white silk is steamed for a long time in order to soften it
before it is spun or thrown.
During the boiling process the skeins (a length of thread loosely coiled and knotted) are put onto a stick
which is placed in a container with water which in turn is placed on a furnace.
The washing of the silk yarn follows the coiling process. Over here the yarn is folded into white sheets which
are then wrung to release all the absorbed water.
2.

Opening of Silk Hanks

The skeins (threads) are placed on a light adjustable reel called a swift. The arm of the swift is rotated to
wind the yarn on the reel. This task is performed by a female member of the family.
Yarn from several reels are then wound together to form one strong thread of yarn. This individual strong
yarn is made up of 8 individual threads. The woman rotates all the swifts together using her foot and rotates
the hand reel with her right hand while at the same time guiding the yarn with her left hand. This entire
process takes a lot of coordination and to an outsider it looks very daunting but the women who do it do so
without any trepidation.
3.

The 8 ply thread is wet, shaken and rewound while still wet into a hank ( loosely coiled or knotted

threads)
4.

Bleaching

For the bleaching process, the hanks are soaked in a solution of either boiling water and soda or boiling
water and soap. The wet hanks are then wound on a swift again. Rahulbhai Salvi explained that rewinding
was necessary because the yarn was uneven.

The female worker has to ensure that the yarn is uniformly tensioned and evenly spaced on the
reel. She lets the yarn slide trough the fingers of her left hand before it passes onto the reel. Then
the hanks are wound onto bobbins. A motor driven machine is used for winding nowadays; two
rows of six hanks each are rewound at a time. Since the swifts and reel rotate at different speeds, a
slight additional twist is imparted to the yarn during rewinding. Finally, the yarn is again rewound,
this time on cubic stand spools. A modern machine is used for this purpose, too. Here again, once
axis rotates faster than the other so that there is a further twisting of the yarn. The stand spools are
used in the subsequent assembling of warp and weft thread.

28

2.7 Processing of yarn for resisting


For the warp, assembling or warping is the most important step in the preparation for resisting and
subsequently for weaving. To our knowledge, this step has only been discussed cursorily so far.
Buhler made an attempt to reconstruct the warping process with the aid of the old photographs from
Patan and details of the other ikat processes. However, subsequent on- the- spot studies have
revealed, this earlier description is only partially correct.
The warp is spread on a rectangular frame and sectioned by grouping the threads in their correct
place.
Unlike the common practice, both warp and weft are spread out on different frames.
The warp is prepared on pegs and is folded once and grouped and sub grouped by leasing chords on
time but it is not clear what folded ones means, since warp parts are combined much more often.
The warp is assembled with the help of pegs protruding horizontally from the wall; the pegs are of
round iron rods of metal tubes and are covered with a white cloth. The number and the arrangement
of the pegs can be altered at will (additional holes are provided in the wall for this purpose) to suit
the length of warp being assembled. For a warping process as observed in Patan a total of seventeen
pegs is necessary. Series of five of these are arranged in vertical parallel rows (one further peg
remains unused), two are placed above and to the left of one of the rows and four-two of these are
clearly shorter are placed below and to the right of the other row. In front of the set of the pegs are
placed twelve wooden stand bobbins in two rows, which contains the 8-ply silk to be used as warp.
Each of these twelve threads is drawn upwards at an angle and passes through one of the fifteen
glass rings (three of which remain empty) fixed on a bamboo tube hanging from a ceiling. Each
thread is then drawn through a short guide rod or raddle on which twelve glass rings of a similar
type are fixed. The warper holds the guide rod in his right hand and thus prevents a crossing of the
warp threads. He gathers the twelve threads as a bundle and ties them to the topmost, outermost peg
on the left. From here, the threads are passed to the pegs at the bottom right, as shown in the sketch,
and back in such a way that all of the twelve threads together cross at the top left and the individual
threads cross four times at the bottom right. For this purpose, the warper guides all the twelve
threads around the three longer pegs at the bottom and takes them back, forming a figure of eight. A
helper sitting on the ground separates the threads, crosses them individually over his thumb (that is,
the threads are laid alternatively above and below the thumbs) and pushes them over the shorter
pegs. Thus, the odd and even individual threads are crossed four times at the end position. The
threads are fixed in this position by string loops. At the same time, the helper also fixes the group of
29

twelve threads by means of crossings or knots and separates eight large sections from one another.
These operations are essential for the purpose of avoiding yarn entanglements during the
subsequent stages.
Assembling the warp (TANO) is called TANVANU (to make a warp), the pegs are known as
KHINTI (hooks), the glass rings and the bamboo tube on the ceiling as PATI TAYANU, and the
raddles name is CHOK.
The separation of individual threads and groups at the beginning and end of the assembly of the
warp serves several purposes. Firstly, as mentioned, it prevents entanglements between threads. But
it also serves as leasing, which is necessary for the drawing in; i.e. the odd threads in the warp sheet
are separated from the even threads and fixed in this position.
In the course of the assembling process, the supply spools (stand spools) are inverted so that the
yarn runs off more easily. After the entire yarn or the required length has been assembled, the entire
yarn or the required length has been assembled, the warper snips off the threads at the guide rod,
winds them back on the supply spool and ties the ends to small nails fixed at the top.
The warp is removed as follows: The warp is removed from the pegs and is then wound round the
first two top pegs plus one other peg which is placed above the regular warp pegs. The end of the
warp with the four crosses goes round the peg last. The warp is then secured by tying a cord through
the end loop and the beginning threads. The winding of the warp yarn round 17 pegs arranged in
rows, permits the preparation in a confined space of a sheet approximately 19 meters long. This
length is equivalent to three saris. At present, a normal sari is 6 yards long (in former times 5-yard
saris were common), so that 3 saris total up to 18 yards (or 165 meters). The additional piece of
around 1 meter is required for beaming, which is not used further, and an end piece which is not
woven (waste).
According to the weavers, the saris woven at present are 48.5 inches (or 123 cm) wide. With an
average thread density of 22 ends per cm and 16 picks per cm a total of 2500-2800 warp threads are
thus required for a sari. However, this entire width is not assembled in one step. As a rule, the
single-coloured longitudinal portions, the two border stripes and the main body are assembled
separately and frequently at different times. Even if they are assembled successively, the sections
are wound separately.

30

The next stage of preparing the warp for resisting, i.e. of bringing together sections identical in
pattern before tying, had not been studied in detail till recently either.
The warp is spread on a rectangular frame and sectioned by grouping the threads in their correct
place. The assembling of warp sections similar in pattern is carried out in the same manner as the
operations for double ikat as practiced in Tenganan (Bali, Indonesia).
After the laid out warp is marked it is sectioned by grouping the ends which have to be dyed in the
same sequence of shades. To do so, the total ends are first grouped in respect of the repeat of the
design, and then the subdivisions of each section are grouped together.
This is probably the least understood and most confusing technique in the entire procedure of Patola
weaving.
It is also true that the Patola weavers are reluctant to demonstrate this step of the process
completely. Frequently they show only how the warp is prepared for the border stripes of the sari
and not the main field.
Since the individual steps are different for each part of the sari and also for different types of saris,
it is practically impossible to give a complete description of this step in the process.

2.8 Wrapping and Dyeing


The most notable feature of this process is the dyes used in it. These dyes are natural and
homemade (Ghosh 19)7. The fact that the weavers still employ the tedious method of using natural
dyes also throws light on their desperation to preserve the patolu tradition as it is. Organic dyes, on
the other hand also have its advantages:
The dyeing process of Salvis is so peculiar that even after 100 years; the colour of a patolu doesnt
fade. This is true because when we went to see a 100 year old patolu in one of the households in
Ahmedabad, its colour was intact and even though it had torn off from different places, the design
was still in place. Also organic colours prevent a lot of skin diseases and they are eco-friendly.

7 Ghosh, G. K., and Shukla Ghosh. " The Patola of Gujarat, Chapter 4." Ikat Textiles of India. New Delhi: A.P.H., 2000.
Print.

31

2.9 The Process


Both warp and weft are spread out on different tying frames (Ghosh 19)8. The warp is stretched to
an eight yard length, and the weft is stretched on frames to 48 inches, the exact size that it will be
on the loom. The frame of both warp and weft yarns differ as the warp yarn is a mere tensioning
device. There is a design that is marked on a graph paper (Sukla 68)9. The shifting place as
indicated in the design in graph is then marked on the yarns on the tying frame by vertical line by
strings smeared with charcoal powder. Starting from the right hand stretcher bar and working to the
left, the threads are marked vertically with the charcoal string at approximate distances of one
centimetre. Possibly just one row of width-wise repeats is stencilled with soot or charcoal powder to
indicate the length and sequence of each shade, these distances are then remembered and marked
merely with black lines. Tying is done exclusively by threads. The bundles are wrapped tightly and
knotted with a half-hitch at the left end of the warp and then the end of the cord snapped off close to
the knot.
Since the patolu designs have several colours, the warp and weft have to be dyed repeatedly and
hence also resisted repeatedly. The yarns have to be partially wrapped and dyed for the first dyeing.
The certain portions must be opened for the next dyeing and others tied to be protected from the
next dyeing. This sequence is continued till all the dyeings completed.
Different methods are known for this part of the work. A common feature of all of them is that red
is dyed first, followed by yellow, black and blue. Orange can be dyed before (unless orange is
obtained through overdyeing); instead of blue green and after that blue and black are applied.
The first set of ties is then dyed in the lightest colour, usually yellow. After rinsing and
drying the worker ties the fabric for the next darker colour, perhaps red or green. Again
there is a renewal of tying until the darkest parts are dyed and the entire design is complete
(Mrinalini 15)10

5 and 8

Ghosh, G. K., and Shukla Ghosh. " The Patola of Gujarat, Chapter 4." Ikat Textiles of India. New Delhi:
A.P.H., 2000. Print.
9

Das, Sukla. "Patola." Fabric Art: Heritage of India. New Delhi: Abhinav Publications, 1992, Pg. 62-69. Print.

10

Sarabhai, Mrinalini. Patolas and Resist-dyed Fabrics of India. Ahmedabad: Mapin Pub., 1988. Print.

32

The following sequence is traditional and probably based on the use of natural dyes:

Tying portions which are to remained or are not to be dyed orange, red, violet (or violetblack)

Red dying

Tying portions which are to remain red; opening wrappings for blue.

Yellow or orange dyeing

Tying potions which are to remain yellow and orange opening of wrappings for blue

Blue dyeing (red which has been over dyed to yellow now becomes violet-black, yellow and
blue yields green)

Removal of all wrappings

In all, wrappings have to be applied three times and removed three times. At the end of the process,
the yarn is white, yellow, orange, red, blue, green, and violet black.
Soaking of the hanks in water is part of the dyeing process and in common before each dyeing.
Before the yarn is dyed, it is left soaking in cold water for a day or two so that the fibres will absorb
the dyes evenly. It is necessary to rub the rub the yarn by hand rather vigorously to get the fibres
wet enough. One need not be concerned about the cotton wraps being untied because the cotton
wrapped around silk gets much tighter when it is wet.
For the soaking treatment as well as for dyeing, the hanks are removed from the tying devices and
hung overnight on a line or a wall hook to dry. A couple of ties are removed the next morning to
check the results of the treatments.
The hanks have to be stretched out again for further tying or removal of ties for the next dyeing
stage. The worker, sitting on the floor, slips the leasing loops over his big toes, spread his legs and
inserts two thin iron rods along the leasing cords. The rods are used to fix the hanks on the tying
devices described earlier. The steps of opening and retying can hardly be carried out without
mistakes if the bundles are slack and not properly arranged.
Bundles of warp and weft yarns, which will be used for the same patolu, are generally dyed
together. A few books that we referred to are not correct in saying: Dyeing of tied yarn is done in
small pots, each sub-group being dyed separately. This could even mean that certain portions of
the bundles are smeared with the dye (as in Orissa), which is certainly not the case in Patan. A
needle with a wooden grip (SOYO) is used to open the ties. The free end of the wrapping thread,
which has been pushed under the windings, is pulled out with the help of the needle, and the thread
33

is unwound. As a rule the thread is used again for tying. Synthetic dyes are used exclusively today.
This was mentioned as far back as 1940. According to Rahul Salvi, synthetic dyes have been used
for at last 70 years, which would mean that the use of natural dyes, have been discontinued since
1900. However, several books do not support this statement.
From one of the organic dye shop owners, Sonal Shah in Ahmedabad; the information on the
sources of natural dyes used earlier (in 1940s) could be acquired.
Red dye is obtained by soaking the bark of BO-TREE (Probably babul tree, Acacia Arabica) in
water (in our opinion, this statement is questionable). Yellow is obtained from turmeric (Curcuma
longa), blue from indigo cultivated in Gujarat. According to Irwin (notes in the archives of the
Calico Museum, Ahmedabad), the resin from the Borado tree (MimusopsElingi?) or Pipal tree
(Fieusreligiosa?) is the source of red dye. Besides these, KIRMAJ (kermes?) or MAJITH is also
used for obtaining shades of red. According to Irwin, these numerous sources probably explain the
large range of variations in shades of red. Black is obtained by overdyeing red and blue or with the
help of iron (rust).
The Salvis of the Laherchand group carry out the dyeing in a room adjacent to the workshop. The
room has a cemented floor, a number of brick-tubs and a built-in cupboard for chemicals. (The
room also contains an electrically driven reel and other equipment.)
The equipment for dyeing is extremely simple: vessels made of enamel, aluminium and tin-plated
copper

(KATHROT) for the fluid dye, small water containers (LOTA) similar to the ones used in

every Gujarati household, pots (TAPELU), a primus stove, metal spoons, a beam balance without a
pointer and weights which are not calibrated. The dyestuffs packed in paper or plastic, developing
substances; salts and soda are stored in large tins, oil in glass bottles.
According to Buhler, a solution is used for red dyeing consisting of one ounce red castor seed oil,
11.5 grams of naphthol, A.S.BS and 2.5 grams of caustic soda (Buhler 234)11, which is brought to
boil with 2 litters of water. Then 1 litre of cold water and later 4 litres of cold water is added. The
yarn, which has previously been well wrung, is added. The yarn which has previously been well
wrung is immersed in the cooled dye liquor, kneaded, against and rubber. The colour initially
becomes yellowish.

11

Bhler, Alfred. The Patola of Gujarat: Double Ikat in India. Vol. 1. Basle, Switzerland: Krebs, 1979. Print.

34

The naphthol developer, which contains among other things salt and acetic acid, is now added.
These chemicals are dissolved in water, filtered through a cloth and diluted with additional amount
of water. The yarn is removed from the dye-bath, thoroughly wrung and immersed in the
developing solution. There is a distinctly visible change in colour from yellow to red. The workers
take care to ensure that the chemicals penetrate into all the open portions and none of the wrapping
threads slip or open up. They wear large rubber gloves during this stage processing.
The yarn remains in the developer solution for several hours. It is then washed in cold water, briefly
immersed in salt water and again washed in cold water. Subsequently the yarn is well wrung and
hung up for drying.
The other dyes are also naphthol and are applied essentially in the same manner. As mentioned
earlier, the traditional basic coloured are red, yellow and blue. Overdyeing was and sometimes still
carried out to obtain additional shades of orange, green and dark violet or black. Nowadays
synthetic orange, green and black are also used.

2.9 Preparation of the loom and Weaving


Before the warp is gaited on the loom, all the wooden and bamboo parts are carefully cleaned with a
piece of cloth. Special attention is paid to the notched stick (KAHARA): the notches are cleaned
individually in order to prevent the warp threads from sticking and breaking.
The loom used for patolu manufacturer has no rigid framework fixed to the floor or any other part
of the workshop. The components of the loom are connected to one another only by means of a few
ropes and cords and, above all, by the warp sheet. As a result, each warp gaiting practically means a
reconstruction of the loom.
To begin with, two weavers fix a set of patterned weft threads on the breast beam (TOR) so that the
warp threads can be correctly positioned. Subsequently, the weft threads are removed and used for
weaving. The ends of the warp threads are pushed in groups over the thin stick, which is then tied to
the breast beam. Roughly one third of the warp is now unwound from the ball. Two weavers
squatting on the floor centre the string loops, fixing the lease loops and replacing them with the two
parts of the warp beam. The semi-circular stick is inserted first followed by the cylindrical one. In
order to simplify the job, one worker loosens the string loops while the other enlarges the opening
between the threads with his forefinger. A few of the warp bundles are now provisionally knotted at
equal intervals behind the semi-circular bamboo stick (fixed by wrapping so that the stick does not
slip backwards). The warp is then lifted up by two sticks and tied by a rope to the thick bamboo
35

pole of the warp device, which in turn is attached in the middle to the tension rope hanging from the
ceiling. As a result, a sheet of warp about 3-5 metres long is stretched at eye level across the
workshop. The rest of the warp remains wound as a ball and hangs from the wall hook above the
tension rope.
As the next step, the worker arranges the single coloured border threads, beginning from the
extreme left. Initially they are loose and are tightened by twisting and knotting behind the first two
parts of the warp beam. The weaver sits on a chair behind the loom. A helper spreads all warp
bundles uniformly over the entire width and shortens the threads wherever necessary by twisting so
that all threads are evenly tensioned.
The notched stick is then inserted in a position where the crossing has been fixed by a cross string.
The stick is turned sideways to avoid damage to the threads. The next step is the introduction of the
shed rod. Its two ends are connected by cords to the notched stick so that the wrap threads do not
slip out.
The sword is now inserted in a similar manner in the second shed fixed by a string loop, between
the threads which are by now uniformly spread. Two weavers draw the sword through the warp
sheet up to the shed rod, thus ensuring that the two layers of wrap necessary for shed formation are
completely separated from each other in the front portion.
The notched stick is now turned and the warp threads are places in the notches in group. The warp
threads are drawn tight. The entire cross strings which have been replaced by sticks are now
removed.
The next step is the sizing or starching (VALLU, starch) of the warp. Water on which rice has been
cooked (OSAMAN) is used for this purpose. The starch is applied form above and below by a man
using a sprayer, in order to strengthen the yarn. The portions of the yarn where the heddles are to be
places are given an additional smearing of viscous starch paste, the two yarn layers are again
separated by hand, one layer is lifted up and the other depressed.
Nylon threads are commonly used for the heddles, frequently the material from an old heddle rod.
The thin fixing rods on the main heddle bar are loosened, the loops successively gathered in the left
hand and passed on to a reel (PARTI) being rotated by a helper. The reel is then fixed to the wall in
such a way that it can freely rotate to prepare new heddles. The heddles are made from one
continuous elements of nylon skein cord. First, the cord is passes through the width of the wrap just
in front of the first cross. The heddles are made around a smooth wooden tool. Moving from left to

36

right, the first loop is tied, and then several other loops are made for extra heddles. After the first
tie, the heddles are not tied at the top but simply looped around the wooden tool, picking up every
top thread of the warp in front of the cross. When quite a few heddles are wrapped, they are slipped
off the left side of the tool, twisted and tucked under the top warp at the cross.
After the heddles are made through alternate warp threads, a heddle bar is slipped through the
heddles from right to left. Then the bar is raised and tied into position from strings coming down
from ceiling. The heddles are straightened from right to left making sure none are tangled or
crossed.
Another heddle bar is wrapped in wet cloth and inserted through the heddles, the wet cloth wrapped
and tied around the bar holds the strings firmly in place. After it is inserted, it is raised above the
original bar. Then two other cloth bound bars are placed on either side of the two bars. Then two
other cloth bound bars are held tightly in place and are stitched together with a large needle and
heavy cord in a wide half- hitch across the length of the bars. During the process described above,
the bottom heddle bar was under the unattached wraps. Also the shed stick was inserted in the warp
and temporarily laced to the bottom heddle bar in their place, at both ends and in the middle, in
order to hold everything in place. Now the shed stick is untied and the bottom handle bar is taken
out and reinserted to lie atop all the warps. As the last step, the pressure bar with handle (LUNGI) is
placed on the warp behind the heddles, connected with cords to the shed stick, at the handle to the
upper part of the heddle bar device and with another cord to the ceiling.

2.10 Weaving
This step is readily demonstrated to all the visitors to Patola workshops. Adalja12 makes only a
passing reference to weaving and describes it without giving any details. Buhler (Buhler 244)13
provides detailed descriptions, the following account is limited to the technical aspects; the weavers
productivity and the time required are not mentioned here.
As a rule two persons are engaged in weaving. The weaver stands on the right side and tends to
heddle device, pushes the shed stick to form sheds, passes the sword in and out, turns it to open the
shed, beats up the weft thread and inserts the shuttle from the right side. The person working on the
12

Varsha Mahendra Adalja, a Gujarati writer mentioned it in a few Gujarati articles we read at the workshop.

13

Bhler, Alfred. The Patola of Gujarat: Double Ikat in India. Vol. 1. Basle, Switzerland: Krebs, 1979. Print.

37

left side is often less strong- woman or a child who sits on the bench. He acts as a helper. The
helper keeps the shuttles filled, replaces the bobbins in the shuttle in the correct sequence and
throws the shuttle from the left side. Both the weavers regularly check the weft and the design.
We could not observe the beginning of weaving after the loom preparation. An inch of cotton weft
in is woven and then an inch or so of plain red silk is woven. The weaver continues weaving with a
red shuttle even through the white horizontal strips of warp. After the white stripe is cleared, the
weaver changes from the red shuttle to a white shuttle and weaves a white strip through the red
warp on an equal width to the above mentioned horizontal white stripe. Then the weaver changes
back to using the red shuttle and weaves another three quarters of an inch or so up to the beginning
of the pallu pattern of the warp.
The warp threads are now adjusted in the following manner. A section of the warp is cut,
approximately 6 inches at a time, where it is attached to the rod which is tied to the cloth beam.
Then the warps are pulled one by one from the left to the right so that the two stripes of white, both
wrap and weft, exactly coincide with each other. This produce adjusts the warp precisely and
compensates for any shifting that has occurred, arranging all the warps in perfect alignment.
After a considerable portion of the warp is adjusted, the warp is pulled forward and the shield stick
in the wrap is strapped to the cloth beam, The tension is released on the warp and the rest of the
warp thread are cut.

Now that the warp threads are aligned, the woven inch of cotton weft and silk warp is attached to
the cloth beam rod with a half inch stitch across the width of the weaving. The fringes are left free
and trimmed when the Patola are cut from the loom.
A starch made of rice water is brushed on the warp. Tension is put back on the loom and the
weaving of pattern pallu commences.
To special steps are needed to form the shed rod shed since the shed rod normally lies directly under
the heddles and presses one group of threads high enough for the sword to be inserted from right.
The sword is titled on the edge, the shuttle thrown across and the weft arranged by hand at the
edges. Care is taken to ensure that the white of the guide stripe in the warp coincide with the white
portion of the weft. The fingernail or a metal plate is drawn across the weft, the sword is turned, the
weft beaten up, the sword drawn outside sideways to the right and placed on its frame. By lifting
the handle the pressure bar (LUNGI) is pushed down in front of the shed rod and pressed on the
38

warp sheet sufficiently. To lift the heddles and form the heddle shed. The sword is again inserted,
titled on edge, the shuttle pushed through, the weft tightened and beaten up. The pressure on the
pressure bar handle is eased and as a result the heddles and the sheds stick revert to the original
position. Now the shed rod shed is formed and the process repeated.
When a warp thread breaks it is repaired in the following way. A length of thread of the appropriate
design is selected from some scrap yarn saved for this purpose. The weaver finds the break in the
warp thread, twists the new section of the thread and joins the two. The thread is then drawn
forward and tied around the last woven weft thread, locking it in by beating the wefts in tightly.
Later, the excess thread is cut off at the tie.
Warp threads of excessive threads are shortened by twisting during the weaving the temple line
below the freshly woven portion has to be reset nearer to the fell after every few picks.
After about 5 cm have been woven, both sides of the fabric are rubbed with the edge of the steel
plate to remove the encrusted starch. For this purpose the cloth beam is lifted up and turned back a
quarter so that the warp tension is reduced.
Each weaver, with a needle in his right hand, now inspects the design and pulls the warp threads
one by one. The weavers then scratch the fabric surface with the number of needles held in their
hands like combs so that the warp threads are slightly pushed sideways and the weft threads pushed
in. this arrangement of the design takes about half an hour and is indispensable for the clarity of
patterning.
The wrap is moistened before the part of the fabric just woven is wound onto the cloth beam and
tightened. In fact, care is taken to see that the warp threads are always slightly moist. The weft
yarns are stored in water till weaving and inserted wet.
For protection a white cotton cloth is placed between the adjacent layers of Patola wound on the
cloth beam.
When a sari length has been woven, a few centimetres of the warp are left free and weaving is
resumed with a small stripe of the yellow or red weft (formerly a thicker yarn or waste yarn was
used for this purpose). Later the saris woven one after the other are separated by cutting through the
middle of this stripe.

39

Once all the three saris forming one set of warp have been woven and the end of the warp is near
the breast beam, the three parts of the leasing arrangement are taken out first. Then, the handle of
the LUNGI is removed from the heddle rod. The shed rod and the pressure bar are removed as well.
The fabric is then cut at the end (or the thin stick of the breast beam arrangement is drawn out) and
rolled off from the cloth beam. The heddle system is also removed for re-use later. Finally, the piece
is cut into three saris and folded for sale. There is no after-treatment of the fabric.

40

Chapter 3: The Patolu Weavers -The


Salvi Caste
The long-established patolu weavers belong to the Salvi caste. It is not simple to provide a
comprehensive or even adequate profile of the socio-cultural minutiae of this group of craftsmen, as
traditional characteristics in India have been greatly effaced on the last few decades. Moreover, only
a small number of this Silk weavers caste presently practice their traditional profession. A further
obscurity in presenting the objective information is owing to the availability of the resources. The
written accounts and most of the references found in a book published by Alfred Buhler in 1979
which became rare in quantity as the years passed by. Consequently, the bulk of our information
comes from interviews, which further suggests that it is not entirely objective and is to some degree
conflicting in nature. Hence, keeping our sources at heart, majority of the answers we acquired to
our questions are recorded literally.

The Salvis 1

41

3.1 Origin and Etymology


Though there is no academic etymology of the word Salvi, the caste-name refers to a professional
designation in the town of Patan. In the literature piece published by Dave, he mentions that Salvis,
a small caste of handloom weavers, derive their name form the word Sal, meaning loom and
rosewood sword shaped stick called Vi. (nif.org.in)14 The members of the caste agree to this
etymology.
In Gujarat the term Salvi is used exclusively by the members of a diminutive caste which comprised
roughly twenty-one hundred people around the turn of the last century and formed a divergent
community on their own account. Salvis are also frequently found in the state of Maharashtra. But
there is no proof or reasoning that these Marathi speaking populace are related to the Gujarati
speaking Salvis of Patan. In fact, some Salvi families that have immigrated to Maharashtra have had
their names changed to Patvi or Patva, names that undoubtedly date back to the patolu once
produced by them.
The Salvi weavers consider Patan as their historical centre. A story in form of an old paper printed
in the Gujarati dialect but written in the Devnagari script affirms this notion of the weavers (Buhler
467)15. The story mentions a certain King Kumarpal of the Solanki dynasty. He was a great follower
of the Jain traditions. Meticulous and quite particular about his clothing, out of sheer reverence
towards the Jain religion, he ensured that he was attired in newly made Patola garments every time
he visited the temple. This became known as the Kings Patolu and he imported them from Jalnapur
(modern day Jalna) in Maharashtra. However, on one occasion, the temple priest refused to let the
King enter the temple deeming that the Kings clothes were impure. On further investigations by the
King it was found that the ruler of Jalna was using the same Patolu fabric as bedspreads prior to
exporting it. Insulted and furious, King Kumarpal attacked Jalna and defeated their ruler.
Consequently, to ensure the purity and prevent the misuse of Patola, he moved all of the seven
hundred Salvi weavers to Patan. These weavers were given a special place to live. Located outside
the main town of Patan, the region came to be known as Salvivad. Gradually, the Salvidad was
14

National Innovation Foundation. Adding life to a centuries old dyeing art - Patan. n.d. 18 November 2011
<http://www.nif.org.in/Patan>.

15

Bhler, Alfred. The Patola of Gujarat: Double Ikat in India. Vol. 2. Basle, Switzerland: Krebs, 1979. Print. (a
photograph of this paper was published in the Volume 2 of Buhlers book which has a collection of old
photographs from Patan).

42

moved into the town. The ancient name still exists for the region in the north-western Patan wherein
the narrow streets have become famous not only for the famed Patolu but also the half-silk Mashru
fabrics. Apart from Salvivad, the Salvis were also distributed around Patan in the towns of Siddhpur
and Palanpur.

A Salvi Weaver at work 1

According to the surveys we conducted in Patan, we assume that presently there are about twentyfive Salvi families registered in Patan. Many own an ancestral house in Patan although they have
discontinued their traditional profession as weavers and have now scattered around the nation in
various metropolitans. Of these, currently there are only three families which are following the
family tradition of double-ikat weaving. In our interview with the weavers it was revealed that there
are Salvis belonging to the same caste to reside on Kolhapur, southern Maharashtra, although the
some historical facts say it may be in confusion with Kholapur, in northern Maharashtra.
Unfortunately, the Salvis in the Maharashtra region seemed to have taken up farming in contrast to
weaving. It can be, thus, observed that the numbers of cities and towns in which the Salvis of
Gujarat have scattered have grown in number in significant quantity. Interestingly the Salvis who
indulged in the weaving profession have only been verified for Jalna in the Maharashtra region. It is
also important to note that a Gujarati speaking minority of craftsmen who do not belong to the Salvi

43

community has lived in Maharashtra for quite some time now. Consequent to the fall of Patan in
1298 at the hands of Allaudin Khilji, and in all probability after the conquest of Gujarat by the
Muslim rulers- the Salvi community emigrated to Benares and Patan giving up their profession of
weaving. However, there are no historical documents to support this claim and the story has just
passed on through the families by the word of mouth. Another fascinating fact that was observed in
Patan was the use of modern surnames such as Patolavala. On further inquiry, it was found that this
custom was developed around the middle of the twentieth century, although the caste designation
remains the same. Patva or Patvi seemed to be the other local names with the meaning bearing a
similarity to Patolavala which literally connotes the makers of patolu.

44

3.2 The Family Structure


The recent generations have seen the Salvi community preferring to make use of individual names
that have now been adopted by the urban merchant groups. The lineage of the Laherchand Salvi
family of Patan provides a good example to this detail. Various Jaina names of this kind indicate
that this group of people did not attempt a Rajputisation of their names or claim any rights to a
Kshatriya ranking.
Given below is the last traceable family tree of the Salvi family right down to the existing
members:

RUPCHAND
LALCHAND
MOTICHAND

RAMCHAND

KASTURCHAND

LAHERCHAND

MOHANLAL

MANILAL

CHOTTALAL

1 SON $ 2
DAUGHTERS

KESHAVLAL

2 SONS

KANTILAL

VINAYAK

NIPUL

RAHUL

ROHIT

SEVANTILAL

BHARAT

1 DAUGHTER

3 DAUGHTERS

3 SONS

DAMAYANTI

SAVAN

JAYANA

As observed in the family tree, Laherchand Salvi had five sons. Of these, presently only the families
of Kantilal and Sevantilal are purely involved in the weaving profession. The rest of the family is
distributed in the various cities choosing to discontinue the family tradition. The two families are
close-knit amongst themselves though unfortunately they practice their weaving as different
branches. The family of Kantilal resides in the centre of the town in Salvivad whereas the Sevantilal
45

family live at the Patolavala farms on the other side of the town. Members of both families are well
educated. For instance, Rahulbhai Salvi and Savanbhai Salvi, the youngest of the clan are both
qualified architect and engineer respectively. Jayana, sister of Savanbhai has a doctorate in Sanskrit
though she contributes to the weaving process heavily.
Presently, there are only ten male weavers in all belonging to the Salvi family in Patan who are
wholly involved with the production of the patolu. These weavers belong to the two different
families- Rohitbhai, Bharatbhai, Rahulbhai and Savanbhai descending from Kantilal Salvi and
residing in Salvivad; and the three sons of Sevantilal Salvi and their respective families. The women
of the family also contribute to the weaving process.
During our research we visited both the families at different occasions though it is more apt to say
that the closeness towards the Kantilal clan was the highlight of our journey.
An inclusive compilation of the earlier history of the Salvi community is a task difficult in nature.
The following information contains only additional information as provided by the weavers by the
word of mouth and which reveal certain aspects of the weavers way of life and their unwritten
history. According to the inquiries made in Patan, it is suitable to quote one of the weavers: Our
ancestors came from Deccan. But only men were summoned. All of their wives were local girls
from the vicinity of Patan. The wives of the newly arrived Salvis came from the five villages:
Sander, Balisana, Visanagar, Manund and Siddhpur. Ever since then the Leva Patel have been
giving us their daughters when we moved from Jalna seven hundred years ago.
The Salvis from Jalna in the Deccan had moved to Patan in Gujarat and they had taken wives from
the villages mentioned above. The mention of these villages, all of which exist today, is apparently
a product of a family tradition known to Various Salvis, but whose source is still unknown.
The discussion of their origin does not seem to have led to a consent in the Salvi community. There
are no written texts, but only the knowledge of certain details passed on through oral tradition.
Thus, one cannot help but repeat that the Salvis in Patan and the other Salvis not living in Jalna
accord their ancestors to have come from Jalna and the ones residing in Jalna believe that their own
ancestors arrived there from Patan about six generations ago. Nevertheless, certain literature pieces
and the history of the art itself indicate that the Salvis of Patan have been settled there from a very
long time. If the following facts are indeed believed to be proper, it is perfectly possible that the
Salvis originated from the Deccan and perhaps from the Jalna region; moved to Gujarat and later,
maybe in the past centuries, certain smaller groups settled once again in the home of their ancestors.

46

3.3 Forms of Marriage


The weavers mention the original division of the Salvi caste into fifty-six Gotra-clans. Though
some texts mention only twenty-seven clans, there is a possibility that there were once eighty-four
in number. As mentioned earlier the wives of the various weavers in Patan came from the local
villages around Patan itself. In an interview with an elder weaver it was revealed the only difficulty
in the marriages is the direct consanguinity, particularly in the maternal lineage. The members with
the same surname could not marry one another meaning that all the Gotras are considered
exogamous. Nothing is known of a Gotra hierarchy within the Salvi caste. But as we mentioned
above the Salvis of Patan married daughters of the local Leva Patel without giving them their own
daughter as wives. Such prejudiced marriage possibilities indicate the higher socio-ritual status of
the takers of daughters were common in Patan both among Rajput and Brahmin groups. Similar
marriage customs also existed between the Salvis and the Sandesara (a traditional peasant caste).
The Sandesara were a caste lower than Salvi. The latter could marry the daughters of the Sandesara,
but the Salvis would not give them any. In the later years, however, a mutual exchange prevailed.
The fact that women outside the Salvi community married into it implies that the Salvis must have
been a small group when they began to settle in Gujarat and wished an increase in their community
to be able to hold their own as an endogamous group. Another factor that might have influenced the
shaping of this practice is the hesitation of the craftsmen towards letting their daughters enters a
different caste. The chief reason was the more or less complete knowledge of the women of the
family about the working processes. The Salvis feared that the knowledge would be passed on to a
new family outside the community. For the same reason, the weavers did not show their daughters
all the technical skills. Commenting on this tradition, one of the weavers said. Our ancestors feared
that once married she (the daughter) will belong to someone else and she might teach our trade to
them and in this way our business will suffer eventually.
The members of the Salvi caste categorically reject the practice of widows remarrying. Widowers,
on the other hand, may marry for a second time. The best example to this practice were the five
sons of Laherchand Salvi (refer to the family tree) all of whom were married for the second time.
No mentions of the divorcees were found during our research.

47

Presently, none of the youngest Salvi men are married even though they are highly educated. There
was an article in the Indian Express that talks about the problems they are facing in finding a
suitable bride.16

3.4 Religious Characteristics


The most important points in context to religion are:
1.

It is highly likely that the Salvis in Patan were originally Digambara Jaina and in the twelfth

century Patan, which was the centre of Shvetambara Jaina, the group was converted to that sect.
2.

Members of the Salvi caste inter-married with the old Gujarati Leva Patel farmer caste.

The above mentioned facts support the Salvis claim that as distinguished weavers they were sent
for by King Kumarpal and went on to settle in Patan with certain rights.
Virtually all of the Jaina in Gujarat, members both of the merchant as well as the administrative
castes, belongs to the Shvetambara sect. The monks of which are clothed in white fabric and whose
religious

deities,

especially

the

Tirthankars also wear the monks


robes. But the orthodox Digambara Jaina
sect requires its monks to go without any
clothing so that they are air-clad.
Shvetambara Jains, far more numerous
in number, can be found in Gujarat and
southern Rajasthan.
(The idol of Neminath, found in the
Salvivad, Patan)

The patolu weavers in Patan pointed out the fact that their ancestors must have been Digambara
Jains when we photographed their most important religious deity, the sculpture of a black
Neminath, the twenty second Tirthankara of the Jains. The idol is made of black marble quarried
and used particularly in western India. The statue probably dates back to the eleventh century and
may have been produced locally. The Salvis claim for this religious deity being a Digambara idol
16

Vasudev, Shefalee. "Who Will Marry a Weaver." Indian Express [New Delhi] 19 Sept. 2010, News sec. Web. 19 Dec.
2011. <http://www.indianexpress.com/news/who-will-marry-a-weaver/683865/>.

48

originally is permissible as there is a broad strip of silver that was mounted around the loins later to
cover the original nakedness of the sculpture. It is thus very probable that through the application of
pieces of silver the original Digambara Jains idol was made into an image suitable for the cult of the
Shvetambara Jains. Another bit of evidence for this religio-historically interesting conversion within
the Jains is the work Vidhipakshagaciya published in Patan in 1905 with no mention of the
author. The Salvis had a copy of this work. The following is a summary of the text:
At the time they settled in Patan the members of the Salvi caste worshipped Shri Neminath, Shri
Adishvara Bhagvan, and Gautam Swami. Their guru or master, whom they had also taken with
them to Patan, was a monk named Chatrasena Bhattarka. The guru had a Ghata Sarasvati and
could thus, according to the judgment of the sagacious Shvetambara teacher Hemachandra, only
be overcome by an Acharya. In a spiritual battle fought with oratorical and magical means the
monk of the Shvetambara sect won breaking the Digambara enemys ritual vessels. Through this
the Salvis were convinced of the strength and the superiority of the Shvetambara sect and were
settled in seven different places in his empire by King Kumarpala
We observed certain idols in the Jain household of the Salvis in Patan. Bahucharajimata, the mother
Goddess, worshipped as the Kuldevi or the family deity; Ambika Mata and three small Ganesha
idols in bronze. It is conspicuous to note that most Salvis worship mother Goddess also. The Salvis
of Patan celebrate the normal Shvetambara-Jain New year festival, though it was interesting to
discover that Lord Ganesha is also worshipped on the second day of the Paryushan festival in the
workshop. The ideology behind such a tradition, as mentioned by one of the elder weavers is, this
is done so that the rats do not enter the workshop which might harm the cloth and the Saris on the
loom. Finally, the Salvis mentioned that one monk from their own caste in particular was also
worshipped. He was called Premvijay Maharaj and he had died subsequent to a sixty-six strictly
fulfilled vows. Whether this monk was a patolu weaver prior to becoming a monk is unknown.

3.5 Appearance, Attire, Home and their way of life


If any simplification about their physique can be made at all, the Salvis of Patan seemed to be
slender and haggard, having relatively light coloured skin and straight black hair. Though they are
quiet and reserved in nature, like the hundreds of visitors that arrive at their doorstep, we too got
acquainted with their warm, friendly and a hearty behaviour. The belief that they are excellent
businessmen is well-justified. One of the professors from Ahmadabad, when asked about the Salvis,
laughingly commented. Sai, soni ne Salvi, jam nashakeyjalvi. meaning that the God of death too
has a hard time with tailors, goldsmiths and the Salvis.
49

As far as their clothing is concerned, the Salvis do not dress very different from other urban
craftsmen. In fact the newer generations all were seen dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, whereas the
elder ones were dressed in simple shirts and a trouser. When asked about the reason of absence of a
headgear unlike their older generations, the younger weavers mentioned that it was a matter of
choice and the times have changed now. The Salvi women still wear traditional womens clothing.
Considering their way of life, the Salvis are not different from the other craftsmen in a similar social
position. They live a simple life with no outward luxury. According to them, the religious festivals
and the times of marriages are the times for the display of wealth. The Salvi household is simple but
immaculately tidy. They keep up with the modern times and own vehicles, as well as modern
gadgets such as laptops and handy-cameras.
In Patan, notably the relatively narrow streets of the Salvivad are very linear. One of the weavers
from the younger generation, Rahulbhai Salvi, is a well-practiced Architect and he explained that
the linear streets were so planned for the warping of silk threads that was carried out. The houses in
Salvivad are two-storeyed. The walls of the house are made in brick and white-washed. In the
recent years, the Salvis have modernized their house so that the international tourists that visit them
often have a comfortable stay.

50

Chapter 4: The Use and Distribution of


the Patolu
Though the traditional use of the patolu in India is restricted mainly to Gujarat, it is now widespread throughout Central and South India too. The Patola hold traditional significance to most of
the communities that use them. In this chapter we shall broadly discuss the use of Patola in these
communities. Various surveys pertaining to the modern use of Patola were also carried out
throughout Patan and Ahmadabad. These surveys further helped us to answer the chief research
question of our project: Is Patola weaving a dying art?
According to the weavers, the major users of the Patola are the Jains and the Hindus of Gujarat and
central India, and the Vohra Muslims (a special motif was designed for this particular
community) (Buhler 213)17
This chapter will also discuss the age and history of the Patolu Export trade. In our survey of the
motif patterns it has already been mentioned that certain Patolu motifs were exclusive to Indonesia.
In this chapter we will take a closer look at these export goods.
The export of Indian textiles was already thriving in pre-colonial times with Gujarat and its main
port Cambay playing a major role. In the first reports Europeans made on this trade, Patola, also
was mentioned; though only termed as one of the Cambay cloths (Crill 46)18.
Alfred Buhler was the first to point out the consequence of the Indian Patola on Indonesian ikat
design. Several studies have followed on the reception of these textiles in Southeast Asian societies,
especially in Indonesia. There now is an equitably good knowledge of their historical and social
significance and their influence on indigenous designs.

17

Bhler, Alfred. The Patola of Gujarat: Double Ikat in India. Vol. 1. Basle, Switzerland: Krebs, 1979. Print.

18

Crill, Rosemary. Indian Ikat Textiles. London: V & A Publications, 1998. Print.

51

4.1 The Jains and the Hindus of Gujarat


The earliest information on the use of Patola was provided by Wardle in 1884. In a text retrieved at
the Salvis house in Patan, he writes, It (patolu) is a brides garment, given to her as a present,
generally by her maternal uncle during the marriage. (Crill 31)19 Furthermore, the weavers
mention that women are endlessly fond of Patola and give it a first preference in terms of fancy
clothing. They are worn by the brides on their wedding days as it makes them look attractive.
Majority of the texts and Gujarati literature also mention Patola as a wedding garment. It is used
by the wealthy Gujarati families and the bride may wear it for her wedding ceremony or during her
wedding reception. Contrary to this claim, many people in Gujarat say that they have never seen, in
person, any Hindu or Jaina bride wearing a genuine patolu at any wedding ceremonies or
receptions. The Panetar, a white sari with a border of gold thread woven on it, is the standard
wedding saris of the brides in Gujarat. Though, generally speaking, the patolu cannot be termed as
wedding saris, it does seem so that a certain populace belonging to some castes used them for these
purposes and they were and are used as ceremonial coverings on other occasions. An interview in
with a housewife in Ahmadabad revealed that among the Nagar Brahmins the patolu was worn by
the bride for three days of her wedding and later on was used to cover her only after her death. This
piece of knowledge is peculiarly interesting since the weavers in Patan claim that they produced
certain special silk fabrics of a particular width solely for the covering of corpses. It may be, hence,
correct to infer that the use of patolu, as far as traditions and rituals are concerned, are more family
specific than caste or group. Although many families in Gujarat showed us the patolu that they own,
most of them claimed that they had no knowledge of it being used as a wedding garment and it was
purely a prestigious textile handed down as a family heirloom. This further adds to our list of
known utilities of the patolu garment. Fascinatingly, the fact does hold true that the mothers of the
bride and the grooms of certain wealthy groups wore Patola at weddings. When asked about it, they
claimed that it was proper and it showcased the familys wealth and prosperity. Surprisingly, what
had remained unknown until recently was the use of Patola by the bridegrooms, in the form of
Pitambar (a shoulder cloth) during the marriage ceremony. On other occasions in Patan the patolu
was placed on the saddle of the mare ridden by the groom during his wedding procession. Patola are
also used in certain communities by the pregnant women as auspicious, protective cloths during a
ceremony in the seventh month of their pregnancy, known as Simanta or Agrami. These are gifts
given by the girls mother. In other communities it was handed down to the pregnant woman by her
mother-in-law.
19

Crill, Rosemary. Indian Ikat Textiles. London: V & A Publications, 1998. Print.

52

The bulk of interpretations made so far about the use of patolu are unambiguous signs of the fabrics
being allotted special significance for ceremonial purposes. This is certainly linked with how
precious they are.
According to the weavers in Patan, the patolu is a fabric with certain Dharmik and
Mangalikqualities. It means that the cloth is ritually pure as well as auspicious in nature and thus it
can be worn at the temple rituals and ceremonies by both orthodox Hindus and Jains. All in all, the
patolu is Pavitra, meaning pure in nature, which, according to the original tradition, King
Kumarpala wore as the Pitambar during temple rituals.
The absurd qualities of a patolu- their purity, holiness, magical, propitious powers are partially
linked with the fact that they are purely made of silk and further they are woven by Jains and not
untouchables, that is to say, they have not been made ritually tainted during their production.
Moreover, the customary red and green colour used in the motifs for the Hindus and Jains in
Gujarat are ascribed to be protective in nature. Owing to such positive qualities, Patola may be used
for all pious ceremonies by traditional Gujarati groups.
Traditional Patola, besides their primary usages as mentioned earlier, in recent times have been
employed for secondary use also. Recently, apart from garments, the weavers have begun to expand
the potential markets through the produce of tablecloths, handkerchiefs, blankets as well as curtains.
These are definitely examples of modern developments with absolutely no religious or traditional
significance

4.2 Vohra Muslims


Vohra Gaji, a type of patolu, is a special motif exclusively for the Vohra Muslims found in Gujarat
and Central India. Unfortunately, no literary mention of the Patola usage among the Vohra Muslims
has been made which further confirms the fact that its role has not been dealt within the literature.
The term Vohra Gaji came to be known only few decades back. The motif was often mistaken to
be the Rattan Chok motif. Literature proofs claim that the Waragaji (as it was earlier called)
received its name from the Vohra caste that has a penchant for the pattern.
The Vohras (sometimes pronounced as Bohras) are a part of the Ismailia Shia Muslims and derive
their name from the Gujarati term Vohorvu which technically means to trade, but at the same
time might also have a different source as claimed by some anthropologists. Vohras are traditionally
the descendants of the Hindu caste who converted to Islam through the missionary activities of
Abdullah who had arrived in Patan from Yemen during the rule of Siddharaja Jaisingh (King
53

Kumarpalas predecessor). Abdullahs influence was the greatest in Patan, the then capital of the
Solanki dynasty. The Vohras themselves believe that their ancestors were members of the highcaste Hindu groups like Brahmins and Kshatriyas and converted to Islam about seven hundred years
ago just about the time when the Salvis arrived in Patan.
The Vohra women, like the Jains and Hindus, used the patolu for wedding occasions (Das 66)20
and other festive occasions. Apart from wedding ceremonies the patolu is used for other religious
events also since the Vohra community of Surat also treated it as a harbinger of good luck and it
was highly prized by women during pregnancy (Das 66)20. This is true of the Agani celebrated
in the seventh month of the pregnancy. A photograph in one of the albums at the Salvis home in
Patan shows a Vohra boy circumcised eight days before meeting his grandmother, who is wearing a
patolu. To sum up the most important points, the Ismailia Vohras of Gujarat and other central India
use the patolu exclusively as ceremonial saris; noteworthy since the Vohra women do not generally
wear Saris.

4.3 Hindus in Central and South India


We have already discussed the use of Patola outside of Gujarat in connection with the Vohras. In
the cases mentioned, the cloths used were presumably all of the Vohra Gaji type. The Salvis,
however mention, cloths which are over 450 centimetres in length in their various collections. This
length suggests a different form of wearing the cloth from the customary one in Gujarat. The best
example to this is a beautiful patolu kept in the museum of Delhi originally belonging to a
Maharani of Gujarat. According to reports, Gujjar people bought the bulk of Patolu in Central
India. They were the Patidars, landowners of the villages around Burhanpur. The specific
characteristic of this patolu was that it had to be nine yards long. Unfortunately, in the recent years,
the Brocade from Benares has slowly taken the place of patolu in these regions.
The Salvis claim that a patolu has never been produced in the South India. There are, however,
written accounts of the use of Patola in southern India and above all in Kerala. This century old
written paper mentions Patola as one of the fabrics preserved at the Palace of Trivandrum. The
specific Patola was six to seven yards long and a yard and a half broad, and appeared more than a
hundred years old. It was supposedly called Veera-Kali, in connections with the Goddess Kali.
This interpretation, though, appears to be rather far-fetched. For all practical purposes, the patolu
20

Das, Sukla. "Patola." Fabric Art: Heritage of India. New Delhi: Abhinav Publications, 1992. Print.

54

was used by the King and probably also as the elephant-jhools in Travancore. Such a use of the
patolu is represented in certain paintings and frescoes in the temples of Padmanabhapuram and
Tiruchirapali which show a patolu elephant-blanket. Patola no longer seem to be used in Southern
India at all. There is no information on the matter and there is no further verification if the use of
Patola in this region had anything to do with silk weavers who had moved there from Gujarat. The
Salvis, further, suggest that these silken goods may have been exported from Gujarat.

To summarize the use and distribution of Patolu, Gujarat is unquestionably the region where
it is most frequently used. The centres of use are the towns of Ahmedabad and Surat. But
Patola has also been used in the surroundings of Surat, in Saurashtra and North Gujarat.
A special form marked by its particular length of 450 centimetres has been found in Central
regions of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh; intended for local use. The only Patola so far
discovered in southern India were found in the Palace of Trivandrum in Kerala, used for
ceremonial purposes. Patola has also been depicted on many temples and palace frescoes in
Kerala.
Patola has been used by various population groups in India. Both higher caste Hindus such as
Anavil Brahmin and Nagar Brahmins and the wealthy Jaina groups like Oswal Jains once
used them regularly. Patola also play a role among the Vohra Muslims composed of partially
of higher caste Hindu converts.
In all of these cases, Patola are considered to be auspicious. The cloth indeed is believed to
have aesthetic, sacred, mystical, magical as well as medicinal powers.

4.4 Distribution and use of Patola outside India


All the facts that are discussed under this topic are compiled on the basis of reference found in
different pieces of literature at the Salvis home in Patan and various libraries. Our research led us to
the fact that there is virtually no complete account of the Patolas use outside of India. Until now,
there still exists no systematic data to support the claims and findings. Moreover, the Salvis too
mention that all the recent specimens from the South-east have come together more or less at
random. Relatively detailed reports exist only for Java, and only the Solor Archipelago had
systematic collection been done.
55

In spite of all these reservations, certain important inferences can still be drawn. It is primarily
noticeable that the regions of distribution mentioned in the early reports can still be documented for
modern times, as will be discussed more in detail below.
Again, due to the lack of substantial evidence, we have illustrated only a few known places outside
India, wherein Patola has been in extensive use.
Malay Peninsula: The city of Malacca, which is insignificant today, was once a particularly
important emporium for goods bound for Indonesia. (Maznah 79)21 One of the textiles that were
extensively imported was the Patola cloth, known as the Tjindes in that particular region.
(Warming & Gaworski 103)22 The use of Patola on the peninsula is documented for more recent
times by a Dutch researcher. The Patola was claimed to be used as waist-cloth by the princes and
warriors. It was also speculated to have magical powers (as believed by the people of India too)
Flores, Solor Archipelago: it is common knowledge that Portuguese had visited this area as early as
the first half of the sixteenth century and established bases and missions on Flores and in the Solor
Archipelago. It is thus not surprising that the Patola acquired great importance there. The region
was known for the extensive use of the genuine Patola imported from India (via the Portuguese).
Unfortunately, the terminology for the particular motifs used in these regions is not known yet.
Indonesia: this region, perhaps, has been the one with the maximum import of the Patola cloth. In
fact as years have passed, Indonesia has itself become one of the producing centres for the Patola.
The people here, too, believe the cloth to have magical powers and consider it to be auspicious in
nature. Several photographs found at the Salvis house in Patan depict an Indonesian wedding taking
place under a tent made out of the Patolu cloth and bearing the Elephant and the Tiger motif.

21

Maznah, Mohamad. The Malay Handloom Weavers: A Study of the Rise and Decline of Traditional

Manufacture- Chapter 4- The Fourth Phase: Beginings of the rise of the Malayan Textile Industry,
Singapore: Regional Social and Cultural Studies, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 1996. Print.
22

Warming, Wanda, and Michael Gaworski. The World of Indonesian Textiles. Tokyo: Kodansha International, 1981.
103. Print.

56

4.5 Archaeological Evidence


There is no common knowledge of any old fabrics that have survived in India. Nor is there any
single ikat among the textiles found in Central Asia, some of which are Indian in origin. Medieval
cotton warp ikat had been discovered in Egypt but was proven to have been manufactured in
Yemen.
There is only a single case; a silk fragment from Persia which might make one think of the Indian
double ikat of the Patolu type. Unfortunately, the data on this fabric, which might date back to the
twelfth century, is too vague for a definite identification.
The frescoes in Central Indian cave temples do not provide any indications of double ikat either. It
is true, however, that the representations of robes in one of the caves of Ajanta show various form
of resist-patterning, among the ikat; but they are certainly simple forms of the technique and not
double ikat (Crill 17)23.
Patola have been obviously established on wall paintings in Mattancheri and Padmanabhapuram as
well as the temples in Pundarikapuram and Peramangalam. All of these are located in present day
Kerala. These frescoes are considerably younger than the Ajanta paintings. At best they date back to
the sixteenth century. On occasion, frescoes also depict people dressed in Patola.
All of these representations demonstrate that Patola were at least known in the 16th century.
It is surely no coincidence that they appear on paintings in the palace which the Portuguese
built for the King of Cochin in 1555. The Portuguese, and late the Dutch trading stations for
trading with Indonesia, where Patola played an important role, were located on the southwestern coast of India. It can be inferred that the Patola were woven in Gujarat and then
shipped to the emporiums in Kerala and Indonesia.

23

Crill, Rosemary. Indian Ikat Textiles. London: V & A Publications, 1998. Print.

57

4.6 Age and history of the Patola export trade


It is noticeable that, as far as we know, early reports do not include any references to the patolu
export to Central Asia, although trade with these regions was unquestionably very important. A
clear indication of this importance is the large number of predominantly Gujarati fabrics found in
Egypt, dating back to the middle Ages. The silk brocades and other fabrics from Ahmadabad were
fashionable from Cairo to Peking (modern day Beijing between 1470 and 1570. References of this
sort are sufficiently clear indications of the importance of textile export to the west as well. It seems
highly doubtful that precisely the precious Patola, which the Muslim populace of Gujarat, too
appreciated very much, should have been missing from the range of export goods. But as far as our
research, we know of no specific mention of these goods anywhere. It can be, thus, deduced that
claims of Gujarat textiles as the likes of Patola and Mashru to be exported as far as Middle East
may be true, yet they remain unproven.
Information about the export of Indian fabrics to Southeast Asia is more complete as it has been
mentioned earlier in this report. From 1510 onwards, the Europeans (initially the Portuguese and
later the Dutch) began to become increasingly involved, developing the pre-colonial export trade
and occasionally trying to monopolize it too. Though they were not responsible for the original
import of Patola to the Southeast Asia, under their leadership the Patola trade reached its zenith
point in the seventeenth century.
The export of Patola still seems to have lain in the hands of the textile merchants of the more recent
times also. There is an interesting story behind this which was narrated to us by one of the elder
weavers in Patan
Patola with the Vohra Gaji pattern were intended for the local market in and around Surat and
were sold to his customers direct or through the textile-goods shop belonging to Alibhai
Kinkhabwalla. Patola with the Chhabadi bath design were exported to Java and sold by
Vadhumal Jaggumal, a multani trader hailing from Sindh, currently residing in Java. My father
often related the story of how he had got to know this Vadhumal Vadhumal came from Java and
did not know a single word of the local language in India. He faced a lot of hardships in India
and when he finally met my grandfather he was literally in rags. But he still had his shred of
Patolu, which he showed to my grandfather and simply said he wanted it. And consequently he
started the export business to Java.

58

The sincerity of this story cannot be determined. In any case, we deduced that it would involve only
a part of the Patola export that was done during the last century. This can be concluded from the
remnants of the various letters between the Patolu weavers and their customers, preserved at the
Salvis home in Patan. It follows from these letters that in the 1930s the workshop sold textiles to
Haidarabad in Sindh (currently in Pakistan) in particular, and further the fabrics were imported from
there. On further reading of these letters (most of which were translated by the very helpful
Rohitbhai Salvi) we found the following addresses: Lokkumal Jagguwala, Fashionable Silk
House, Direct import, wholesale etc, Manumas Vasho, Haidarabad Sindh; Hotchand
Tarachand, Fancy Gold and Silver Embroiderers Merchants, Shai bazar, Haidarabad, Sindh and
Jaggumal and Sons, Bulbulani Lane, Haidarabad, with sales branches in Java.
As Patola are not known to have been used in Sindh and the last address above mentions a sales
branch in Java, it seems reasonable to conclude that these firms sold Patola in Indonesia also.
Unfortunately, as Rahulbhai Salvi mentions, consequent to the second World War and above all
because one could no longer afford the high price demand of the cloth, all export contacts and trade
were gradually broken away.

4.7 Structure and Patterning of Export trade


The export Patolu can often be recognised by specific technical features. Apart from the fact that
their dimensions are more often than not completely different from those used in India, they are
seldom carelessly woven.
Of the approximately 40 traditional types of Patola known to us from collections and the relevant
literature found in Patan, 10 are also mentioned among those acquired in Indonesia.
(The motif patterns are mentioned in the appendix)

4.8 Patola Imitations


Rajkoti Patola
One of the most established imitations of the Patan Patola is the Rajkoti Patola.
The story of how this particular imitation originated has two very versions.
The first version is the one told by the Salvi family. According to them, this particular imitation
came into being around 60 years ago as a result of a government initiative to help boost the Patan
59

Patola art. The government felt that the intricate art of weaving the sacred patolu was being lost
and so in an effort to preserve this dying art, they got together with the Salvi family and setup a
school to teach the Patola weaving technique to those willing to learn.
The initiative was successful at the beginning; a number of people came to the school eager to learn
this age old craft. The Salvi weavers dedicated a lot of their time to the school, patiently passing on
the skills of their craft- skills that until now had been passed down exclusively from father to son.
However, their efforts were all in vain as those who attended the workshop abandoned their
teachers in search of greener pastures. No doubt they realized that the process of weaving the
authentic Patola was a time consuming and painstaking one. It was one that would not yield those
results or wealth in the short run. Instead they had identified a gap in the market. There was whole
group of people who had not been targeted with respect to the Patola as they did not have sufficient
funds to buy the expensive cloth, but this did not mean that they did not wish they could own one.
The Rajkoti weavers acknowledged this need and began to weave a simpler version of the original
Patan Patola using the single ikat technique. Using this alternate and less complex technique they
were able to make imitations of the original Patola at a faster pace than the Salvi weavers and also
they were able to sell them at a cheaper rate. They wove the Patola for the middle class man.
Everyone who knew about the exclusivity and auspicious element of the Patola strived to own one
and if one cannot have the original, then a copy becomes the next best alternative- they would rather
have something than have nothing.
It was for these reasons that the students of the government led workshop decided to branch out on
their own and setup their own workshops where they made cheaper versions of the Patan Patola
renaming it the Rajkoti Patola.
The Rajkoti weavers, however, tell a different story. According to them, the art was first copied by
a group of people in Hyderabad. According to one of the Rajkoti weavers we talked to, the
Hyderabadi people who began copying the art were not able to successfully master the technique
and so all the cloth they produced were of very poor quality. The Rajkoti people saw what was
happening and since they knew the technique, they began to make it in Rajkot. As it happened, the
quality of their work was better than that of the Hyderabadi people and eventually production
slowed in Hyderabad and they began to buy the imitation Patola from the Rajkoti weavers. There
still are a few Hyderabadi weavers who make the imitation Patola, but, they sell it at a higher cost
than the Rajkot weavers and so in the words of the Rajkoti weavers people prefer buying the
Patolas that are made in Rajkot (rather) than the ones made in Hyderabad.

60

The Rajkoti imitations are readily available all around Gujarat. There were pieces available in every
textile shop that we visited on the trip and we found that the designs bore a striking resemblance to
that of the original Patan Patola.
The makers of this Rajkoti Patola defend their work saying that they are actually helping the Salvi
weavers as their manufacturing of this imitation Patola actually promotes the Patan Patola sari.
They also argue that their work is not like that of the Salvi family as their Patola saris are woven in
the single ikat form while the Salvis Patola is woven using the double ikat technique.
The Salvi family however does not feel the same way. They believe that the Rajkoti Patola has
cheapened the name of the Patola sari and also has diluted the notions of traditional symbolism and
sanctity that was attached to this particular sari.

Comparison between the Rajkoti Patola and Patan Patola


Today the hand-woven Rajkoti Patolas are manufactured in Rajkot itself. Each sari takes around to
10-12 days to be completed, which is a significantly shorter production time compared to the
original Patan Patola which takes between 3 to 5 years to complete depending on the complexity of
the design.
The Rajkoti Patola saris use both the traditional Patan patolu designs which they refer to as the
Patola designs as well as new original designs of their own which they call fancy designs.
Likewise the saris with the Rajkoti original designs are called fancy saris.
For the original Patola, the Rajkoti weavers use a limited set of colours- red, mustard and dark
green. The fancy Patolas, on the other hand, make use of what the weavers call fancy colours.
They make use of a number of varied colours combinations and the colours come in both dark as
well as light shades. It is not like the Patan Patola where both the designs as well as the colours
used to create them are limited to a select few.
The Rajkoti weavers like the Salvi Patola weavers assert that their craft is one that is passed down
from generation to generation. One Rajkoti weaver described it as a talent that one is born with.
He claims that the craft cannot really be taught because the skill is just passed down from one
generation to the next. This teaching arrangement is the same for the Salvi family-as the father
makes the cloth the son learns and then when he grows up the son will teach his son and so on and
so forth.

61

When asked about his ancestry and the origin of his craft, the Rajkoti weaver we interviewed did
not tell us the same story that the Salvi family did; instead, he merely repeated that the craft was
passed down from one generation to the next and that all his ancestors were all from Gujarat itself.
The price of the Rajkoti sari is merely a fraction of that of the Patan Patola with the average being
set at around Rs.3000 to Rs.5000. The starting price of a Patola sari is Rs.1 lakh while an expensive
Rajkoti sari is priced at Rs.11, 000.
The Rajkoti weavers in an attempt to keep their craft alive and relevant to the current generation
have diversified from saris and now make salvar kurtas, kurtis, Punjabi suits etc. using the Patola
cloth. This move on the part of the Rajkoti weavers is an attempt to target todays younger
generation.
After learning so much about this specific type of imitative Patola work, we were curious as to what
the Rajkoti weavers thought about the rise in the number of people who wanted an imitative Patola
instead of the original. Their answers only confirmed what we had concluded, that the wait for the
original Patan Patola was very long as it takes the Salvi weavers around 1 year to complete one sari.
What extends the wait further is the fact that they still have a lot of orders pending and so is
someone were to place an order for a Patan Patola, they would be looking at a waiting period of
about 4 to 5 years. In addition to this the price of the Patan Patola is extremely steep and therefore
is not affordable for the common man. The starting price for an original sari is Rs. 1 lakh, and this is
generally for the simpler designs. As the complexity of the design on the sari increases so does the
price. The Rajkoti Patola on the other hand is easily available and much more affordable being
priced at around Rs. 2000 to Rs. 3000.
When talking to the Rajkoti weavers, one of the main points that they continued to emphasize was
the difference in the waiting period for a Patan Patola sari and a Rajkoti Patola sari. They were
very emphatic about the fact that for their type of Patola one does not have to wait for 4 years, one
can just walk into the shop and purchase it. There is no thinking ahead or planning that needs to be
done like with the Patan Patola. What we wondered when hearing this is why if they know about
the number of orders pending for the Patan Patola, would they not learn how to make the original
Patolas. If there were more weavers (at present there are only two families left) the number of saris
that could be produced per annum would increase. However, the Rajkoti weavers had another point
of view. To them they are producing the Patola sari for the common man-their consumer market
consists of people who are unable to spend lakhs on a single item of clothing. If they gave up their
craft to adopt that of the Salvis, then a lot of people would be left in a lurch. Additionally, other
62

than perhaps morally, the Rajkoti weavers have no reason to abandon their craft for that of the
Salvis. They have a thriving market for their product, demand is high with no signs of dropping and
with their diversification into other types of clothing such as kurtis and Punjabi suits their customer
base is only going to grow.

63

Chapter 5: Architecture in Patan


Patan plays host to a number of historical architecture, some of which are Rani Ki Vav or Queens
Step well, TrikamBarot Ni Vav, Sahastralinga Talav or tank of a thousand Shiva shrines,
AnandSarovar (Khan Sarovar) and theSheikh Farid no Rojo.
Rani Ki Vav (The Queens Stepwell)

Rani Ki Vav 1

The most important architectural monument with respect to the Patola tradition is the Queens Step
well. The Gujarati climate is traditionally very dry with scarce rainfall and seasonal rivers. It is for
this reason that the over time the village water source be it a well, a reservoir or a pond developed
into an elaborate architectural element that is now known as a step well.
Visiting the stepwell was an incredible experience for all of us. When you enter the grounds all you
can see is flat ground everywhere carpeted in green grass. From afar you can see a hole in the
ground that has a railing around it but it doesnt really mean anything until you get closer and you
realize that what you thought was a hole is actually the step well. The step well appears out of
64

nowhere, and when you climb down those steps and are surrounded completely by these intricate
sculptures you feel like youve been transported to a different time and place. With so many
carvings covering every inch of the walls one would expect it to look crowded but it doesnt.
From the guides we learnt that the Rani ki Vav had been constructed from a circular well. This was
done by opening one of its four quadrants to a flight of stairs that stretched from the water to the
ground above.
The entire structure is very deep. When standing at the top, the people at the bottom look like tiny
figures, and at height of 60 feet, one would expect nothing less. The length of the step well is
approximately 220 feet. Sadly, however, time has left its weary mark on the structure. Where there
used to be seven floors and four multi-storeyed pavilions with pillars only 5 remain. Additionally, at
its prime, the Queens step well was host to more than 500 images (Kirit 496)24, but bad weather
and greedy men resulted in the survival of less than 400. Even in its present damaged state the
Queens Step well is one of the most ornate step wells in India. The sculptures on the inner sides of
the well are what make this particular step well unique. If we think the monument is beautiful it
truly must have been unrivalled in its prime. The sculptures depict various Gods, Goddesses, and
Apsaras, river goddesses and the 8 Vasus and Rishis.
The majority of the multitudes of sculptures adorning every inch of the walls depict the
Brahmanical pantheon. The different avatars of Shiva, Vishnu, Ganesha, Devi and Brahma can be
found throughout the Stepwell.
Like the TajMahal, this structure was erected in memory of a deceased loved one. Queen
Udayamati commissioned the structure as a tribute to her departed husband King Bhimadeva I
during the Solanki period, somewhere in the latter half of the 11th century. Step wells such as this
one which were created in the memory of the deceased were done so to create religious favour for
the departed. Though considered to be sacred these structures are not considered to be a form of
temple. Its sacristy stems from the fact the memory of the person it is being dedicated to is sacred.
The link between the Patola saris and the Queens step well lies in the geometrical designs can be
found on some of the structural faces. There is some controversy about what was influenced by
what with regard to the patterns of the Patola saree and a particular section of carving in the
Stepwell.
24

Mankodi, Kirit. "The Queen's Stepwell at Patan." Artibus Asiae 53.No. 3/4 (1993): 496-98. Jstor. Web. 21
Dec. 2011. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/3250531 .>.

65

The Salvi weavers believe that the people who were carving the designs in the Stepwell knew about
the Patola saree and were so enamoured by its designs that they decided to immortalize them in
stone. They believe that the designs in the step well were influenced by the Patola saree. The guide
at the Stepwell, however, believed differently. He said that the Patola weavers came to visit the step
well and were inspired by the designs at the step. They later went back and translated what they had
seen onto cloth.

Pattern Motifs found in Rani Ki Vav 1


Rani Ki Vav 2

During our time there, we were unable to conclusively find out which story was true and which
wasnt because all the information we received was verbal and we were unable to find any concrete
sources that would help us put an end to the debate. Either way, the Patola saree and Queens
Stepwell remain forever connected.
Sahastralinga Talav
The Sahastralinga Talav is an elaborate water tank that was commissioned by the king Siddharaj
Jaisingh (1093-1143 AD). The tank combines the areas need for efficient water management with
the Hindu religions reverence for water. For Hindus, water is a symbol of purity and the added
66

bonus was the water source for the tank was the sacred Saraswati river. To reflect this religious
element, 1000 shrines dedicated to lord Shiva were created on the edge of the tank.
Today not much of the talav is left other than its basic structure. Local folklore attributes this to a
curse that was a result of unrequited love and its tragic end. According to the story, the king fell in
love with a local married woman named Jasma Odan. He promised her riches, power and his entire
kingdom if she agreed to leave her husband and marry him. However, Jasma was a virtuous woman
and refused the kings offer. The king nonetheless refused to accept her rejection of his offer.
Knowing that the king would not give up, Jasma committed sati in order to escape the Kings
advances and keep her virtue intact. Whilst committing sati, she placed a curse on the kings talav,
and since that day the tank has been dry.

67

Chapter 6: The Mashru Weavers


Mashru weaving is the lesser known textile of the Gujarat region. It is a special type of cloth that
uses

combination

of

cotton

and

silk

in

its

weaving

process.

A Mashru Weaver at work 1

It was the arrival of Muslims into the region that led to the creation of this special type of cloth. The
term mashru is obtained from the Sharia- the law book of the Islamic faith. When translated,
Mashru means permitted by, or subject to, Islamic law (Crill, 120)17. . This term is a reference to
the fact that Muslim men were forbidden by the Sharia to let pure silk touch their bodies. While
this particular rule does not appear in the Islamic holy book i.e. the Quran, it is one of the personal
traditions of the Prophet that has been passed down and adopted by the Muslim community. This
law served as incentive to the weavers at that time to invent a method through which the artistic and
aesthetic quality of the silk could be retained without violating the ban. They do this by using silk as
their warp thread (i.e. the thread that is longitudinally attached to the loom) and cotton as their weft.
In this way, the silk threads appear on the surface of the cloth making it glossy and aesthetically
pleasing while the cotton threads lie on the underneath. By doing this, none of the silk touches the
wearers skin allowing it to be permissible for the Islamic population.
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Although created for Muslim men, many non-Muslims began to wear the Mashru cloth. This trend
led to the proposition of different etymologies for the term Mashru. Some belive it is a derivative
of the Sanskrit word misru which means mixed. Others believe that it comes from the Persian
word misri which means Egyptian and is a reference to its Islamic origin (Crill 120)17.
The Mashru weavers residing in Patan are originate from two communities- the Khatris who were
from Champaner and the Shaikhs who came to Patan in 1200 AD during the reign of king
Kumarpal. In the past there were around 250 Mashru weaving families living in Patan, but today
there are only 35 left. The weaver we interviewed, Mr.Sureshbhai Khatri, contributed this decrease
to the fact that the younger generation is not willing to take on the family business.

Designs
All the Mashru designs are geometric (Crill 120)25, however, there is not much variety of motifs
available. The Mashru cloth generally consists of a plain cloth with stripes of different colours such
as yellow, green and red.
The most popular Mashru designs are Katario, Chundadi, Lili, LalKankani, Kamkhi, Sodagari,
Arbi and Fancy Butti. The Katario, Chundadi and Sodagari (Trivedi 60)26 patterns are marketed
mostly in Rajasthan while the Arbi and Kamkhi patterns sell well in Madhya Pradesh. The Arbi
design is used exclusively for womens petticoats.

Changes in the process


The technique used for Mashru weaving is more or less the same as it was years ago. There have
only been two major alterations that have taken place. Firstly, some of the Mashru weavers have
switched from using a hand loom to using a fly shuttle loom. This is because the fly shuttle loom
works much faster than the traditional hand loom allowing the weaver to work more efficiently and
increasing the amount of product he can produce per annum. Additionally larger webs of yarn can
be attached to the fly shuttle and are woven in the same time it would take to weave a narrow web
of yarn.

25

Crill, Rosemary. Indian Ikat Textiles. London: V & A Publications, 1998. Print.

26

R.K. Trivedi, Superintendent of Census operations in Gujarat, Census of India 1961, Vol. V- Part VII-A, Selected
Crafts of India. (1961). Print

69

Secondly, with the arrival of artificial silk yarn in the market, Mashru weavers have begun to use
this instead of the raw silk that they traditionally used. This too has cut their costs significantly.
Switching to the artificial yarn has eliminated a number of steps in the production process which
again reduces the production time of each Mashru weave.

Consumer base
Mashrus main consumer base today is the rural folk and adivasi people of Gujarat, Rajasthan and
Madhya Pradesh (Trivedi 63)19. They desire the traditional designs and are completely opposed to
any diversion from tradition.
Since it is people from rural areas that form the majority of their client base, demand for their
product completely depends on how successful the agricultural season for that year is. In the last
few years, with the rainfall problems that have plagued India, the demand for the Mashru cloth has
fallen as the rural people have not had enough of a harvest to sell and so do not have money to
spend on clothes.
The peak season for the Mashru trade is the wedding season which lies between the months of
November to May as their fabric is very often used to make the chania or petticoat for the bride
(Trivedo 61)27.

Export
In the past, the Mashru cloth used to be exported to Aden, Kuwait, Syria, Africa and Arab
Countries (Trivedi 63)19. Now, due to a decrease in popularity of this cloth in those regions the
exports have stopped.
The main markets for this fabric today are Indian markets in areas like Gujarat, Rajasthan and
Madhya Pradesh.
In conclusion, while the Mashru craft is still a viable one, it is not a thriving as it used to be. The
reasons for its slight decline are factors that are completely out of its control. The purchasing power
of its clientele depends on success of their harvest which in turn depends on the climate and amount
of rainfall that their region receives. The fate of the Mashru business is in the hands of Mother
Nature.

27

R.K. Trivedi, Superintendent of Census operations in Gujarat, Census of India 1961, Vol. V- Part VII-A, Selected Crafts
of India. (1961). Print.

70

Chapter

7:

Major

Learnings

and

Conclusions
One of the most primary observations we made during the field trip was the fact that the Patola
weaving, in its original art form, is so ancient that the current weavers themselves do not have a
comprehensive knowledge of certain intricacies of the art. It came as a surprise to us that an art so
well-established and traditional in nature has never been thoroughly documented. One of the chief
reasons owing to this is definitely the secretive nature of the Salvis. Though overly friendly and
welcoming in nature, this guild of artisans has treasured even the smallest of the details of their
weaving technique. Of course, during the recent years other double-ikat producing areas have
cropped up in India as well as overseas, yet none can match or master the intricate details of the
handiwork as the Salvis have. Owing to these reasons, we have tried to document the weaving
techniques (with due permission of the Salvis) as much as possible. The problem arises in the lack
of knowledge. The current weavers themselves claim that all that they know about the weaving
techniques is due to the years of practice. Over the years the techniques have been passed on in the
family through oral traditions. Hence, the true knowledge has been altered and re-altered time and
again. When asked one of the weavers Rahulbhai said, When the loom calls out to my soul, my
hands automatically start working on the Sari. Apart from the passion of the man, this clearly
indicates how this technique is almost inborn into these weavers.
We also observed that sadly, though these weavers are well-known and revered amongst the various
artisan guilds, and have been felicitated by the Indian government a number of times over the years,
they are unhappy about the current situation of the art. Economically, they claim to have no
problems. But, their greatest concern remains that the government has not done enough for ensuring
the restoration of the art which is clearly waning. So that led us to our primary research question: Is
Patola weaving a dying art? It is very difficult to come to a conclusion as we observed that the
question is viewed differently by the weavers and the people who buy Patolas as also most of the
Designers and experts on the subject. Each and every expert we spoke to termed Patola weaving as
the dying art. The famous designer Sabyasachi Mukherji also opines the same. So do the buyers of
Patola. The surprise came in the form of the weavers who do not believe that their art is on a
decline. Rahulbhai Salvi explains that in its original art form, the Patola weaving will not die out for
at least four more decades. He broke the common myth amongst the people further explaining that

71

though the weaver have greatly declined in number, and the production of the Saris have
consequently reduced, the art will continue to live as long as the weavers exist, however less in
numbers.
Other interesting observation made in Patan was the advent of the imitation Patolas in the local
market. Surprisingly, the Salvis claim that they have always been ready for it. In fact, the businesses
of these fake imitations of Patola have come into being through one of their own apprentices.
Apparently, at one point the Salvis, out of fear of the decline of the weavers, had decided to teach
the techniques to weavers outside of their caste. Sadly, one of their apprentices moved away from
them after learning a few techniques and started his business. Naturally the quality would never
match the original weaving. The Salvis, though, have come to terms with the fact that there are
cheaper imitations available in market. One of the chief reasons being that the imitations had
whatsoever no effect on their business. It continued to thrive. In fact, the Salvis themselves have
started weaving imitations for a certain target audience since they believe that who else could copy
their art better than themselves.
The tradition thus continues. The Salvis have adapted to the various changes that have taken place
around them through time. But originally ever so they will always remain the ancient weavers who
were once claimed to possess magical powers and weave a magical cloth so auspicious and revered
in design.
And as far as the question about it being a dying art is concerned, we vaguely remember Savanbhai
Salvi casually commenting with a smirk on his face,

It is not a dying art, it is a dyeing art!

72

Group Picture 1

73

Appendix and Tables:


Preliminary data:
General Characteristics
Monochrome warps are located approximately between the main field and the border stripes and/or
between parts of the border stripes. But above all they compose the longitudinal borders. We shall
term the most striking of these adjusting stripes.
The pallav (the end panel visible when the cloth is worn as a sari or wrap) usually has mire
monochrome sections than its counterpart the counter-pallav. This is usually the only place that
wefts or bands of meal threads are found; the counter-pallav, on the other hand, often has a weft ikat
end mentioned above. Both ends of the fabric have the same disposition: a section without weft is
followed by a transverse border made of thick yarn and a subsequent warp fringe with short threads
that are usually unapplied. Whereas the patterning of the central part of the patolu is accentuated
along the horizontal or vertical axis or, frequently, intersects along both axes, in the end panels,
weft ways is always the predominant direction. This impression is created primarily through the
arrangement in bands, for here, too; at least the larger ikat motifs run warp ways. The ornamented
sections and monochrome parts are arranged in mirror symmetry along both horizontal and vertical
axis. But in the individual ikat sections, on the other hand, the motifs are often placed
asymmetrically, especially in fields with plants, animals and figural motifs. Symmetrical
arrangement is more common in sections with predominantly geometrical ornamentation as well as
in border stripes and the ikat bands of the end panels, which need not be geometrical to be
symmetrical. Although double ikat (as well as warp and, as a rarity, weft ikat in individual parts)
tends to be the characteristic patterning of Patola, other methods of decoration also play a part. As
far as we know only metal threads or, as a substitute, white silk threads are employed in these other
methods; they are used to lance and brocade individual areas of the pallav and, on rare occasions,
the main field. In isolated cases this kind of thread is also found in the warp of the longitudinal
borders.

Primary documentation of Pattern motifs


74

As a rule the terms relate to the patterning of the main field, that section of the fabric which we, too,
considered decisive in our examination of patolu types. But the same names are often used for other
parts, too-for the patterning of the border stripes, frame, and end panels and even for individual
motifs. Thus, it is not rare to find motif type designations in the literature that are confusing because
they do not refer to the main field but to those other patterned parts. What is worse is the fact that
on occasion names for types have been confounded or ascribed to forms which they could not
possibly apply to. In the following section we will provide Buhlers classification of motifs and a
brief summary of the few important ones.
Terms used for Motif Types
MT1

PAN BHAT

MT2

PAN BHAT

MT 3-10

FUL BHAT, FUL WALI BHAT, FUL VADI BHAT.

MT 4/5

FUL BHAT, TRAN FUL BHAT

MT 6

FUL BHAT, PANCH FUL BHAT, AKHROT BHAT.

MT 7

FUL BHAT, TRAN FUL BHT, CHOKDI BHAT

MT 8

FUL BHAT

MT9

FUL BHAT

MT 10

FUL BHAT

MT 11/12

CHHABADI BHAT

MT 13

NARI KUNJAR BHAT

MT 14/15

POPAT KUNJAR BHAT

MT 16

NARI KUNJAR BHAT

MT 17/18

VAGH BHAT

MT 19

VAGH HATHI BHAT

MT 20-22

HATHI BHAT

75

MT 23

VOHRA GAJI BHAT

MT 24

VOHRA GAJI BHAT

MT 25

MT 26

MT 27

CHOKADI BHAT

MT 28

MT 29

MT 30

NAV RATNA BHAT

MT 31

BOR JALI

MT 32

MT 33

RATAN CHOK BHAT

MT 34

MT 35

DADA BHAT

MT 36-37

CHIR, CHIR PATOLA, GALO VALA BHAT

MT 38-41

CHIR

MT 42

MT 43

KANCHELI

MT 44

RAS BHAT

MT 45-53

Akhrot Bhat
Probably commonly used for certain forms of motif types MT 3 10, possibly for MT 6 in particular.
AKHROT means walnut, BHAT (as in the following designations) design.
76

A completely accurate definition of this name is not possible; but the word certainly refers to a
motif with flowering shrubs in lozenges as the main field pattern.
According to Gulati, G. U. Patel termed the pattern OKHAR BHAT (water crest design). This
name has been taken over by Mehta, R.J. But according to inquiries made in Patan the correct term
is AKHROT BHAT (Walnut design).
Gulati does not provide a description of the pattern.
Mehta, R.N. does not give detailed information either. He simply lists AKHROT BHAT (walnut
motif) as a rare type of FUL BHAT.
Majumdar mentions AKHROTA BHATA as walnut motif.
A patolu corresponding to our motif type MT 6 was termed AKHROT BHAT in Ahmadabad in
1967. Buhler translated the term as apricot motif.

Bor jail
Standard for motif type MT 31
According to Mehta, R. N, The term is supposed to mean berry and trellis work. The author
comments as follows: A design with trellis work and flowers might go back to the period after the
16th century. In its general outline this design has affinities with the motif known as Bor JAL (berry
and trellis work) which depicts even stylized flowers inside a trellis pattern. Also the North-Indian
BHL_BUL chasm motif can be classified in the same group.
The drawing Mehta uses adds further elucidation of the motif shows a lozenge composed of four
lancet-shaped leaves and containing a cross-blossom. But these forms in no way correspond to our
motif type.

Chhabadi bhat, chhabdi bhat, chhabri bhat


Common for motif type MT 11 and perhaps for MT 12 and similar forms.
CHHABADI, CHHABDI, CHHABRI means basket.
The term refers to the circular ornaments in the main field which enclose floral configurations
(stars) and possibly other forms, which are sometimes called fruits. The references to be found in
the accessible literature are contradictory and some of them are certainly incorrect.

77

Patel (1949) describes the pattern he calls CHABDI BHAT NA PHUL (circle of basket containing
flowers) as baskets of pomegranates, arranged in rows.
But Gulati, following G.U. Patel, writes: CHABBRI BHAT or basket design. Here each enclosure
containing an elephant (!) is made up of four quadrants which look as if forming a basket, when two
of them are taken together.
In keeping with this he refers to a picture of a patolu (with monochrome body!) with elephants in
rectangles in the patterning of the border stripes and end panels.
The description and picture found in Mehta, R.N in connection with the designation of the motif
type is rather more suitable: CHHABADI BHAT (basket design): This design has circular outline
filled-in with geometrical and floral elements. Why he then goes on to call the main field pattern

GAL vali bhat (also gali vali bhat, galo valo bhat)
Open space design.
The term probably refers to main fields either not patterned at all or not patterned in double ikat,
thus indicating Patola which are also called CHIR or CHIR PATOLA (MT 36-39). In Patan in 1964
we were also given the name NUR LINJAR for such forms.
In the times of India annual (1960: 74) a plain sari, i.e. a cloth with monochrome main field, is
called GALO.
The Ahmadabad catalogue contains the designation GALA VARO BHAT (open space design) and
GALO ANE NARI KUNJAR KINAR (GALO with NARI KUNJAR border stripes).
Nari kunjar popat ful bhat, nari kunjar bhat, popat kunjar bhat
Term for motif types MT 13-16.
NARI means girl, doll. KUNJAR means elephant, POPAT parrot and FUL flower, blossom.
The two first terms refer to Patola with all four of the motifs mentioned above in the main field (MT
13, 16) the third term is used for forms in which the girl is lacking (MT 14,15).
FUL is often left out although the floral design is always there; the same holds true for POPAT.
The oldest term of this kind known for this to us comes from Baroda.

78

Patel (1949) describes the pattern as if it had neither parrots nor flowers: diamond-shaped
constructions are composed of diagonal lines, inside there are dolls and on either side of them
elephants on a slant. He says that NARI means doll and Kunjar elephant.
Gulati calls the pattern nari-kunjar bhat or dancing girl and elephant design. He says that is
always includes parrots: but here, too, the floral motif is not mentioned. The illustration does not
show a patolu of the MT 13 group but a fabric of the MT 1 type with four different individual
motifs in the border stripes.
Mehta, R. N makes detailed comments on this pattern: THE NARI KUNJAR (woman and
elephant) design consists of diapers in which are enclosed elephants with drivers, women and
parrots. The animal and the woman are always highly stylized. The wide skirt and dangling-down
hair-tresses of the woman stand very near to the feminine costume and coiffure style of Gujarat
after the 6th century such as we know it from miniature paintings of the period. It seems, therefore,
that this design was introduced in the Patola manufacture later in 16th century.

79

Survey Tables:
Ahmedabad
Name

Age

Profession

Religion

Do you wear a Do you know about Patola


sari?

sari's

Rajvi Shah

32

Hairstylist

Jain

Yes

Yes

Afsana

41

Homemaker

Islam

Yes

Yes

23

Student

Hindu

No

Yes

Preshita bhadra 29

Employee

Hindu

Yes

No

vaishali Patel

46

Social Worker

Hindu

Yes

Yes

Rupali Shah

32

professor

Jain

Yes

yes

Mansi Jain

26

Employee

Jain

yes

No

Shabina. Iman

42

Shopowner

Islam

Yes

Yes

Sneha .agrawal 21

Student

Hindu

yes

Yes

Priyanshi.

34

dentist

Jain

Yes

No

Rupa. Panchal

38

Homemaker

Hindu

Yes

Yes

Tanya.shah

22

Student

Jain

Yes

Yes

Ria.

37

Homemaker

Hindu

Yes

No

28

Fashion

Hindu

Yes

Yes

Zariwala
Pooja Metha

Shah

Sandhniwala
Priya. Gandhi

Desugner
rajeshwari.

57

Homemaker

Hindu

yes

Yes

32

Architect

Jain

Yes

Yes

Parnika. Doshi

21

Student

Hindu

Yes

No

Urvi.shah

48

Homemaker

Jain

Yes

Yes

Rima.Patel

65

Homemaker

Hindu

Yes

Yes

tasneeb.

33

Employee

Islam

No

Yes

34

professor

Hindu

yes

Yes

Patel
Neena
Sanghavi

Gabajiwala
Krishna.Patel

80

Shaital.Parikh

42

Fashion

Jain

Yes

Yes

Desugner
Seema. Dave

38

doctor

Hindu

yes

No

Mamta.Modi

63

Homemaker

Hindu

Yes

Yes

neeta Rathod

29

Travel Agent

Hindu

Yes

Yes

smita kamani

31

Homemaker

Hindu

Yes

No

Avisha jhaveri

21

Student

Hindu

no

No

Kokila Varma

65

Homemaker

Hindu

Yes

Yes

Nandita Shah

61

Social Worker

Jain

yes

No

Ramila.

52

Homemaker

Hindu

Yes

Yes

Sunita Jain

32

Employee

Jain

yes

No

Shekina

40

professor

Islam

yes

Yes

29

designer

Islam

Yes

Yes

Rinku Panchal

38

Homemaker

Hindu

Yes

No

Neema.

28

Shopowner

Jain

No

Yes

35

Businesswome

Islam

Yes

Yes

Tandan

Kadiwala
Rukhshaya
Shekh

Shethiya
Zarina Mehta

n
Arpita Sharma

43

homemaker

Hindu

Yes

Yes

Meena Seth

47

Employee

Hindu

Yes

No

Geetika Jain

21

Student

Jain

Yes

No

Sunaina Singh

24

Student

Hindu

Yes

Yes

Name

Age

Profession

Religion

Do you know about Do you own a Patolu? (


Patola Imitations?

Original/Imitation)

Rajvi Shah

32

Hairstylist

Jain

Yes

Yes, Imitation

Afsana

41

Homemaker

Islam

No

No

Pooja Metha

23

Student

Hindu

No

Yes, Imitation

vaishali Patel

46

Social Worker

Hindu

Yes

Yes, Imitation

Zariwala

81

Rupali Shah

32

professor

Jain

Yes

Yes, Imitation

Shabina. Iman 42

Shopowner

Islam

Yes

No

Sneha

Student

Hindu

No

No

Rupa. Panchal 38

Homemaker

Hindu

No

No

Tanya.shah

22

Student

Jain

No

No

Priya. Gandhi

28

Fashion

Hindu

No

No

21

.agrawal

Desugner
rajeshwari.

57

Homemaker

Hindu

Yes

Yes, Original

32

Architect

Jain

Yes

Yes, Imitation

Urvi.shah

48

Homemaker

Jain

Yes

Yes, Original

Rima.Patel

65

Homemaker

Hindu

No

Yes, Imitation

tasneeb.

33

Employee

Islam

No

No

Krishna.Patel

34

professor

Hindu

Yes

No

Shaital.Parikh

42

Fashion

Jain

No

Yes, Imitation

Patel
Neena
Sanghavi

Gabajiwala

Desugner
Mamta.Modi

63

Homemaker

Hindu

Yes

No

neeta Rathod

29

Travel Agent

Hindu

No

No

Kokila Varma

65

Homemaker

Hindu

Yes

Yes, Original

Ramila.

52

Homemaker

Hindu

Yes

Yes, Original

40

Professor

Islam

Yes

Yes, Imitation

29

Designer

Islam

No

No

28

Shopowner

Jain

Yes

Yes, Imitation

35

Businesswomen Islam

Yes

No

Arpita Sharma 43

homemaker

Hindu

Yes

Yes, Original

Sunaina Singh 24

Student

Hindu

Yes

No

Tandan
Shekina
Kadiwala
Rukhshaya
Shekh
Neema.
Shethiya
Zarina Mehta

82

Name

Age

Profession

Religion

Do you think its a dying art?

Rajvi Shah

32

Hairstylist

Jain

Yes

Afsana Zariwala

41

Homemaker

Islam

No

Pooja Metha

23

Student

Hindu

Yes

vaishali Patel

46

Social Worker

Hindu

Yes

Rupali Shah

32

professor

Jain

Yes

Shabina. Iman

42

Shopowner

Islam

Yes

Sneha .agrawal

21

Student

Hindu

Yes

Rupa. Panchal

38

Homemaker

Hindu

No

Tanya.shah

22

Student

Jain

Yes

Priya. Gandhi

28

Fashion Desugner

Hindu

No

rajeshwari. Patel

57

Homemaker

Hindu

Yes

83

Neena Sanghavi

32

Architect

Jain

No

Urvi.shah

48

Homemaker

Jain

Yes

Rima.Patel

65

Homemaker

Hindu

Yes

tasneeb.

33

Employee

Islam

Yes

Krishna.Patel

34

professor

Hindu

Yes

Shaital.Parikh

42

Fashion Desugner

Jain

No

Mamta.Modi

63

Homemaker

Hindu

Yes

neeta Rathod

29

Travel Agent

Hindu

Yes

Kokila Varma

65

Homemaker

Hindu

Yes

Ramila. Tandan

52

Homemaker

Hindu

No

Shekina

40

professor

Islam

No

29

designer

Islam

Yes

Shopowner

jain

Yes

Gabajiwala

Kadiwala
Rukhshaya
Shekh
Neema. Shethiya 28

84

Zarina Mehta

35

Businesswomen

Islam

Yes

Arpita Sharma

43

homemaker

Hindu

Yes

Sunaina Singh

24

Student

Hindu

Yes

Patan
Do you wear a

Do you know about Patola

Name

Age

Profession

Religion

sari?

sari/s

Sunita Jain

38

Homemaker

Jain

Yes

Yes

Rani Patel

39

Homemaker

Hindu

Yes

Yes

Kanika Parikh

27

Employee

Hindu

No

Yes

Kusum Patel

53

Employee

Hindu

Yes

Yes

Hansa Shah

42

Social Worker

Jain

Yes

Yes

Reena Mehta

29

professor

Hindu

Yes

Yes

Aasma Sheikh

38

Homemaker

Islam

No

Yes

Kavita Panich

48

Social Worker

Hindu

Yes

Yes

Vaishali Jain

37

Mashroo Weaver

Jain

yes

Yes

Gajni Vanand

37

Mashroo Weaver

Jain

Yes

No

Hansa Thakker

35

Tea Stall owner

Hindu

Yes

Yes

Hetal Modi

37

Mashroo Weaver

Hindu

Yes

Yes

Jyotika Shatiya

45

Homemaker

Hindu

Yes

Yes

Ami Salvi

32

Tailor

Jain

Yes

Yes

Manju Vadilal

65

Shopkeeper

Hindu

yes

Yes

Jankna Patel

33

Homemaker

Hindu

Yes

Yes

Saraswati Patel

27

Homemaker

Hindu

Yes

Yes

Meena Modi

34

Homemaker

Hindu

Yes

Yes

Reshma Malik

21

Homemaker

Hindu

No

No

85

Asma Chaki

23

Student

Islam

No

Yes

Pujwana Masuri

20

Houseworker

Hindu

No

Yes

Smita Ganatia

39

Homemaker

Hindu

Yes

Yes

Asmita Siyami

46

Teacher

Hindu

Yes

Yes

Minakshi Amin

50

Homemaker

Hindu

No

Yes

Sonal Patel

31

Teacher

Hindu

Yes

Yes

Rdhika Shah

41

Teacher

Jain

Yes

Yes

Sheela Waghela

35

Doctor

Hindu

Yes

Yes

Premila Bhataya

56

Homemaker

Hindu

Yes

Yes

Abha Negi

42

Social Worker

Jain

Yes

Yes

Vidhi Jain

27

Professor

Hindu

Yes

Yes

Vibha Ganghani

33

Homemaker

Jain

Yes

Yes

Rajuben Mistri

48

Homemaker

Islam

Yes

Yes

Yesimi Shah

42

Homemaker

Islam

Yes

Yes

Vrvi Gala

31

Insurance Agent

Jain

Yes

Yes

Pamita Chavdar

38

Homemaker

Jain

Yes

Yes

Komal Najapati

26

Homemaker

Islam

Yes

Yes

Alpa Gala

38

Homemaker

Jain

Yes

Yes

Kajal Salvi

29

Tailor

Hindu

Yes

Yes

Kalpana Sanghavi

29

Shopkeeper

Jain

Yes

Yes

Varsha Kataria

30

Homemaker

Hindu

Yes

Yes

Vimla Patel

30

Homemaker

Hindu

Yes

Yes

Pooja Ganatra

48

Family Business

Hindu

Yes

Yes

Kokila Popat

52

Homemaker

Hindu

Yes

Yes

Chunchanand

42

Homemaker

Hindu

Yes

Yes

Kafin Shah

22

Homemaker

Hindu

Yes

Yes

Rina Ghomes

32

Homemaker

Catholic

No

Yes

Payal Salvi

58

Homemaker

Jain

Yes

Yes

Kirit Modi

50

Employee

Hindu

Yes

Yes

Chhaya Modi

38

Homemaker

Hindu

Yes

Yes

Saroj Kumar

40

Homemaker

Hindu

Yes

Yes

Naina Darji

30

Homemaker

Hindu

Yes

Yes

Rani Modi

36

Tailor

Hindu

Yes

Yes

Pshina Sheikh

23

Student

Islam

No

No

Shaiki Dave

24

Student

Hindu

Yes

Yes

Nirmala

86

Asha Modi

29

Homemaker

Hindu

Yes

Yes

Asmita Bhati

40

Employee

Hindu

Yes

Yes

Aparashebe Modi

38

Homemaker

Hindu

Yes

Yes

Meena Bhanushali

34

Doctor

Hindu

Yes

Yes

Angali Mathur

44

Homemaker

Hindu

Yes

Yes

Sarju Patel

79

Homemaker

Hindu

Yes

Yes

87

Bibliography
1. Books
1.

Lynton, Linda. "Chapter 2: The Western Region." The Sari: Styles, Patterns, History,

Techniques. London: Thames & Hudson, 2002. 30-32. Print.


2.

Ranjan, M. P., and Aditi Ranjan. Handmade in India. New Delhi: Council of Handicraft

Development Corporations, 2007. Print.


3.

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A Collection of East Indian Textiles, G. U.

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Meitei, Dayandana. "NID Aims to Arrest Gujarat Handicrafts Slide into Oblivion." DNA 18

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4. Internet resources
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National Innovation Foundation. Adding life to a centuries old dyeing art - Patan. n.d. 18

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2.

Ranjan,

Aditi.

"IGNCA

INVENTORY

ON

THE

INTANGIBLE

HERITAGE." Inventory. Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, n.d.

90

CULTURAL

Synopsis
Eight students.
One mentor.
A journey.
An ancient fortified town.
A much ancient guild of weavers.
And a more ancient art of weaving.
With miles of journey under our heels, we travel to the somnolent little town of Patan, in Gujarat to
discover more about the art of Patola weaving.
Solitudes in Silk is a comprehensive documentation of the weaving techniques and the ancient Patola
weavers.

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