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Ikkat weaves in India: A short story

You might ask why Indian ikat is so much in demand globally. It’s because of the experience and the developing techniques of the master weavers here. The special thing about ikat weaving in India is that each region has evolved its own style of dyeing and weaving of the yarns.

Ikat from Andhra/ Telangana

Telia Rumaal and Pochampally Ikat - One of the most unique of all Indian ikat weaving forms is the Telia Rumal from Andhra Pradesh, where the yarn is not only tied-dyed, but is also treated with a special oil to give the fabric a characteristic sheen. This is a double ikat usually, so both warp and weft (longitudinal and crossing-over) yarns are dyed with motifs drawn on them. The yarns are then dipped in castor ash and oil, and are then woven. The motifs are mostly geometrical and repetitive – large, well-defined diamonds, hexagons, squares are the usual design bases, you will find in the Telia Rumal ikat. Known to be cooling and auspicious, Telia used to be integrally linked to the culture of the place, it was woven in. Unfortunately, this became a dwindling craft, but thankfully is on the path to revival.


The designs in Telia Rumaal are often larger and sharper compared to the ikat designs in the intricate, relatively more popular Pochampally (double) Ikats from the same area. These relatively blurrier, highly prized, ikats are quite popular and much loved. Silk sarees, cotton sarees and silk-cotton Pochampally ikat fabrics are much sought after. They take a lot of time in making, as both warp and weft yarns are tied and dyed. ikkat pattu sarees

Puttapaka sarees from Telangana

The tie and dye technique used to create a special ikkat, in the Nalgonda district of erstwhile Andhra – now Telangana – primarily in the village named Puttapaka – is the basis of these rare saris. This is a single ikat – but unlike the other popular forms, this is done on the warp yarn (the longitudinal lengths of the yarn) of the fabric. Mostly these saris are also sold under the name of more popular Pochampallis, though the two are somewhat different. The designs may be simple, but the symmetry is remarkable in this ikkat silk sarees .

Ikat from Odisha (Sambalpuri Ikat)

Other types of warp ikat patterns are primarily made in Odisha in India. Sambalpur, Bargarh, Sonepur and Boudh are the areas in Odisha, where this form of ikat is woven. In Odisha, it is also called bandha. The yarns used are fine, and the designs often have animal motifs and curvilinear patterns. In this form, the tie-dyed yarns are first arranged in the loom in a design, and then the solid coloured weft yarns are put in. This form of ikat is very old and is used in Indonesia as well to create their ikat fabrics.