Gadwal, in the state of Telangana, is famous for its characteristic cotton saris that come with an attached silk border as well as a silk pallu (edge of the sari). This town, with an impressive heritage and history, which was the capital of a local province during the era of dynasties, occupies a place of pride among the renowned handloom traditions of India.
Mythology tells us that Gadwal weavers are the direct descendants of Jiveshwar Maharaj – the first weaver of Hindu gods and goddesses. The saris were originally popular as festive and religious wear, worn during pujas and other functions. The weavers of the sari were sent to Benares so that they could perfect the art of weaving. However, despite being perfected in Benares, the art takes zero influence from the state of Uttar Pradesh and relies instead on South Indian aesthetics.
The process starts with dyeing silk or cotton yarn by dipping the yarns in boiled, colored water at a very high temperature. After drying the yarn in the shade, it is then rolled over small sticks and finally converted to thread. The yarn is now loaded as warp onto the loom for the actual process of weaving.
These saris are woven traditionally according to the interlocked-weft technique (Kuppadam or Tippadam) or Kotakomma (also called as Kumbam) in terms of the border designs. Therefore, these are also known as Kotakomma or Kumbam saris.
Sticking to its inspiration from temples and nature, the motifs always take the shape of temples, and the architecture of religious places. However, with the globalization of the sari, one can now also find geometric shapes and checks on this nine-yard wonder. The most noteworthy feature remains the gold and silver zari work on the border of the sari, which is always made of silk.