Uppada-Kothapalli, twin villages in Andhra Pradesh’s East Godavari district are home to the Uppada Jamdani Khadi, or the Andhra Uppada sari. It is a handloom sari, woven with hand-spun cotton yarn.
Andhra Jamdani is one of the most time and labor-intensive weaving traditions, woven with tapestry-like patterns of paisleys, flowers, leaves, creepers and geometric designs.
It traces the story of the Bengal Jamdani (a Persian term, Jam means flower and Dani means vase), which was brought to the south and recreated with a local fragrance. From stunning whites and beiges in Khadi or cotton, slim, raw-silk temple borders, flamboyant, gold-patterned silken ones in neon green, vermilion red and shocking purple, this is design cornucopia.
In the 1980s, the Ikat and the Banarasi saris became the more popular weaves and Uppada, like most other handloom weaves, lost its charm. A new design vocabulary, a modernized color palette, balance between delicate patterns and zari and the naturally light drape have made the Uppada a modern treasure again.
The area has around 3,000 looms. Weavers earn 10,000 - 25,000 per family depending on the number of saris they can weave in a month. Forty percent of all Uppada weavers are women, but in most households every family member (including adolescents and younger children) spins and weaves.