India’s love affair with traditional handloom goes back eons. Treasured as precious family heirlooms, sarees have been passed down generations since times immemorial. One such handloom treasure held dear to the heart is the exquisite Paithani Saree.
Paithani Sarees are regarded as royalty among sarees and have come to hold a special place in a Maharashtrian bridal trousseau. Handwoven with pure silk and adorned with rich golden zari work and complex motifs, the Paithani displays beautiful craftsmanship and artistic finesse.
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History of Paithani Saree
Famed as the Queen of Silks, the Paithani tells a tale deep-rooted in history and culture. The origin of Paithani Sarees dates back to the 2nd Century BCE during the Satvahana dynasty.
The Paithani tradition of weaving began in the city of Pratishthana, the erstwhile capital of the Satvahana Dynasty, presently known as Paithan, where the saree gets its name from. Originally made with fine silk from China and pure zari, the Paithani was exported to many countries and traded in exchange for gold.
For more than 2000 years, this art has been kept alive by the dedicated Paithani makers and weavers of the region. The Paithani continued to flourish through the centuries, receiving royal patronage from the Mughals, the Peshwas, and the Nizams. The tradition also expanded to the small town of Yeola near Nashik in the 17th century under the Peshwas, giving rise to the name Yeola Paithani.
However, as industrial power looms arrived during the British era, the Paithani industry faced a severe setback. Fortunately, the age-old Paithani tradition has revived in recent decades with support from the government and those who wish to preserve this precious tradition.
Today, Yeola has emerged as a hub of Paithani weaving, with the Yeola Paithani Saree becoming a much-coveted family heirloom.