Patola Silk

The term ‘Patola’ is coined from the Sanskrit work ‘Pattakula’, meaning a silk fabric. Patan is the most famous centre for weaving Patolas in North Gujarat. Both warp as well as weft threads are dyed into a complicated pattern making a complex and priced fabric which is extensively worn by ladies in Gujarat during social and religious ceremonies. Ajanta Frescos has the historical evidence of Patola and then in the wall paintings of the Mattancheri and Padmabhapurum palaces dated 17th and 18th century. A very famous saying in Gujrati mentions, “PADI PATOLA BHAT FATEY PAN FITE NAHI”, which means the design on patola will never vanish though it may be worn out. The tie and die yarn itself before the weave requires intensive research and voyage within the mind of the weaver as each pattern is a pearl in its own. Its image is of a fine silk hand woven textile, involving love and labour. The making of patola is a creative process engraved in the mind of the weaver as tie and dye work is undertaken both on the warp and the weft threads. Used mainly in manufacturing silk sarees, Patola is vibrant apparel cherished by the women of Gujarat.


The designs are based on a traditional motif called’ Bhat’ and there are different designs included. Chhabdi bhat is in a basket pattern and was largely used by Brahmins residing in Surat. Also this design is generally exported to Indonesia. Fulvali Bhat is a flower pattern. This has affinities with the motif known as ber jail, berries and trellis pattern. Pan Bhaat comes in a pattern of a pepal leaf and is highly stylish. As the name suggests, Akhrot Bhaat is a walnut motif and is similar to dada bhar and ball motif. The most expensive design is Nari Kunjar bhar which is of a women and an elephant. Also the Wagh bar hathi bhat is an interesting design consisting of tigers and 12 elephants. Maharas bhat which depicts women dancing with sticks in their hands is also very famous amongst the buyers. Vahora cheer bhat is a geometric pattern worn by Mohra Muslims at weddings and auspicious occasions. Motifs of Patola are Indian and traditional with stylized flowers, foliage, creepers, animals, human figures and many geometrical designs.

Patola Silk Sarees

Patola silk sarees are very famous amongst women due to the beautiful motifs and the excellent look of the silk fabric. This cloth enhances the beauty of any women owning to its distinct colors, designs and the richness of the cloth. They are renowned for the colourful style and geometric designs and motifs. The soft fabric is not block printed but is weaved and tied which results in identical prints on both sides of the cloth. The saris are hand woven making the procedure not only costly but also time consuming. This style fits every occasion and adds to the style. These sarees are also appreciated for their light weight and unique designs and are the idea attire for those who love to wear this piece of outfit.

Traditional Trivia

Patola was the prime element of export to Southeast Asia and Dutch Indies. It was a ritualistic and royal symbol in the Malaysian archipelago and it was called Mengikat there and a little shortened by Indonesians to Ikat and became internationally accepted for this form. The origin of this fabric can be found back in Gujarats Solanki royal family who invited the expert weavers from Jalna, now a part of Maharashtra to settle in Patan and explore their full potential. The creative in the Patola incorporated Gujarati touch and design variations. Geometrical designs were borrowed heavily in this art. The history created by this design in silk has made an item worth the cost and wait as each sari is an individual work of art which takes around three to six months to complete.  

Interesting Facts

  • A pure Patola saree costs no less than Rs. 1.5 lakhs
  • Patola finds its earliest mentions in the religious text of Ramayana
  • The earliest Patola fabrics were manufactured by the Salvi family

Community Involved

Salvi community is involved in creating this wondrous textile

Raw Materials Used

  • Silk yarns
  • Natural dyes

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