Rajasthan has a rich textile heritage and is known for its painted (Pichwais and Phad), printed (Bagru and Sanganer) as well as resist-dyed (Bandhani and Leheriya) textiles. Apart from these textile traditions the weaves of Kota, Rajasthan are famous for their fine cotton weaving popularly known as Kota Doria. Kota Doria, or Masuria as it is more popularly known, is one of the most important sources of income for the people of this region. The villages of Kaithun and Mangrol are most renowned for the Masuria sarees.
The origin and name of this fine checkered fabric are shrouded in mystery and many fables are told by the weavers of this craft as to how this technique of weaving and its name originated.
Some believe that the Doria sarees were first woven in Mysore and that weavers were moved to Kota under the patronage of Rao Kishore Singh, the then-Kota Prince.
According to another tale, a Khatiya weaver from Kota travelled to Chandeshwari, a town in South India, to study the art of fine weaving. When he returned, the Kota durbar rewarded him handsomely for his improved craftsmanship by weaving a check pattern made up of alternate weaves of silk and cotton yarns.
The story behind the name Masuria
There are numerous fascinating anecdotes and interpretations as to how Kota Doria came to be known as Masuria.
Masuria is a Sanskrit word that implies mesh. The name could have been obtained from the fabric's pattern, which is similar to that of a mesh.
The cloth produced may have been given the name Masuria since the silk was obtained from Mysore.
The beauty of Kota Doria
Kota Doria is a one-of-a-kind hand-woven fabric with a distinctive square-checkered pattern. The exquisite quality of the yarn, its agility and softness, which are created by polishing the warp yarn with a particular starch or kanji, are the distinguishing features of this fabric. Different counts of cotton yarns or a blend of silk and cotton yarns are differentially woven to create the checkered pattern.
Weaving with silk is a very unique and different type of weaving in which cotton and silk threads are combined in both the warp and weft directions. This results in the development of squares, which are referred to as khat. This weaving procedure is not followed by any other handloom textile in India. The khats are referred to by many names such as khan, charkhana, chokhdi, and checks in various parts of the world.
The popular motifs used are keri (mango), phool patti (flowers with petals and leaves), chokdi (checks), ginni (coin), paan (leaf), shakarpara (sweet) and many geometrical motifs.
Since this transparent lightweight fabric is suitable for summer, light pastel shades of yellow, green, pink, red and orange are used by weavers. For the motifs, darker colours such as blue, green, pink and yellow are popular.
Throw-shuttle pit looms were employed in the past. Frame looms and jacquard looms, on the other hand, have become more popular in the production of sarees with woven borders and motifs in recent years. The wrapping, dyeing, sizing, winding and weaving is done by weavers with the help of their family members.
After warping, the cotton yarns remain brittle and they are made strong and smooth by sizing them. A liquid made of arrowroot, wheat flour, rice and wild onions, is applied to size it. After sizing the yarns are warped and wound on the warp beam of the loom. The majority of the weavers use unbleached yarns, and the dyeing of the fabric is done after weaving. Direct and reactive dyes are used for dyeing yarns.
In the present day, this versatile and lightweight ensemble is an integral part of occasion wear and wedding trousseau. At Sundari Silks, we take great care to preserve and promote the heritage crafts of our country, such as the Kota Doria, through specially handcrafted collections.