The saree, India’s most prominent outfit, is worn by Indian women all over the world. These swaths of cloth, however, are more than just conventional costumes for the Indian women—and a few men—who have been enveloping themselves with silk, cotton, linen, and other fabrics for millennia. They’re national emblems, ambassadors for traditional (and cutting-edge) design and craftsmanship, and a prime representation of India’s 29 states’ vast diversity. People are exploring new fashion statements concerning this Indian clothing nowadays since it has made great inroads into fashion. The Khandua Silk saree, which is woven with the cultural importance of Lord Jagannath Temple, is one such saree created in Odisha. Khandua is a classic ‘bandha’ or Ikat saree that is also known as ‘Maniabandi’ or ‘Kataki.’ They were originally made in red, yellow, maroon, and cream.
These are handloom specialties from the eastern clusters of Odisha. An ikkat tie-dyed silk saree of Odisha, beautiful temple borders in small to elaborate variations are featured beautifully in each of these sarees. Traditionally popular as silken rich wedding trousseau and famously offered to the Lord Jagannath of Puri, the contemporary designs now come in plain saree bodies with minimal designs on the borders and the pallu. Khandua Pata/Silk Saree, the pride of Odisha is mainly woven in villages in Nuapatna and Maniabandha Blocks.
Malda Silk threads are used to weave the Khandua-Pata. Winding, warping, design, setup, drafting, denting, and weaving are all systems involved in the weaving process. Traditional charkha is used by the artisans to wind the yarn in the bobbin, which is usually done by women. To weave only one saree, the intricate process takes tens of hours. Weavers in Nuapatna tie-dye the weft, and the warp beam is usually a single color. Warp tie-dye is used on the border, whereas weft tie-dye is used on the anchal/pallu. Initially, the saree is made out of red, yellow, maroon, or cream colors. Elephant motives in ikat from Sambalpuri sarees and ikat from other parts of Orissa differ from elephant motivations in Khandua ikat from Nuapatna. Khandua features plain borders, as opposed to designs on the borders of Odisha’s other ikats.
CRAFT CLUSTERS DEVOTED TO THE TASK OF WEAVING
Khandua is the thread of Odisha’s single largest cluster, located in Nuapatna. The Khandua saree is woven on wooden looms in the ancient method of handprints weaving, and Nuapatna’s entire village is dedicated to this sort of weaving. There are roughly 5000 looms and close to 10,000 weavers present. Maniabandha, which is only 3 kilometres’ from Nuapatna, has a community of weavers and looms who contribute to the region’s total. Khandua production is synonymous with the two settlements.
As it’s often viewed as pious and sacred, the Khandua saree is considered a good omen among Odisha women and is worn during wedding rituals. This specific cloth has long been a favorite among the people of Odisha and has been weaved and worn by successive generations. However, in recent years, its popularity has waned among the current generation, and it is now on the verge of extinction. Thousands of weavers are leaving their jobs to pursue new opportunities. Weavers who continue to make the valuable Khandua textile are exploited and underpaid.