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Paithani Saree is a type of silk saree that is hand woven and is traditionally a favourite amongst the women of Maharashtra. This saree is named after a town in Aurangabad, Maharashtra called Paithan and is one of the most expensive silk sarees in the country. The origin of this saree dates back to as early as 2000 BC, where it finds mention during the Satvahana Era. It has been mentioned in the Rig Veda. During those times the Paithani Saree was woven with gold and silver thread and was considered a beautifully curated piece of art. The weave was loved by Madhavrao Peshwa and also caught the eye of the daughter of the Nizam of Hyderabad. It is believed among historians that the finest of the Paithani silk sarees, which were woven with gold and silver thread, were used as a coveted item for barter in Greece (instead of Gold) – between 200 and 400 B.C.
A Paithani Silk Saree is a must-have for all connoisseurs of sarees. It has its unique charm and grace with its illustrative borders and ethnic designs. These grand saris are associated with aristocracy. In certain custom-made orders, a Paithani Saree is woven with gems, precious stones and even pearls to make the saree look more royal. The borders have a slanting and square pattern with mixed, rainbow colour ing, owing to the cross of two or three shades of thread, while weaving.
Weaving a saree is a tedious and lengthy process and when a Paithani is made it is nothing short of laborious, as it may take upto nine months to weave a ‘real’ Paithani Saree. The price of the saree reflects the hard work and workmanship that is put into to produce this grand creation. Naturally, these are extremely expensive – an aspect that reduces their popularity among masses.
To cater to this bit, Paithanis are now made in a variety of cheaper alternatives with cotton and wild silk yarns and also through imitation processes – where these drapes are mill made. However, these are rarely anywhere close to the real thing.
Originally, the heritage skilled weavers are supposed to be knowledgeable about the material, threads and color dyes – and not just the weaving process. This results in an all-round effect, which is nothing short of spectacular. When this creative genius and skill – passed on by generations – is replaced by mass production methods – the resulting product is not as great.
An original Indian Paithani can be fetched at anywhere between ten thousand to as high as a lakh rupees or even more. Cotton blend Paithani Sarees are, therefore, more popular among middle-class Indian ladies, since they are economically viable. A Paithani Saree forms an important part of the wedding trousseau for the Maharashtrian bride. Green is considered an auspicious colour among Maharashtrians and a green colour Paithani is a favourite , while blue, red and white are also quite popular.
The heritage saree has also been popular among Bollywood’s A-list swish set. Actresses like Kajal Agarwal, Kajol and even the evergreen beauty Dimple Kapadia wore Paithani Sarees at their wedding. Genelia D’Souza also wore a Paithani Saree designed by Neeta Lulla, on her wedding day.
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