Paithani Sarees Aurangabad

By Sanjeev Nayyar | 2018

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1. This album has 3 parts. First are saris at Madanlal Dalkari shop at Paithan called Poonam Paithani (1 to 8). Second is visit to training centre of MSSIDC Paithan (9-18) to see how paithani sari is made. Third is visit to Paithani Silk Weaving Centre, a shop in Town Centre, Aurangabad where again we show you saris. Sari at Madanlal shop. Peacock features lot in Paithani saris.

2. This is the loom in Madanlal shop. He said they weave themselves – all family members are involved. The art of weaving Paithani flourished in 200 B.C. during Satvahana era. Making a real paithani sari is hand woven in pure silk and silver. Intricate designs on the pallu and the borders is speciality of paithani saris.

3. Weaving is time consuming because a weaver can weave only one inch per day. Sketch of design is kept below the warp & each colour thread is weaved by hand as we shall see later. Pallu peacocks, parrots & other design look like painting on silk. We can know a real Paithani by looking at back of pallu, it looks same as the front side.

4. The Paithani has a special dhoop chav (light & shade) effect ie achieved by weaving 2 different coloured silk threads together. The ornamental Zari Border & the exquisite Pallav is adorned by Buttis (little designs), like Tara (Star), More (Peacock), Popat (Parrot), Kuyri (Mango), Rul Phool (Flower), Paisa (Coin), Pankha (Fan), Kalas Pakli (Petal), Kamal (Lotus), Chandrakar (Moon), Narli (Coconut) etc.

5. The original Paithani was nine yards of pure silk & spun gold called the ‘Navvari Paithani’. No Maharashtrian wedding is complete without the Paithani sari and Shela. Paithan is about 65 kms from Aurangabad.

6. Madanlal grand-father came from Jalna to Paithan & started. Today their family has 16 members (ladies included). All involved in sari making. In 1981-82 Madanlal was employed in a paper mill. His father met former Prime Minister Mrs Gandhi who said teach your children. Job was unexciting so Madanlal in 1985 joined his father & put his first loom.

7. Paithani saris are also made at Avla about 100 kms from Aurangabad. Was told it has become an important centre of production and sale too. At this shop saree price starts from Rs 13,000/ when we visited in June 2018. Contact Madanlal Dhalkari 098222 89190, 02431 223028. Another recommended seller is Shashikala Bhonsle 91 92262 81773. A third is Mathurabai Langote 91 96071 13149.

8. Madanlal’s father Shri Prabhakar Dhalkari receiving award from then President Shankar Dayal Sharma. The sari for which he got the President’s award took 2 years to make and cost Rs 2 lakhs then. This paithani is called ‘Bangadi Mora’.

9. We now come to the training centre. The Peshwas were the last munificent patrons of the Paithani. Men wore Paithani stole (Angavastra) over their dhoti kurta while women wore the saris at weddings, festivals & religious ceremonies. Nilofer, the daughter-in-law of the late Nizam of Hyderabad was a great patron the Paithani.

10. MSSIDC have 2 huge halls, the training centre is what you see, another is where trained ladies make for sale. Paithan is about 65 kms from Aurangabad. It as earlier known as ‘Pratisthan’, was a famous international trade centre for Silk & Ari.

11. Each colour thread is woven by hand – requires concentration and effort. See different colour threads used. Trainees get a stipend of Rs 1700/ per month. Training cost borne by government. Usually there are 2 batches at a time of 30 each. Training period is 6 months.

12. What design to make - sketch of design is kept below the warp, note the white paper. In olden days vegetable dyes were used to create traditional colours as Neeligunji (Blue), Pasila (Red & Green), Gujri (Black & White), Mirani (Black & Red), Motiya (Pink) etc. The zari was drawn from pure gold. Silver is the affordable substitute today.

13. Just loved the design. Ladies do not come very regularly because of commitments – the centre has a crèche so lots of ladies come with children. The Zari comes from Surat, the silk from Surat and Bangalore.

14. Gives you a sense of how a lady uses each threat to make the design. The few ladies I spoke to were very happy to have learnt a skill & contribute to family income. The more dynamic amongst them take up job work from big shops in Aurangabad.

15. This hall is when fully trained ladies make saris for sale. Saris sold at a minimum price of Rs 22,000/ with all cost borne by MMSIDC. Sari type could be silk, zari and half-zari. As on date of visit 63 women worked in the production centre.

16. Here the payment mechanism is different – a lady is paid a fixed rate for making a sari Rs 8,228/ in June 2018. The faster she finishes the more money she makes. There is also a government scheme where women are given looms free of cost.

17. Child playing with cell phone whilst mother works. A lot of ladies I spoke to are happy because it has helped improve their standard of living. The more enterprising ones have a loom at home too and do job work for others. I said how do they manage with home responsibilities – a lady said hubby is to see more family income and does not complain.

18. Vertical view of loom. We believe that the art will survive if people buy saris. That is why eSamskriti is presenting these pictures. Manager of Marhati Paithani Centre in June 2018 was N.R. Joganand 91 94046 55746. Nos of their Delhi Emporium are 011 23363888, Mumbai 022 22153938 and Paithan 02431 223093.

19. My friend in Aurangabad took me to one of his favourite shops, Paithani Silk Weaving Centre, in Aurangabad. Shop keeps Paithani sarees, Ajanta Paintings and whole range of handicrafts and ethnic textiles. eSamskriti has not received any fees for showcasing their work.

20. They have Paithani sarees at different price points (R 8000-Rs lakh), you see some of them. Captions are from published material of MSSIDC and this shop.

21. Loved this one. Their address is 54, P-1, Town Centre (Lokmat Nagar), Opp M.G.M. Medical College, CIDCO, Aurangabad. Phone 91 240 2482811, 2472811 and mail

22. Some more. They also sell HIMROO, also a traditional weaving style of Aurangabad. Himroo weavers were brought by M Bin Tughlaq when he shifted his capital from Delhi to Daulatabad. Whereas Paithani weaving is done by taking out each different silk & silver thread, in Himroo design is set in bunch of strings which pulls thread in the warp.

23. Himroo design.

24. Two looms in the shop. This one I think is Punch Card so design fed into punch card from paper which allow repetitive printing. Shop is owned by Ramesh K. Their site

25. Do visit Ajanata, Ellora and Aurangabad – lots to see and shop.

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