Handloom Sarees from Odisha

  • Read about the different type of handloom sarees of Odisha, their uniqueness-price range and see pics.

Orissa or Odisha is a state located in the east of India, known for its rich and varied culture. This region has produced many beautiful textiles and gorgeous handicrafts which are today admired the world over for their complicated execution and delicate finish.


Orissa sarees are made using all these beautiful textiles and techniques and are consequently some of the most pretty and unique sarees in India. They are greatly influenced by the Jagannath (Hindu deity worshipped in Orissa) culture and frequently display temple borders, spiritual designs and the traditional colours of Jagannath.


Heritage of handloom in Odisha

An Odisha saree can be of many types, depending on the region it is produced in, the fabric used, the weave of the fabric, the designs on the fabric and the pallu. Orissa handloom sarees are amongst the finest in the land since handloom is one of the largest industries in Orissa, not to mention one of the most ancient.


1. Bomkai or Sonepuri saree

The handloom artisans here have inherited centuries of knowledge regarding exquisite weaves and designs and subsequently handloom sarees of Orissa are amongst the most desirable sarees in the world. Bomkai sari also known as Sonepuri saree is a handloom drape marked for intricate weaves and patterns.


Another feature of Orissa or Odisha sarees is the use of exquisite embroidery and artistic designs, often done on very fine fabrics. The two most popular fabrics used are silk and cotton. Orissa silk sarees are known for their fine and lustrous beauty and are frequently worn for special occasions and ceremonies, while Orissa cotton sarees, though just as colorful and beautiful, are preferred for more informal occasions because of the high amount of comfort they offer.


Uniqueness: The most charming part is its thread work in the designs of the border and the pallu. The appearance of the saree is related to simplicity and has a tribal tinge in it. The sari is normally dyed to attain the red, black and white background colours.


Price range: Rs 5000 to Rs 30,000/


2. Single Ikat

Single ikat involves dyeing just the warp or weft threads while in double ikat, both threads are carefully dyed such that when they come together, they create a harmonious and beautiful design. Like with all Odisha sarees, silk is the most popular fabric for ikat sarees though cotton may also be used.


Many of the regional variations employ the ikat technique in combination with other crafts to make gorgeous sarees. The Bomkai sarees of Odisha, for instance, combine the ikat weave with intricate embroidery. The weave and the embroidery are woven into each other throughout the fabric, while the borders and pallus often come in bright contrasting colors with intricate thread work. The embroidered pallus have very aesthetically pleasing designs inspired by tribal art and often feature natural motifs.


Uniqueness: The unique characteristic of Ikat fabric is the blurriness of the designs. This blurriness is a result of the extremely difficult method followed while weaving, as the weaver lines up the dyed yarns exclusively so that the design patterns are attained in the most perfect manner on the completed textile. This blurriness can be reduced either by the skills of craftsperson or by using the finest yarns. As Ikats are most difficult to create with little blurriness, complicated

Patterns using multiple colours, therefore they are more expensive. 


Price Range: 5,000 to 30,000/


3. Double ikat weave

The ikat or double ikat weave is the most famous handicraft of Orissa. This ancient weave has travelled all over the world, with many other regions having their own versions. However, the ikat fabrics produced in Odisha are completely unique, with a fine weave and artistic designs. The ikat technique essentially involves resist dyeing the threads to create beautiful patterns, before weaving is done.


Uniqueness: The uniqueness of Double ikat weave lies is the smoothness and neatness with which it can get the design onto the fabric.


Price range:  Rs 30,000 to Rs 1,00,000/


4. Bandhkala or Baandha

Bandhkala or Baandha sarees are dyed using the tie and dye method unique to Odisha. They are very different from Bandhej sarees of Gujarat and Rajasthan and often come in the traditional colours associated with lord Jagannath: red, white, black and yellow.


They have a subtle shimmer as they are interwoven with gold or silver threads. The artistic dyed designs have a unique three-dimensional beauty. The Sambalpuri baandha sarees are one of the most stunning Orissa handloom silk sarees, and come with many symbolic and spiritual motifs on the pallu.


Uniqueness: The highpoint of these sarees is traditional craftsmanship of the `Bandhakala`, reflected in their intricate weaves.

1. This was the all-time favourite and highest selling traditional Odisha Handloom silk saree.

2. As an Orissa special saree, the speciality of this saree is its geometric design in the body and touch of traditional culture in the form of different motifs like Shankha (Shell), Chakra (Wheel), phulla (flower), animals with deep symbolism.
3. The broad border of silk thread work, motif works and completely traditional aanchal or pallu are the beautiful features of the saree.
4. The uniqueness of this saree is that it's having a traditional border in the middle which makes the saree look awesome.


Price range: Rs 3000 to Rs 20000/


5. Berhampuri Paata

Berhampuri Saree or Berhampuri Patta is a GI product from the Silk City of India, Berhampur in Orissa.  Its unique feature is that it comes with a matching ‘joda’ for men. The 200-year old conventional Odisha weaving style is incorporated in its making. The temple or kumbha design falls into two categories; phoda or badhi. The zari borders are surely eye-catching.


The saree also adorns the three Murtis of the Jagannath temple. They are worn at weddings and auspicious occasions. It is famous for its temple-shaped designs along the border and pallu portion. This paata has another distinction: it is draped around Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, and Devi Subhadra in Puri Jagannath temple.


Of late the weavers are complaining about its bleak future owing to low wages, shortage of raw material and non-availability of subsidy in power tariff.

Uniqueness: The Berhampuri silk saree is unique due to its typical Odissi style of weaving and kumbha, particularly phoda, temple type design. The zari work border design is different from others. The weaving technique is said to have originated over 200 years ago. The sarees do adorn the deities of JagannathBalabhadra and Subhadra at the Jagannath temple in Puri.


Price Range: 3,000 to 30,000/


6. Khandua Paata

Khandua Sarees (Maniabandi or Kataki), dedicated to Lord Jagannath of Puri Dham, one of the sacred places of India, dates back to the 12th century. In Odia ‘Khandua’ refers to the cloth worn in the lower half of the body. Manufactured in Nuapatna of Cuttack district, a Khandua is rightly termed as ‘Pride of Orissa’. 


It is a traditional hand-woven saree woven on wooden looms using pure tussar yarns. It is also popular for its ikat or bandha. It is commonly worn by women during wedding. Kenduli Khandua of 12 feet and 2 Kani (1 kani = length of one’s hand) is engraved with stanzas and illustrations from Gita Govind. It is offered to Jagannath as Khandua.


Uniqueness: The traditional colours include orange, red and sunset yellow. The borders and pallu are generally seen in black, blue and red colors. The colors are extracted from Sal tree. The designs seen on the sarees are auspicious elephants, large many petaled flowers, a deula kumbha, and a unique Orissan animal Nabagunjara.


It is lightweight, barely 300 gms and with a comfortable fabric. One type of the Khandua is the Navakothi which has all the nine main motifs of – flowers, animals, leaves, peacocks, beetel leaves and vessels.  Khandua Paata is noted for the texts of Gita Govinda etched on it. Traditionally red or orange in colour, these colours are procured naturally from sal trees. This fabric too, is a registered GI (Geographical Indication) and originated in Cuttack and Maniabandha.


Price Range: Rs 5000 to 25,000/


7. Kotpad

Kotpad Sarees are vegetable-dyed fabric weaved by the tribal Mirgan community of Kotpad village in the Koraput district of Orissa. Out of the several Orissa sarees, these received the first GI mark. These are usually cotton sarees with solid borders and pata anchal. The ingredients for the rich textures are aul (madder) tree roots, tussar silk, and cotton yarns. Even though they have limited shades of color (black and maroon being the most common), they are eco-friendly, pleasant and shining.


They are also comfortable to wear during summers and winters. The motifs developed by the extra weft are axe, crab, bow, fish, temple, fan, conch and boat, reflect the culture of the sea. The sarees have befitting elaborate borders and designs depending on the occasion.


Uniqueness: Kotpad Handloom is a vegetable-dyed fabric woven by the tribal weavers of the Mirgan community of Kotpad village in Koraput district, Odisha, India. These beautiful organic cotton sarees are adorned with intricate tribal art motifs. Kotpad sarees blend excellent colours and soft fabric, which give a heavenly feeling to the skin of the wearer, besides making her look absolutely stunning. Sarees and shawls are the most important and attractive textile products from the Kotpad weaving community. The textiles are very comfortable to wear during summer and winter.


Price Range: Rs 3000 to 20,000/


8. Habaspuri

Habaspuri Saree is a GI marked tribal handloom product from Orissa. The kondha weavers from Chicheguda, Kalahandi district are attributed to the weaving of this exquisite piece. It has taken its name from the Habaspur village where it was originally woven during the 19th century.


The making of a Habaspuri is a time-consuming and painstaking process. The traditional patterns in Kumbha style are etched out on the saree. It is basically a cotton saree. The weavers are trying hard to restore the dying art of this saree in the best possible ways.


Uniqueness: The Kondha weavers of ChichegudaKalahandi district, Odisha are originally attributed for weaving of the Habaspuri fabric. For its uniqueness in weaving, design and production, it has been identified as one of the 14 Geographical Indications of Odisha. The textile has traditional patterns of the region like kumbha (temple), fish and flowers.


Price Range: 4500 to 11,000/


9. Saktapar/Pasapali

Pasapali or Saktapar Sarees are one variant of the Sambalpuri sarees of Orissa. They are mainly weaved in the Bargarh district. ’Pasapali’ comes from the word ‘pasa’ meaning chess or gambling games using a chessboard. Hence, they have detailed chequered patterns of different variety and color combinations.


They are identified by the double ikat weave in the pattern of a chessboard and brocaded borders. Their unique symmetry makes them stand out in ethnic Indian fashion wear for women. Tussar, silk, pure organic cotton and their varied combinations serve as the base material for the fabric.


Pure silk threads are then woven to enhance its glossy appearance. The anchal or the pallu has motifs like conch, flowers, animals, birds, temple, wheel and landscape.

Uniqueness: Check Patterns and a Medley of Motifs


Known for their exquisite pallus, these hand-woven drapes are tastefully styled with white and black/red squares and varied motifs. The yarn is first tied and dyed with natural colours and then hand woven with rich depictions of shell, flowers, wheels, landscapes and geometric patterns. While the use of golden threads lends a hint of shimmer, the baandha or tie and dye is performed in a manner that ensures the motifs appear same on both sides of the saree.


Arty Evening Wear: Intricate craftsmanship and weaving techniques make these drapes perfect for a beautiful evening wear.


Price Range: Rs 5000 to Rs 25,000/


10. Dongria

Dongria Sarees are inspired by Dongria or the tribal art form of Orissa. They are woven the Dongria Kondh tribe of the Munda ethnic group, located in the Niyamgiri Hills from the districts of Rayagada and Kalahandi. They are handwoven pure soft cotton fabric. Natural products like dyes and cotton yarns make them eco-friendly.


They are rare and unique. They are generally thick weaves with bright and vibrant color play and geometric and simple designs. Today to catch up with changing times there are prints and modern textures and designs.


Uniqueness: Dongria silk saree is different & unique from other handlooms. Red, green, orange & yellow colours are inspired truly from mother earth are beautifully woven into distinct geometric patterns. As this fabric is eco-friendly so all nature lovers grab it to your wardrobe to speak the language of beauty, sincerity & boldness. The exquisite & unique piece of saree woven by Dongria Kandh of Kalahandi & Rayagada district in the state of Odisha. These sarees are made out of rare textiles like course organic cotton. This ethnic piece gives you protection from the cold.


Price range: Rs 2500 to Rs 15,000/


11. Gamucha (Special Mention)

Gamchha is a traditional Indian towel made up of thin coarse cotton fabric. Although it is normally used for drying one’s body after bathing, gamcha serves other purposes also. It forms an important item of men’s clothing, especially of those belonging to the lower sections of the Indian society. For instance, one often sees those doing physical work  like coolies, construction workers and farmers, carrying a gamcha on their shoulders.


Farmers keep the gamchha on their shoulders to wipe away the sweat while toiling in the scorching sun, the whole day long. Sometimes, they also spread it out on the ground like a mat and take a nap on it. In ancient India, travellers used the gamocha to carry food in it while journeying. It also forms one of the essential items offered to Indian deities during religious ceremonies.


Price range: Rs 150- Rs 500/



Styling the heritage Odisha sarees

One of the best things about the ethnic fashion revival in India and its subsequent international popularity is that many of the lost or dying arts of India received a much wider customer base. Orissa sarees have also benefited from this new focus and many of the gorgeous Orissa handloom silk sarees are spotted at red carpets and on fashion runways.


Today, they come in a much wider range of colours and designs so as to appeal to a wider customer base. There are so many different varieties of Orissa sarees that women can easily dress up in them for formal, informal or office events.


The Orissa silk saree woven with subtle but attractive Ikat designs is the perfect outfit for a daytime soiree for which formal dressing is required. Though light and fine-looking, they can be accessorized with appropriate jewellery like gold necklaces and silk clutches to add the formal touch.


For daily wear, women can opt for Orissa sarees with price tags that won’t burn a hole in the pocket, such as simple Baandha cotton sarees. An Orissa cotton saree embroidered with spiritual designs is also a comfortable and attractive option for ceremonies and festivals where traditional dressing is required. They can be accessorized with off-beat Indian jewellery like wooden bangles and terracotta necklaces to emphasize on the ethnic element.


Best Places to buy Odissi Sarees (eSamskriti is not responsible or liable for what you buy from any of these sites). 












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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.

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.


Also see pictures of

1.Sualkuchi Saris Assam

2. Paitani Sarees Maharashtra

3. Crafts Odisha.

4. Maheshwari Sarees, M.P.

5. Bhujodi Weaving Kutch 

6. Textiles and Handlooms Manipur

7. Women Textiles Cooperative Tripura 

8. SADHANA Udaipur 

9. Chanderi Saris - their rich history 


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