Mashru is one of the oldest Indian textile craft forms.  The word ‘Mashru’ is derived from Persian and its literal meaning is “permitted”. In Islamic culture, it is believed that silk should not be worn against the skin. However, Mashru allows the followers of Islam to drape themselves in silk since in Mashru fabric the silk is on the outer side of the fabric and the inside is mainly made of cotton.


Despite being simple, the Mashru fabric has its own distinct appeal. Owing to its popularity, today Mashru fabric is not only used in garments but also in a wide range of house furnishings. What makes this fabric so distinct and attractive is the fact that it has a cotton weft along with silk warp. Plus, traditional tie and dye yarns are used which eventually produce a bright striped pattern on the fabric and make the fabric look very appealing.

Since bright colours are mainly used in Mashru, so the spectrum of colours used includes mainly the shades of red, green and yellow.


As aforementioned, in the past silk was forbidden to be used for clothing (since silk is generated through the cocoons of an insect), so a unique form of fabric was developed, which we know of today as Mashru. When it was brought into existence it immediately gained popularity as for the first time it allowed the Islamic followers to flaunt silk clothes without violating the laws of their religion.  This is the reason Mashru is also one of the most exported items to Ottomen Empire and the Gulf.

It is believed that from 16th century onwards thicker and rather lavish fabrics were imported to India, which eventually served as the basis of the Mashru fabric.

Raw Materials Used

Traditionally, only two fabrics have been used to make Mashru- silk and cotton. However, with the advancement of years, silk was gradually replaced with filament rayon, which is a good substitute and far inexpensive too. Save for Patan, in Surat and Mandvi, mainly stable rayon and stable cotton- both of which being very inexpensive substitutes -are used for making Mashru fabric. Often, chemical as well as natural dyes are also used in the production of Mashru these days.

Tools Used

  • Yarn Winders
  • Shuttles
  • Puchado or small brushes
  • Shall or pit loom


Mashru fabric is made by using satin weave, by interlacing cotton and silk yarns together. In the making, silk is used for the vertical yarns or warp, and the cotton is used for the horizontal yarns, or weft. During the weaving, the silk yarn goes above five to eight cotton yarns and under one cotton yarn. This unique weaving pattern yields a fabric which gives the impression that it is made completely from silk, even though the underside of the fabric is made of cotton.

Here is the actual process boiled down to simplified points-

1) First, the warp is made by the Taniawalla, with its average length as 63 yards.

2) Silk threads are led on the floor.

3) Weft and warp is dyed. During this, the Rajbharra, usingwhitethreads fix the design into the loom heddle.

4) The warp threads are drawn into the loom’s heddles by connecting them with the ends of white threads.

5) Now begins the weaving as the weft yarn runs out of the wooden shuttle, motivated by pulling.

6) After completing weaving the fabric is washed with cold water, and then while it is still moist it is beaten for 10 minutes with wooden hammers.

7) Now a paste of wheat flour called glazing is applied on the folds of the fabric.

8) The fabric is again beaten with wooden hammers and compressed with hard press.

9) The fabric is now ready to be sold.


Mashru fabric was produced in various cities and towns of India. However, Samna in Patiala, and Fayzabad, Lucknow and Daryabad in Uttar Pradesh were very famous for wide range of Mashru fabrics. Other centres which used to be engaged high production of Mashru fabric include Tajore, Madurai and Trinchinopoly in Tamil Nadu, Varanasi and Aurangabad in northern India, Tatta in Sindh.

Currently, Surat, Mandvi, and Patan have become the main centres for Mashru production in India.

Photo Gallery

Related Image


Also Browse Following Under This Section

Related Topics

Culture In Gujarat

The state of Gujarat in India is known for its rich culture. The additional effect of modernization which led to vast....

Gharchola And Panetar

From Kashmir to Kanyakumari, one can see the diversity of India, from its culture, language to even the clothing style....


The Indian state of Gujarat is a blessed...


The Zari Industry of Surat has always be...