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The Extravagant And Royal Paithani Saree, The Pursuit of Refinement

A key tenet of Maharashtrian culture is the Paithani sarees. It is the Kanchipuram sarees to the South and is considered as the empress of sarees. It naturally follows that it is a necessity for all Maharashtrians on festive occasions, celebratory times, and marriages. Like gara embroidery, a Paithani design keeps no strands unattended. Brides always sigh with happiness since it is hermetically blocked and therefore doesn't interfere with ornaments. The ancient royal lineages of the historic town of Paithan, adjacent to Aurangabad, is where the Paithani sarees seems to have its beginning. The sarees, which carries the name of the place, is believed to have originally been manufactured in the outset using the richest Chinese silk threads and locally woven pristine zari. Every fabric of these sarees is characterized by the extravagant and liberal utilization of gold, in addition to flowery and bird-inspired motifs, which symbolize centuries of luxury and the finesse of Indian handloom. The zari is sourced from Surat, whereas the newer adaptations of the sarees from Paithan and Yeol are fashioned utilizing domestically sourced silk threads from Bangalore.

The glossy fabric enables for a pleasant mingling of hues that gently gives the illusion of vibrant colors. Parrots, peacocks, and lotuses include some of the traditional patterns; however, during the Peshwa period, the Hans pattern, the Ashraffi arrangement, and the Asawalli emblem were similarly well-liked. The Muniya, a species of bird with a whimsical red accent at the beak, is typically embroidered into the green margins of the pallu. Other motifs on the pallus include the customary Mor, a symmetrical floral motif that is usually outlined in red, the Barwa, which itself is mainly composed of twelve ladder-like threads and three strands on each side, and the peacock.

The Intricate designs of Paithani Sarees

Paithani evolved from possessing a cotton foundation to one that had a silk foundation over time. Cotton was employed for the fabric's body, whereas silk was employed for the weft designs and the margins. The Paithani saree is no longer in production with just about any cotton whatsoever. The greatest difference in regards to the design, aside from the sophistication of patterns and the reemergence of old, delicate ones, is that weavers have decided to switch from small borders to larger sizes, modifying the silhouette of the saree in order for it to now accommodate a wide range of patterns, such as those sourced from other regions, like the Tree of Life. The vibrant color palette of trendy Paithani even features statement pieces in chocolate brown golden zari weft featuring sunflowers. Navy blue with silver weft, pink roses, and purple warp with gold zari weft are also featured in the innovative color palette. The technique of weaving this textile seems to have been innovative.

This elegant textile is suitable for all official functions as well as family gatherings, corporate parties, social engagements, as well as other celebrations. It is perfect for these kinds of events due to its bold colors, which makes it the star of the show at any event and confer eternal grace and splendor on the owner. Oversized jewelry, including weighty necklaces paired alongside headpiece, kamarbandh, and chunky bangles, could assist you in achieving the Maharashtrian aesthetic. All of these ornaments can only be noteworthy when they are made of precious metals like gold and enhance the Paithani's innate charm.


Q1. Why are Paithani sarees so costly?

It is rendered even more pricey by the zari embellishments and the virgin silk.

Q2.  What is meant by a Semi-Paithani?

Semi-Paithanis are completely machine-made using a combination of silk as well as other threads.

Paithani saree, an unstitched length of textile produced at Paithan, an ancient centre of textile weaving with at least a two and a half millenniums long past, the Indian woman’s most characteristic wear and her universal distinction unsurpassed in grace and exoticism, sometimes revealing a sense of divinity, is one of the most distinguished classes of Indian sarees equaling in merit, beauty and lustre any of the Banarasi brocade, Patola, Ikat, Vichitrapuri, Kanjivaram, Chanderi or those crafted using exclusive yarns, Mysore, Munga or mulberry silks, or others. A small town some 55 kms south of Aurangabad in Maharashtra Paithan, now re-gaining its prestige that it had lost, especially under the European industrialization, was once one of the major industrial and trading centers on the main highway connecting Central India with coastal region of Gujarat, the seat of the main ports to trade with the Middle East and Europe.

Technical maturity in conceiving a saree's various parts : field, border and pallu – end-part, choice of material and dyes, as also motifs, style of patterning and a rare ethnic touch that various tribes, especially Banjara, associated with the industry now for long infused into it, impart to a Paithani saree its rare distinction. A Paithani saree uses three varieties of silk from ordinary less expensive raw Charkha softened using caustic wash to the expensive finely spun even, smooth and shiny silk with a high level of lustre, elasticity and a certain degree of toughness, as also the imported Chinese silk, besides the fine pure gold and gold-plated silver zari. Initially it was pure gold with a bit of copper blended for strength; now it is mostly gold-plated pure silver – an affordable metal. About 925 meters thread is obtained from 10 grams of metal which by itself speaks of the thread’s fineness.

More common motifs that a Paithani saree uses on pallu – end-part, and sometimes on border are Mor or Bangadi Mor – a peacock, or a peacock in a bangle or ring, pairs of parrots, or parrots-mynah, geese, pheasant bird, birds of other breeds, lotus, cotton-flower, flowing vines, clusters of three leaves, small motifs like circles, stars, coins and others. Abounding in the flavor of soil these motifs evolved over long past and speak for Paithan artisans’ love for the land, nature and its traditions. Located close to Ajanta Caves on the same trade route Paithan used many of the Buddhist motifs in designing its textiles while many figures in Ajanta murals are seen wearing Paithani designs. Now other design-motifs are also used, the border in a traditional Paithani saree was conceived with a course of oblique squares running across the whole length. Some sarees are classified by the motifs they use. A saree with Bangadi Mor motif is classified as Bangadi Mor saree, one with Munia – parrot, motif, as Munia saree, and one with a multi-coloured lotus motif, as Kamal saree.

Paithani sarees use a wide range of dyes from yellow, red, magenta, green – yellowish or olive, shades of blue – sky, peacock or ocean blue, purple, lavender, peach, or pearl to blends of two colors, such as violet and red, black and white, or black and red; however, as a rule in Paithani saree a dye is singly used, one for warp, and another, for weft, usually creating against light kaleidoscopic effect. Like a few of the motifs some classes of sarees are also identified from the dyes they use : Kalichandrakala is a black saree with red border, Raghu, one with parrot green, and Shirodak, pure white. A Paithani saree is a plain weave with weft thread used for figuring or patterning on simple tapestry technique. No extra weft is used in patterning. Colored silk or zari threads are interlocked with weft threads for discovering desired figure or form.

For border, wefts, which usually consist of zari, are separate threads interlocked with the weft threads for the field. Sometimes colored silk threads are added to border for laying the ground designs. Pallu is also crafted with added warp threads interlocked with main warps. Requiring greater skill in a Paithani saree pallu and borders are usually crafted by master weavers. Woven with two zari-threads together the zari weaving in a Paithani saree reveals a mirror’s look. With standard 160 ends and 170 pricks per inch even the silk weaving yields an exceptionally compact surface with mirror-like sheen. The entire exercise being tedious and time-taking and everything carried out by hand, a Paithani saree takes from 18 to 24 months to complete.



Two essential pieces of garments, that go alongwith the Saree, need to be chosen carefully to compliment the Saree. These are:

  • petticoat - which is a waist-to-floor garment, tied tightly at the waist by a drawstring. The petticoat color should match the base saree color as closely as possible. No part of the petticoat, of course, is visible outside the Saree, after having worn it.

  • blouse - which needs to be tight-fitting and whose color needs to be chosen keeping the look of the saree in mind, can be short sleeved or sleeveless, with a variety of necklines. The blouse ends just below the bust.


Start wearing the saree by tucking its plain/upper end into the petticoat, at a position which is a little bit to the right of the navel. Make sure that the lower end of the saree should be touching the floor, and that the whole length of the saree comes on the left-hand side. Now wrap the saree around yourself once, with the saree now coming back in the front, on your right side.


Make about 5 to 7 pleats of equal width of 5 inches, starting at the tucked-in end. Gather the pleats together, neatly, ensuring that the lower edge of the pleats are even and just off the ground and that the pleats fall straight and evenly. A safety pin may be used to stop the pleats from scattering.


Neatly tuck the pleats into the petticoat, at the waist, slightly to the left of the navel, in such a manner that they open to your left.


Drape the remaining fabric around yourself once more left to right, and bring it round your hips to the front, holding the top edge of the saree.


Slightly raise the remaining portion of the Saree on your back, bringing it up under the right arm and over the left shoulder so that the end of the Saree falls to about the level of your knees.

The end portion thus draped, from the left shoulder onwards, is called the Pallav or the Pallu, and can be prevented from slipping off teh shoulder, by fastening it at the shoulder to the blouse with a small safety pin.