Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Facts about traditional Ilkal Sarees and its online sale

Ilkal sarees, originating from the town of the same name in Bagalkot District in Karnataka, is a special type of saree that has a cotton body and silk border and pallu.
The traditional ilkal sarees are a combination of cotton warp in the body and the beautiful silk borders with silk pallus. The silk used in the borders and the pallus are usually art silk, however, in many cases, pure silk is also used to weave them.

The weaving of the traditional ilkal sarees dates back to the 8th century AD and the growth of this art is majorly attributed to the local artisans of Bellary. It is believed that the strong availability of the raw materials locally contributed towards the growth of this type of saree and the art behind weaving them.

The procedure followed for yarn dying for a traditional ilkal saree is interesting. The cotton warp and the weft are dyed in a reddish black hue. As mentioned above, the procedure is carried indoors in a cool dark area. The yarn is initially dyed in an indigo hue for which sajimitti, collected from the river banks and chuna or limestone are added in the water. 

Similar to the many other types of sarees, the process of weaving an Ilkal saree is unique and different. In order to weave Ilkal sarees, the production house will require about 2000 weavers, craftsmen and dyers. The technique of weaving an Ilkal saree is known as Tope Teni. The weavers join the body of the saree with the pallu warp using a loop technique. Another technique, Kondi is used for weft through insertion of 3 shuttles. The pallu of the saree are weaved to make one portion of red and two portions of white.

Traditional Ilkal Sarees of Karnataka

The sarees are usually six to nine yards long, that also contributes towards making the sarees beautiful. The Ilkal sarees have a red body with a white border which makes the combination appear unique. The process begins with dying the yarns in different colours, following by weaving the saree and then embroidering the body parts, borders and the pallu to give it a unique look. The production is mainly an indoor activity and are actively managed by female members in most cases. The weaving of one Ilkal sarees in one handloom would require a minimum of seven days to churn out a finished product. Many of the production houses also use power looms these days, to meet the increasing demand to buy the traditional ilkal sarees, online and from the stores as well.

Traditional ilkal sarees are known for the variety of embroidery, known as Kasuti, on its body. The Kasuti designs are basically patterns using elephants, palanquins, lotus, etc. that are beautifully stitched on an ilkal saree. The pallu of the saree usually have patterns of temples and towers, and are made in a traditional red and white combination. Apart from the temple designs, many of the traditional ilkal sarees have kotikammli, rampa, hanige and toputenne in the pallu.
The body of the saree may be squares, stripes and rectangles as the base design with the borders having gaadi, paraspet and gomi designs.

Indian women follow a tradition of buying sarees that are historically significant and adds value to the traditional wear collection. Keeping this fact into consideration, many online retailers are now selling traditional ilkal sarees by buying them directly from the weavers and artisans or the production houses. Marketing and branding the traditional ilkal sarees have contributed towards making this local type of saree popular amongst the masses, thus resulting in an excellent growth in the sale.

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