Paithani sarees are known around the world as poems of hand-woven silk, using very fine silk they are known as one of the richest sarees in Maharashtra. The art of Paithani weaving began in Maharashtra over two thousand years ago, these sarees have been treasured ever since, usually becoming heirlooms, passing down from generation to generation.
The designs on the pallu (loose end of a saree) of a Paithani are not only beautiful, they are also symbolic. Paithani motifs include peacocks (beauty), parrots (fertility), lotus flowers (purity), coconuts (offerings) and mangoes (prosperity). These designs were taken from the carvings seen in the sacred Ajanta caves (a series of Buddhist temples carved from rock dating back to 200B.C., a must see when visiting Maharashtra). Each saree takes anywhere from two months to two years to create.
It took a while to choose my bridal saree but when I saw it, I knew it was the one (just like I felt when I first saw my husband, tee hee). It’s purple, my favourite colour, with twin peacocks on the pallu and a unique daisy design. I love how it shines, how it feels and how it makes me feel when I wear it.
I hope to pass my Paithani down to the next generations, just as women in India have done for thousands of years. A Paithani is not just a length of silk, it’s a work of art, a labour of love and it’s a piece of Indian history. My Paithani has become a piece of my history.
Have you got a special item of clothing with sentimental value which you want to pass to the next generation?