Handmade textiles and sarees tell a new story in each of Madhya Pradesh’s quaint byways. We’ve compiled a list of the top five places to purchase authentic MP-made native weaves.
Maheshwari – Maheshwar
Maheshwar has been producing its elegant Maheshwariweave textile since the 5th century. Kautilya’s Arthashastra also refers to the weaving trade. Queen Ahilyabai Holkar of the Marathas was a huge fan of handloom weaving, so she invited artisans from Gujarat to create unique nauvari sarees and turbans for her court. The ladies of the Malwa royal palaces wore the sarees and were given to visitors as keepsakes.
Beautiful ruiphool (cotton flower), chameli (jasmine), Hans (swan), etc., adorn this Maheshwari saree, which is woven from a combination of Coimbatore cotton and Bangalore silk yarn. Tapkeer (a deep brown) and angoori (a bright pink) are two of the most common saree colors (grape green). The traditional Maheshwari saree is distinguished by its five-striped zari border and pallu, which can be worn in either direction.
Visit one of the several Maheshwari saree workshops to examine the production process. In addition to sarees, they sell shawls, stoles, and dupattas.
People currently regard chanderi as the finest craft, but it didn’t become popular overnight. Women of the royal houses of Baroda, Indore, Gwalior, and Nagpur once favored this fabric. Traditional Chanderi sarees were formerly a woman’s most valued property due to their exquisite gold zari border and lovely Gini (coin) buti (bud) designs.
Some weavers in Chanderi started dying their pastel-colored yarns a while back, but traditionally the sarees were exclusively woven in the natural off-white color.
Even though it’s made with a combination of cotton and silk yarn, the fabric has a distinctive sheen that sets it apart from traditional silk sarees. These days, sarees can be found in a rainbow of colors and feature designs based on natural elements, such as birds, flowers, and fruits. Today, this weave is so well-known that many fashion houses use it to make elaborate costumes.
Bagh Saree – Bagh
Bagh printing, done by the skilled people of the Madhya Pradesh town of Bagh, is distinguished by its use of colors derived from plants. Umar Khatri, a well-known Bagh craftsman, has said that the patterns used in Bagh textiles take their cues from the outdoors and cultural traditions. Common block patterns include the Genda (a flower similar to the marigold) and the nariyal Jaal (a design based on the Taj Mahal).
Bagh printing enhances the elegance of not just cotton but also silk, Maheshwari, chanderi, and chiffon. Lightweight and with a natural hand, Bagh printed cotton is a go-to summer fabric. Bagh patterned stoles, sarees, dupattas, bedsheets, curtains, cushion covers, and table runners are widely available in the market and perfectly capture the affluence and elegance of the region.
Batik – Ujjain
Bherugarh is a small town outside Ujjain famous as a center for Batik printing. Batiki is a traditional art form in which a piece of fabric is encased in hot wax. Next, the fabric is crushed to release the cooled wax from the drying process. Finally, the fabric is colored as a finishing touch, creating a distinctive cracked effect.
It is possible to see Batik being made on the streets of Bherugarhand Ujjain. Please get to know the skilled craftspeople who will gladly walk you through their old and new methods. WasimChippa, winner of a prestigious national prize, will explain how he modernizes the ancient craft of Indonesian Batik to make it more accessible and vibrant.
The craftsman claims that only three or four colors can be used in conventional Batik, while the artist can use as many as ten in Indonesian artwork. So bring back some beautiful batik sarees, suit fabrics, and even bedsheets to share with your loved ones.
Zari-Zardozi – Bhopal
Bhopal’s old craft of Zari-Zardozi is just as well-known as the city’s regal grandeur and illustrious past. It’s a delicate art form, enhanced by the silky smooth fabric and the intricate patterns and embellishments of zari thread and beads. It is well-known that the begums of Bhopal inspired the local craftsmen to make their stunning wares. The batuasof zar-zardozi was utilized as a personal storage space by the princesses.
Once an integral component of nawabi tradition, zari-zardozi is still practiced by many skilled craftspeople. Beautiful zari-zardozi dupatta, sarees, and lehangas can be found in the chowk bazaar in the old city market of Bhopal, which is still fairly famous among the residents. You may also get your items personalized by commissioning the artist to create unique works in various media.
Each of the locations above has a rich history evident in the handiwork of its natives, making it a prime shopping destination. You won’t want to leave Madhya Pradesh without picking up some of the local woven textiles and printed fabrics.