Patola Sarees of Patan Gujarat

Chelaji re, mari hatu patan thi patola mongha lavjo, ema ruda re moraliya chitravjo (Oh dear, get me those expensive Patola saris with painted peacocks from Patan), goes a popular Gujarati song.

Leading ladies like Sonia Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi, Nita Ambani and Preeti Adani would relate to the lyrics better than many others.The client list also includes impressive names like cricketer Vijay Hazare,Mittals, Birlas, Sarabhais,Lalbhais, Mangaldas, Hutheesing and several rulers of pre-independent India like the Nizams.Patan, the erstwhile capital of the Gujarat state, is the last abode of dying 12th century art of making Patola saris, which have adorned women from wealthy families over centuries.A combination of these weft and warp can cost you a few lakhs — and a couple of years. Patan produces 25 to 30 such saris a year.These double ikat fabric is exclusive to Patan and can cost anything between Rs 1 lakh to Rs 10 lakh.

Historians believe the Patola makers originally hail from Jhalna near Aurangabad in South India and migrated to Patan in the 12th century. Kings of the Solanki dynasty used to wear this fabric on religious occasions. The kings of Jhalna never allowed fresh Patolas to be exported out of their state. This irked Kumarpal, a Solanki ruler, who invaded Jhalna and brought about 700 Salvi families.Today, there are just three families left. The future of this art remains in the hands of coming generations of the families.

Patan's Patola has been unparalleled and original handy craft in the world. Before invention of machines, with the help of wisdom and strength this craft was developed, which has special heritage of human culture. Patan's Patolu is a precious heritage worth preserving.

While in Preparing Patola colouring and design pattern are evolved on each thread. Different colour and pattern are matched exactly on horizontal and vertical threads in weaving. This is the secret of Patola. A set design evolved through colouring cross threads is known as "Double Ikat". In the system of "Double Ikat", Patola's place is at the top in whole of world because Patolu sari measures 5.5 metres long and 4.0 feet wide. Colouring and design pattern developed on both sides of the hand loom cloth is unique and not known to have made anywhere in the world except Patan. In Bali islands and Japan work on "Double Ikat" is done but not made on huge size of patolu sari cloth. That is why, people from all over world visit patan and appreciate this unique craft. In to-days' computer age, this kind of workmanship can not be developed on computer.It has to be made manually. Textile industry can not take up this work. Students from textile industry of Japan and U.S.A. have visited Patan to find out whether this craft can be taken up on machines. They have not been successful so far. A research trial was also taken by "ATIRA" through Calico Mill but in vain.

Meaning Of Patola:

Patola is one kind of silk cloth. The word Patola comes from “Patt”. From AD 700 “Patt” is used to de-scribe silk cloth. Mr. K.K. Shashtri, one of the greatest pandits of Gujaral, gives his opinion that Patola is deformed from sanskrity word 'Pattkalam'. Cloth imported form china in BD 4th is known as'Chinpat' and 'Chinankush'.Kalidas used 'Pariain' and 'Chinankush' words in his lyrics Malvikagnimitra and Shankuntal respectively. In Tamil and Malayalam language the word 'patt' is used for silk cloth. Upon a time 'chinapatt' is very Popular in Patan. Thus, at first site we can say that the handy-craft of Patola is likely thousand year old craft.

Main Trait Of Patola:

Before Waving cloth different color process is done and take all design on thread of warp. The same process done on weft. This color process is much accurate that the needed combination is matched when waving is done. This is the main trait of Ptola.

The process of doing color separately to war and weft is called as Double lkat in English.In the system of Double lkat patan’s patola’s comes at the lop in the whole world because patola sari measured 5.5 meters long and 48 inch wide Coloring and design pattern developed on both sides of handloom cloth is unique and not known to have made anywhere in the world except patan.

Another main feature of ‘Patola’ is, in the whole work of waving patola, measurement tap used is different than conventional tap. It is a tap, can measure 100th part of an inch ,which is not possible with common measurement tap. With invention of computers, ifs possible to measure such measurement, but the tap used for calculations of measurement in patola is used thousand years before invention of computers.


It is believed that craftsmen of Salvi families originally hail from South India. Around the year 1175 A. D. King Kumarpal was on Patan throne after Sidhdhraj Jaisingh. Kumarpal was following Jain religion. He was using new Patola everyday for worshiping. Patola being made from pure silk was accepted by Jainism. The Patolu used as dress by king Kumarpal was imported from South India and was not considered holy for king of Jalna was exporting Patola after using them.

In time of Kumarpal there are 700 families in Patan making Ptola. After that there was continuous decrees in number of craftsmen. After 2nd world war the art of patola all most dying. At presents two families try hard to preserve such an old art. ‘Art of patola’ is alive since 800-900 years after in patan seeing lots of ups down.

For this reason Kumarpal defeated the King of Jalna and 700 Salvi craftsmen were brought to Patan so that he can use fresh and holy Patola daily for worshiping Kumarpal converted these Salvi families to Shwetamber from Digamber Jainism.

Because of high cost, demand for Patola was receding day by day. After Second World War, there were only 10-16 looms. After the "Second world war", the weaving work of patola was almost totally dead, but with the sincere and hard efforts of Grandmother of Vijaybhai Merchant and Sheth shree Vallabhadas Jethabhai Kapadia, the handicraft of weaving Patola is revived. Owing to their inspiration today two or three families are preserving the art of patola with a labourious task because they felt that the living " Art of -Patola" must not be stopped. So the craft-work of 800-900 Years old is alive in Patan after seeing a lot of ups and down.

Patola, the traditional Gujarati textile now on the verge of extinction, is considered one of the great legacies of Gujarat to South-East Asia over many centuries.

In the 14th century, a deposed Indonesian ruler fled to the interior with bundles of cloth imported from Gujarat to distribute to the people to gain their loyalty. Silk and cotton patola were regarded as sacred objects that serve as conduits for communication with ancestors.Gujarati cloth was valued above all treasures. It was considered a magic cloth, which protected from evil forces, bad health and death. Initially, Gujarat textiles, rather than precious metals, were the vital ‘currency’.   It has been mentioned in contemporary Chinese, Middle-Eastern and Western historical accounts that imported Gujarati textiles induced Spice Island populations to supply foreign traders with local spices, sandalwood and other forest produce.Patolas were gifted to daughters and daughters-inlaw during weddings in wealthy families as a sign of good omen and social status. Produced in Patan, Ahmedabad,Cambay and Surat, this double-ikat silk cloth became the epitome of elegance, artistry and blem of royal heritage for South-East Asia.   Ancient patolas are still preserved as heirlooms and worn even today on ceremonial and religious occasions. By 19th century, silk patolas came to be associated with protective elements. In Malaysia, warriors were given patola sashes when they went to battle. Soldiers of the Thai court wore patola jackets featuring monsters to ward off enemies. In Malay weddings, patola was displayed on silver trays and called ‘kaintelepuk’. In Sumatra, they were hung to enrich wedding venues.

Main Design

Patola mainly used in traditional designs, is running from many many years, Besides patola sari, Handkerchief, Table Cloth ,Dupatta, & Wall piece, Lace etc are prepared. In preparation chemical & natural colors are used depending on customer’s choice. Patan’s patola made only by order and delivered direct to a costumer, that’s why patan’s patola are not available at any store or show room. Patola are called "Reshmi Chir" by Nagar Brahmin and Vora Communities. Among the main designs, popular ones are Narikunjar, Ratanchawk, Navaratna, Voragaji, Chhabdi Bhat, Chokhta Bhat, Chanda Bhat, Pan Bhat, Phul Bhat, Laheriya Bhat, Tarliya Bhat, Zumar Bhat, Sankal Bhat, Diamond Bhat, Star Bhat, Butta Bhat, Sarvariya Bhat etc. Besides Patola sari, Hand-ker-chief, Table-cloth, Lace etc. are also prepared from Patola cloth.

Colours Used in Patola :

In those days when chemical colours were not invented, colours were made from different plants. Among these natural colours, Wax, Indigo, Pomegranate bark, Katho, Majith, Kapilo, Alum, Kirmaj, Harsingar, Bojgar, Iron rust, Logware, Turmerik etc. Nowadays, Chemical dyes and colours are in great use. However, those who insist for natural colours Patolas are made to order for customer's satisfaction.
Patola Saree also available in Vegetable colours & Cosmetic colours.

Proverb :

In Patola, colours are developed on Tana and Vana and those colours are very fast, there is a saying in Gujarat! :
Means-' The design laid down in patola shall never fade even if cloth may be torn.' To art-used than its cost. One sari under normal use lasts for 80-100 years. Also, as it gets older its cost increase inspite of decreasing. Therefore, it is considered as an ornament and priceless dignity
The design laid down in Patola shall never fade even if cloth may be torn.


Hard skilled labour and long time taken for making Patola, make it bit costlier. Cost is depending on design pattern. One sari under normal use lasts for 80-100 years. It is, therefore, considered as an ornament and a priceless dignity.
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