Fabrics of Maharashtra : Narayanpets, Ilkals and Khunn

Fabrics of Maharashtra : Narayanpets, Ilkals and Khunn
Apart from the paithanis, the other sarees that have had a great influence on the maharastrian attire since centuries are the Ilkal and the Narayanpet sarees paired with the soft khunn material used for the blouses.

The Narayanpet fabrics have been known to be patronized in Maharashtra since the times of Shivaji Maharaj. These sarees are known for the best quality fabrics and durability. Narayanpet is a small town located around the border of Andrapradesh and Karnataka, traditionally has been a weaver town. The Narayanpet is a very simple saree, used to be make in only cotton traditionally. With new demands, is not extensively made in a blend of cotton and silk or in pure silk. The saree typically is plain, with a contrast or complementing border which is about 5-6 inches wide and two thin lines with tiny temple design woven in resham and zari. The pallu too is a very simple one, mostly plain with 3 horizontal lines. Rarely some paisley motifs are woven between them. A saree takes anywhere between 2-4 days to complete and is entirely handwoven.
Unfortunately, the Narayanpet sarees have seen a steady decline in buyers and now barely 2000 looms exist in this town struggling for survival. Reasons for the decline being not just that the new generation doesn’t want to get into weaving, but also the meagre amount of money being paid to the weavers. This is essentially because the demand has declined as cheaper versions are available in powerlooms and also some blame could be put on the changing fashions. Moreover, the educated new generation is not interested in the profession due to the hard labour and long hours to bring out the finished product, even then the returns are not lucrative to make them stay in the profession. Narayanpet has it GI identification as well.

Ilkars too have a similar story. Originating from the Ilkal town of Bagalkat in Karnataka and dates back to 8th century AD. Once upon a time these were the daily wear sarees woven in cottons and woven in silk to be worn for special occasions. Cotton silk Ilkals have also gained popularity over the years. The speciality of these sarees is the joining of the saree with the pallu portion which is normally weaved in blocks of red and white and temple design is incorporated in them. An ilkal takes about 7-10 days to be weaved. The handwoven silk Ilkals are made of very high count silk and hence are quite heavy compared to other silk sarees. Also the irkals have a very textured finish and a lovely shine when held up close. The borders are typically contrast and have a couple of woven zari pattis running through them. Illkals come in some very vibrant as well as soothing pastel shades. Even though the patterns and pallu are very simple, the Irkals look quite elegant and rich.

Paired with a beautiful patterned khunn blouse, these traditional sarees will make any woman fall in love with traditional handlooms. The khun fabric was originally made in Guledgudda in Karnataka and has been very popular in Maharastra for ages. It gained popularity due to its soft feel, variety of colors, brocade textures and durability. Its available in an huge array of designs and two tone jewel colors and can be stitched in different garments. Teamed with traditional sarees or cotton sarees, these look absolutely graceful and stunning.
Off late, the khun has been well-revived and picked up by some of the major designers to be incorporated in western wear, bags, home decor and the possibilities are truly endless.

These handloom sarees are truly a treasure and an inseparable part of our rich heritage. We certainly hope that these sarees and handlooms get their due and reach the people who truly understand and appreciate this dying art. At a time when government is too doing its bit through the Make in India movement and similar such programs, we certainly hope these arts find more buyers which will help the craftsmen who truly weave a part of their souls in these fabrics.

Irkals : Cotton irkals start at Rs. 1500/- and very good quality ones can go upto 12000/-

Narayanpets : Rs. 2000 to Rs. 5000

Khunn materials : Rs. 200 a meter onwards for good quality materials.

To buy Ilkal sarees online visit : OnlyPaithani.com

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