Handloom Sarees of Maharashtra and Goa

  • Read about the different type of handloom sarees of Maharashtra and Goa along with pictures.

The distinct mix of various cultures has shaped the people of Maharashtra into a land of prosperity and spirituality. Maharashtra was also the land of the great warriors who have left behind grandeur, high spirits and exuberance. All these features add to the rich culture and heritage to the Marathas.


Maharashtra has a wide range of textiles, of varied designs, that are manufactured using different techniques. The specialty in the weave in each region is developed based on location, climate and cultural influences. Primarily used fabrics like cotton and silk are best suited to the climate of Maharashtra. 


We present the different saree types of Maharashtra.


KHUN Saree

This is a silk-cotton blended saree with a traditional woven resham border. The saree typically has a cotton body and mostly art silk, or in some cases pure silk is used in the border and pallu. In a few variations, the weavers may include an art silk warp in the body as well. The folding pattern of the fabric into small squares has earned the name Khuna or Khun.


It is lightweight cotton or cotton-silk fabric, which has an intricate brocade pattern. The saree has small motifs all over the body, which gives an overall aesthetic appeal to the saree.


The journey of a 4000 old tradition has been recently revived by fashion experts, to bring back the same much-celebrated fabric into vogue. The fabric was worn by royalty and and is also offered to Gods. The workmanship is laborious. It a lot of dedication, patience, and passion to craft a perfect Khun saree.

Good read Or read Here Or Video shows different type of sarees



 Paithani Saree at shop in Paithan.

Paithani Saree at shop in Paithan.

Paithani is a variety of sari, named after the Paithan town in Aurangabad, Maharashtra State in India where the sarees are woven by hand. Made up of very fine silk fabric, it is considered one of the richest saris in India.

Even in today's advanced world the methods of weaving Paithani silk sarees have not changed from 200 B.C. The art is more than 2,000 years old, developed in Paithan (Pratishthan) capital of the legendary Satavahanas Ruler. Satavahana's ruler used to export cotton and silks to the Roman Empire in exchange for gold.


During the Mughal era Aurangzeb patronized the weavers and the designs were known as "Aurangzebi". He prohibited the weavers to weave 'Jamdanis ' except for his court. Peshwas were great patrons of Paithani.

Saree being made at training centre run by government at Paithan.

Industrial Revolution Impact

Sadly, the Paithani weaving industry experienced a huge setback with the Industrial Revolution and the advent of the British Rule. But during the 17th century, the Peshwas took it upon themselves to promote the craft and consequently, settled Paithani weavers in Yeola, which is now the manufacturing hub for Paithani Silk Sarees in India.


The Paithani Sarees & Fabric is socio-culturally related to Maharashtrian people due to its confluence with their culture. Until the 17th century, weaving activities were limited to Paithan town. Later weaving was transferred to Yeola (a village in Nashik district). The sale of Paithani saree started coming up in 1984-85 and the Yeola village became the main commercial center of Paithani weaving.


Despite the lustrous history of Paithani sarees, today they are in a similar state as many handloom sarees are made thanks to the power of looms.


However, no machine-made fabric can be compared with the hand-made Paithani sarees. Even today Maharashtra is the home of the most celebrated textile like the Paithani saree, gold-embroidered zari sari with its beautiful designs and woven borders.


U can see more sarees Here or Here

To see esamskriti album of sarees for sale in Paithani, Aurangabad and how they are made click Here



In earlier days, handloom weavers of village Andhalgaon, Mohadi and Palandur District Bhandara, part of Vidarbha region in Maharashtra produced cotton gamchha with 20s cotton yarn in warp and weft having two side Karvati border (Solid border).


Karvat in Marathi is the saw and since the designs look like saw tooth, the fabric is known as Karvati or Karvatkati. District Bhandara is a tasar cocoon producing area. Having plenty of raw material the weavers introduced tasar material in weaving of Tasar Karvati Saree.


Material Used

The tasar is wild natural silk obtained from a wide wing moth that is yellowish brown in colour. The tasar produced in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra is supposed to be best in quality and colour due to unique environmental conditions of this region. It is mostly tribals who are traditionally doing the job of protecting cocoons on trees in forests. The tasar yarn so obtained is used for production of sarees.


Technique applied

The Tasar Karvati Saree is woven with three shuttle weaving (tapestry type of weaving technique) to have solid colour border and body. The border is woven with mercerized cotton yarn and pure tasar hand reeled yarn.


The saree is woven on pit loom mounted with Nagpuri wooden lattice dobby on the top of the loom above the weaver’s seat. The uniqueness of the Tasar Karvati saree is that the border is woven with various temple designs in different sizes. The traditional motifs are woven with extra warp threads controlled by lattice dobby.


How to distinguish

1. Hand reeled tasar is used. Fabric appearance is not flat and uniform. There are uneven picks in irregular fashion.

2. Feel is harsh and the colour is darker beige

3. Saw tooth designs of various sizes are woven in the border of the saree in tapestry technique.


To see sarees click Here or Here



Saris at Aurangabad shop, Paithani Silk Weaving Centre.

Himroo is a fabric made of silk and cotton, which is grown locally in Aurangabad. Himroo was brought to Aurangabad during the reign of Mohammad Tughlaq, when he had relocated his capital from Delhi to Daulatabad near Aurangabad.


The word Himroo comes from Persian word “Hum–Ruh” which means “similar”. Himroo is a replication of Kinkhwab, which was woven with pure golden and silver threads in olden days, and meant for the royal families. However, some historians believe that Himroo was the innovation of local craftsmen with very little Persian influence.


Himroo uses

Persian designs, and is distinctive in appearance. Himroo from Aurangabad is in demand for its unique style and design.


Himroo is a type of extra-weft manufactured ordinarily from cotton and viscose rayon yarn on a cotton ground. It is also woven from silk yarn and gold thread on a silk ground giving it a satiny sheen. The design is decided at the outset since two kinds of threads are mixed. This handloom has historically been produced in Aurangabad. These fabrics denoted nobility and royalty in olden times.


To read blog on Himroo or see Himroo pure Cotton sarees



The saree is vibrant and rich in color. It’s light in weight and comfortable to wear.

The product is designed by artisans from Padmashali community. The community is originally a Telugu speaking artisans, engaged in weaving. They migrated to different surrounding regions like Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana, and Tamil Nadu.


Solapuri chaddar

A Solapuri chaddar is a cotton bed sheet made in Solapur city. These bed sheets are popular in India where they are manufactured using hand looms and are known for their design and durability. Solapuri chaddars were the first product in Maharashtra to obtain Geographical Indication (GI) status.


To see chaddar click here  Or here



Lovely, light and elegant is the soft cotton saree from Nagpur. These saris are woven on pit-looms mainly with pure cotton yarn. The special feature of the Nagpur saris are designs that are woven with the Nagpuri wooden dobby. The variety includes plain sarees with the characteristic borders or designs woven in stripes and checks with fly shuttles, complimenting the finely textured body with richly attractive borders.


These sarees are immensely famous for colourful stripes and vibrant prints with intricate embroidery on their thick borders. These handwoven sarees come in different vibrant colours, including brown, magenta, red, green, blue and many more. Redefine beauty with simplicity by wearing these handwoven artisanal sarees that reflect the hard work of the talented and hardworking expert craftsmen across the length and breadth of India.


Handwoven cotton clothing from Nagpur is widely famous for its lighter weight and elegant appearance, with the distinctive colours and patterns adding to its beauty. The traditional Nagpuri cotton sarees are manufactured in pure cotton yarn on pit-looms and Nagpuri wooden dobby. Credits



Puneri cotton is one of the most prominent weaves of Maharashtra and an emblematic cloth of Pune.


This textile owes much of its fame to the cotton and silk weaving industries that flourished throughout the state at the onset of the 19th century. It may be demure and virginal in appearance but boasts a long-standing history. It takes one back to the era of the spirited Marathas and Peshwas, Puneri cotton is a canvas of modest elegance.


Puneri cotton is predominantly used to weave saris, although its modern renditions see it being incorporated into salwars and kurtas too.


The weave is said to have travelled to Maharashtra from Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. During the heydays of the Peshwa Empire, the sari was mainly worn by women of the royal household, and on certain occasions, was delicately woven with silk.


The base fabric is crafted with 100% cotton, with the warp (where the yarn is placed in a longitudinal position) and weft (where the yarn is interlocked with the warp at a right angle, running back and forth alongside it) technique. The sari, which is otherwise quite austere, is accentuated by a zari (metallic-colored) border. It is particularly intriguing to chart the journey of this much-coveted hem. It speaks of immense cultural significance-characterised by dainty triangular motifs, the border stands as a testimony to the intricate temple architecture which was typical of ancient Pune.


The border comes with its own variants, such as Gomi, Nav Bharat, Jijamata and Rudraksh, each illustrating a design which is distinctly its own. This border is often created using the extra-warp technique. Considered supplementary to the body of the fabric, this technique includes insertion of the additional warp into the sari in a way that does not disrupt the primary weaving process. The sari is usually woven with a yarn count of 100s, and features a tok padar, a pallu woven with vertical lines.

Maharashtrian NAUVARI Saree

The history and origin of the saree are shrouded in mystery, but the archaeological sculptural references of earlier civilizations show the saree being draped like kacham or a dhoti by both genders.


The distinctive Maratha woman’s apparel is referred to as Nauvari, meaning nine yards. It is also called as the Kaashtha sari or Lugade. The name Kaashtha sari is because the style of draping the saree is similar to the way a Maharashtrian dhoti is worn.


The nine yards saree today is worn by ladies purely on ceremonial occasions. The style of draping this saree in the Deccan region varies from caste and community. For example, the style of draping by the Brahmin community is with the hind pleats tucked into the waist at the back-centre and pallu is thrown across the left shoulder. The tribal women wear it high up to their knees and the coastal fisherwomen drape it like a kacham which allows for easy movement.


One of the most interesting features of the Nauvari or the lugade is the indigenous design palette in weaving, which is untouched by Moghul motifs or techniques.


The distinguished painter of the 19th century, Raja Ravi Varma selected the nine- yards saree which portrayed the best dresses for the various goddess he was commissioned to paint. The historical figure of Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi or Jijabai, the Maratha queen provides us with visual images of how women adapted this garment into the garb of a warrior.


The variety of designs, drapes, fabrics and colours in sarees reveal a unique blending of religious and cultural influences of India. And the drape of the saree across the geographical diversity of India is a visual language in itself!


To see lovely bride designs Or read a good blog with pics Or How to wear a Nauvari Saree video 6 minutes


Textiles of Goa

Goa is a state on the southwestern coast of India within the region known as the Konkan, and geographically separated from the Deccan highlands by the Western Ghats. It is surrounded by Maharashtra to the north and Karnataka to the east and south, with the Arabian Sea forming its western coast. Goa is known for its beaches and heritage. This small state has given birth to craftsmen and artists from all spheres of life.



Goa as a state has such rich culture and diversity. One of the many offerings of this beautiful state is the Kunbi saree. A traditional handwoven cotton saree which is made by the Kunbi and Gawda tribes in Goa. The saree had almost vanished from the Goan cultural landscape till the time late designer Wendell Rodericks revived the traditional weaving techniques. Now, the Kunbi is coming into its own.


With a deep red palette and stripes and checks, the Kunbi is shorter than the regular sarees and is generally tied higher up too. The skirt is flared which allows women to work in the fields effortlessly. These days, the Kunbi has transitioned into the regular drape.


The colours evolved with time. There was maroon, blue, and green. An indigo blue was a regular sight at farms where women would spend the day. But red was the colour of the soil, of the land, of life.


What is so unique about Kunbi sarees?

Save Kunbi saris

To see sari designs


The purpose of this compilation is to document and promote. We have given credits and reference links in this compilation along with third party links (to promote). In case some are missed, it is not with malafide intent. Please email full details to esamskriti108@gmail.com and we shall effect the change. 

To see album of Paithani and Himroo Sarees in Paithan and Aurangabad 

To read all articles by author

To read all articles on Traditional Indian Textiles of India


Author Trishna Patnaik is a self-taught artist based in Mumbai, Trishna has been practising art for over 14 years. She is now a full-time professional painter pursuing her passion to create and explore to the fullest. She conducts painting workshops across India. She is also an art therapist and healer who works with clients on a one to one basis. Not to forget her quality writings on Indian Art and now Textiles for esamskriti. She fancies the art of creative writing.


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