Pochampally sarees are yet another work of art that exemplifies India’s unparalleled master craftsmanship. This immensely skilled craft originated at the Pochamapalli village in Telangana. The remarkable beauty of this art is engulfed in its visual texture and precision-bound weaving techniques. In Telangana, the Pochampally sarees are referred to as Pagdubandhu. The proficiency of the craft is an incredible achievement of the skilled weavers for whom ikat weaving was a way of life. Every member of the weavers family is involved in the process at some point.
Pages of History:
Ikat weavers from Chirala introduced the Telia Rumal process to the weavers of Pochampalli. When the market for Telia Rumal declined, these weavers expanded their repertoire into more explanatory sarees and dress materials. It is also believed that the colourful Pochampally ikat sarees and yardages reached Indonesia from Chirala. Initially, these sarees were produced only in red, black and white. However, when new techniques evolved several colours were bought into the colour scheme and sarees of high artistic value were produced.
The weavers of Pochampalli learnt the Telia Rumal weaving techniques from the ikat weavers of Chirala. When the market for Telia Rumal began to dwindle, the weavers diversified their offerings into more interesting sarees and dress materials with intricate designs. These sarees were initially woven only in red, black and white colours. However, with the advent of new techniques, various colours including pastel shades have been added to the colour scheme to produce sarees of exceptional artistic value.
The Pochampally sarees were greatly inspired by the double ikat weaving of Patola from Gujarat. Only the weft ikats are mostly dyed in Pochampally sarees, however, both warps and wefts are dyed occasionally. These sarees are made of mulberry silk or cotton and take about a week to weave.
The design lexicon of the Pochampally saree comprises squares, diamonds, dots, stripes, birds, flowers and checks. Many delightful designs have evolved such as multicolour weft ikat motifs with chevron borders or abstract motifs in a grid pattern. The designs mostly depend on the colour palette rather than the shape or form.
The weaving process of Telia Rumal and Pochampally is similar and as follows.
- The yarns are polished and bleached to remove impurities and make the fabric pristine and bright. They are then washed and rinsed in cold water and left to dry.
- The warps are stretched on a tying frame and motifs are drawn using charcoal powder. The areas of the fabric that must stay white are knotted, while the parts that must be coloured are uncovered and dipped in the dye solution. After the yarns are dyed, they are regrouped and spread out on a frame to ensure that the designs are correct.
- Fly-shuttle frame looms were traditionally used for this weaving process. The warp yarns are positioned and tensioned correctly on the warp beam while the weft yarns are filled in the bobbins. Each weft is carefully adjusted so that the exact design is reproduced on the fabric.
From patterns to palettes, the town and its ecosystem are a major source of inspiration whose essence is reflected in these yards of wonder. Crafts like these are a mirror to our past that give us a glimpse into our rich traditions and culture. Their appeal and significance have grown over the years and as custodians of this legacy, we must protect and promote them at all costs. The Pochampally saree collection at Sundari Silks is as diverse and exceptional as the craft itself and features beautiful motifs and patterns.