Shatipedia – The Sari Encyclopedia

Gadwal Sarees-


Gadwal Silk and Cotton Sarees

Gadwal which is in Telangana state of India is famous for its Gadwal silk sarees, Gadwal cotton sarees and the new revolutionary Gadwal Sico sarees which is a mix of silk and cotton blending into a sari giving the wearer the luster of silk and the comfort of cotton. Often lightweight and effortless in draping on, Gadwal sarees are renowned for admirable zari patterns and well-crafted Kuttu borders and pallus. Kuttu which means stich in the local language is an incredible art of joining in the pure silk border and pallu of the sari through weaving, after the sari has been woven. Most of the weavers in Gadwal speak Marathi and belong to the Hindu community. Infact according to the Hindu mythology, they are identified as the descendants of Jeeveshwar Maharaj – weaver of Hindu Devi-Devtas. Its remarkable trait of getting folded down to the size of a matchbox and the other distinct qualities make Gadwal and Gadwal sarees legendary to India.

History of Gadwal:

It was once ruled by a local ruler called Somashekar Ananda Reddy, fondly called Somanadri. Gadwal was developed around a fort built by the Gadwal ruler Somanadri. Gadwal was protected by Mallichetti vamshiyulu a local caste. Sri Nagi Reddy who was fondly known as Nagappa was an Angarashak (Commander) of Gadwal when Raja Somanadri was a minor. He died in a war with fanatic sultans. Then Sri Narsappa succeeded his father Nagappa as Angarashak.

There is a temple named Sri Jamla Devi Temple, which is considered a divine place by many local residents. There will be special pooja’s during Poornima.


See the untold history of Gadwal Fort, used in Actress Anushka’s period movie Arundhati, and its rulers. Interestingly, the Gadwal Samsthanam, a vassal of Nizam, was also ruled by queens.


The process of weaving a Gadwal Saree:

Each and every thread of the gadwal saree is hand woven. All the process involved in weaving a saree is carried out manually, no machine is used in any of the steps. Each weaver works from home with all his/her family helping in different steps of the process. Their life revolves around weaving. It requires approximately 4-8 days (depending on the variety of saree) of continuous efforts from two persons for weaving a saree on a handloom machine.
The core materials used for manufacturing the saree are Silk/Cotton and Jari.

The major steps involved in manufacturing a saree are:

The process of manufacturing a Gadwal Saree starts with dyeing the silk / cotton yarn.  Dyeing is the coloring process by dipping the yarn in the boiled color water in very high temperature, higher the temperature durability of colour is also higher. Dyeing of the yarn is done making sure that the color is done uniformly throughout the yarn and it doesn’t affect the quality of the yarn. The coloring process is a very crucial step in getting a good saree. The colours are applied as per the specifications of the designers and also some times as per the orders from customers who orders for a designer Saree. After coloring the silk yarn is dried in shade. Drying yarn in sun can be harmful to yarn.

After the silk yarn is dried, it is rolled over small sticks. After dyeing and drying the yarn it is converted to thread and is loaded as warp and then it is loaded into the loom for actual weaving. Gadwal Sarees are traditionally woven in the interlocked-weft technique (called Kuppadam or Tippadam locally) and often with Kota komma (also called Kumbam) in the borders and they are known as a Kota komma or Kumbam saree.


The design required on the saree is initially drawn in a computer and then this is punched into a card and then these cards are loaded in Jacard in the loom. The needles in the Jacard will control the weft being weaved, thus producing the design in the fabric.


Watch a Gadwal saree being woven:


Plight of Weavers in Gadwal:

Younger generation not interested in weaving

“Today this profession is looked down upon. Added to that is the fact that the income generated is not too great.” – A. Daulapa weaver

The Gadwal sari may be a dying art. The industry has traditionally been family-based with children following their parents into the business for generations. But the younger generation of today is reluctant to continue the tradition.

“Today this profession is looked down upon. Added to that is the fact that the income generated is not too great,” says Mr A. Daulappa, a weaver in his late 40’s who has two sons and a daughter. One son has finished school and assists his father in weaving saris, but he has definite plans to quit once he finds a good job.

“I will continue to stay here with my parents but cannot take up weaving as a profession,” says young Krishnaiah, Mr Daulappa’s son. Today, there are easier work opportunities: driving an auto rickshaw, being a waiter at a hotel, tailoring, being a watchman or going into real estate. These have caught the fancy of the youth, who prefer them to the huge physical strain involved in hand-weaving.

Also the great traditional skill is not given the respect it deserves. Local people say that no family wants to give their daughter in marriage to a weaver.

“Even a farmer enjoys more respect than we do in society,” says Mr Sathya narayan, a weaver.

source: Deccan Chronicle, Hyderabad 20 Oct 2009



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About Shatika

Since the dawn of civilization, handlooms have been associated with excellence in India’s artistry in textiles and fabrics, and sari which is considered to be the most ancient piece of clothing has been inspiring generations of artists and craftsmen to weave their dreams and visions into creating exquisite handloom sarees. However with passage of time, just like the clacking sounds of the looms, the dreams and visions of these weaves too are fading away.In an attempt to bring handloom sarees back in vogue, Shatika has begun a revolution; a six yard sari revolution is a humble attempt at bringing back the lost love for handloom sarees. Dedicated to creating a unique interpretation of the age old craft, we travel to all colourful corners of the country visiting weavers,guiding them on the latest trends so they weave out the age old tradition with a modern touch and bring them online so you can savor the delights of hand picking them from the comfort of your homes.