The complexity of creating the Patola fabric contributes to its exquisite nature. Woven in a double ‘Ikat’ weave, with the yarn threads pre-dyed for the desired pattern, one Patola fabric takes about a year to complete. This does not stop the patterns from being intricately elaborate. Patola is exclusively produced from Patan in Gujarat.

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      Initially Patola was the restricted as an attire worn only by royalty. It later developed into being woven into a sari, with lengths of 5 to 9 yards by 45″ to 54″ width. Patola is considered highly auspicious and when draped during important occasions is said to bring good luck and ward off evil spirits.For this reason it is also kept in houses, usually framed, as a protective talisman.
      Along with this traditional usage, Patola fabric has come to being used in contemporary attire and to make products like scarves, bed spreads etc.


      The tie and dye work takes place on the yarn itself, before it is woven together. This means that the design exists solely in the craftsmen’s mind until it emerges on the woven fabric. The designs are thus fascinatingly pre-determined on both and warp and weft yarns (double Ikat), which requires a high level of creativity, premeditation, concentration and skill.
      Patola has traditionally been considered auspicious among certain Gujarati communities such as the Nagar Brahmins, Jains, Vohra Muslims and Kutchi Bhatias. During weddings, the couple’s family often adorns this fabric as a sign of prosperity, religious feeling and traditional way of life. It is a garment portraying prestige and is even exchanged as bridal gifts. It is also believed to be a lucky charm. This aspect makes the bridegroom drape it around his shoulder or on the horse which he rides on during the wedding procession. The Patola fabric is also safely passed on as heirlooms across generations. When draped during the Simanta or Agharni ceremonies, which happen during the 7th month of pregnancy, Patola is believed to have the power of blessings, ward off evil and protect the wearer from misfortune.In Tenganan, on the island of Bali, fragments of Patola are considered magical and used in healing ceremonies along with locally woven Geringsing (also a double ikat textile).
      This fabric was one of the main items of export to Indonesia and Malaysia. Patola’s fame and reverence spread and it came to be a symbol of power and authority. They even attributed protective, curative and magical powers to this fascinating fabric. It was prominently used as a marker of their social status and economic standing.

      Patola is highly lauded in Gujarati literature and folklore, from the 17th century poem ‘Kunwarbai nu Mameru’ to recent popular songs such as Chelaji Re. ‘Padi Patole bhaat, phate pan fitey nahin’ is a Gujarati saying which means ‘the design in a Patola may tear, but it shall never fade’.

      Myths & Legends:

      As recorded in religious epics like Ramayana and Narshinha Puran, the Patola fabric was used in crucial ceremonies. Raja Janak (1) had presented Patola to Sitaji and during the period of Krishna, Narsinha Mehta (2) gifted a Patola saree to Kunvarbai.

      The great Moroccan traveller from Tangier ‘Ibn Batuta’ (3) used to get Patola fabric from Patan and gift it to the king of the kingdoms he visited. This is how the fabric became very famous in south-east Asia and it was exported to Indonesia and Malaysian kingdoms.

      In Gujarat literature the earliest mention of patolas appears around the eleventh century. Patolas are also frequently mentioned in the Kunvar-bai-nu-Mameru of Narasimha Mehta, a fifteenth century court poet, by Premchand, a seventeenth century poet, and several others


      The technique of Ikat weaving is one of the oldest textile decoration techniques in the world. The process consists of resist dyeing (normally by tie-dye) the warps and/or wefts before weaving. Though it has been practised in African, South American and Asian countries for centuries, the craft of ‘double ikat’ originated through the Patolas of Patan. To this day, it remains the best example of this skill.
      The seeds Patola weaving were sown in Patan during the rule of King Kumarpal of the Solanki dynasty (1) around the 12th century AD. The king was a follower of Jainism.He would visit the Jain temples without fail to worship and would wear a new robe or ‘Patolu’ every time. One day, the temple priest barred Kumarpal from entering the temple by saying that his clothes were ‘impure’. An inquiry into this led to the finding that the king of Jalna was exporting the fabric after first using them as bedspreads. Deeply offended, Kumarpal fought and defeated the ruler of Jalna and brought 700 Salvi craftsmen to Patan so that he could be assured of procuring unsullied fabrics. They settled in Patan and over time brought innovations to the fabric. Changes were made to the existing loom to accommodate two weavers. It also incorporated Gujarati sensibilities and designs from the surroundings of Patan.
      The oldest evidence reflecting on the history of Patola is the frescoes at Ajanta and in Kerala wall paintings (2) of Mattancheri and Padmanabhaupurum palaces (17th centiery AD)


      The patterns in the Patola fabric are inspired from nature and the local architecture. The carved stone panels of the 11th century (1) Rani ki Vav (Queens stepped well) in Patan have lent their designs to the elaborate fabric.
      Patola patterns are very uniquely pixel like and geometric.The elephant (kunjar), flower (phul), girl (nari) and parrot (popat) (2) designs are very common in Patola saris worn by Gujarati women and the elephant and tiger motifs are considered particularly auspicious. The Pan Bhaat (Leaf Design) is one of the most frequent patterns. It is a motif indigenous to India and can be traced back as far as the pottery of the Indus Valley culture.
      The popular and most used patterns are are Narikunjar, Ratanchawk, Navaratna, Voragaji, Chhabdi Bhat, Chokhta Bhat, Chanda Bhat, Pan Bhat, Phul Bhat, Laheriya Bhat, Tarliya Bhat, Zumar Bhat, Sankal Bhat, Diamond Bhat, Star Bhat, Butta Bhat, Sarvariya Bhat etc.
      Different patterns and motifs of the Patola have different significances in different communities. For example, Vohra Gaji Bhaat is a favourite motif among the Vohra community, who are Ismaeli Shi’ite Muslims whereas the Jains prefer abstract and geometric motifs.


      Patola is a craft which is both time,labour and skill intensive. Largely, the masses have started to look for faster alternatives. This has led to the arrival of cheaper, single Ikat imitations, thereby tainting the delicate craft of Patola. The cheaper versions have also brought about replacement of natural dyes with the chemical ones and less detailed motifs.
      Merely four families in Patan still carry about this weaving. They are the last embers of the craftsmen who have surpassed the ongoing threats like high investment of time and money, low returns, and lack of interest for continuing the craft among the younger generations. Patola weaving now solely depends on a few patrons who understand the efforts and precision required to create the beautiful fabric.

      Introduction Process:

      The characteristic feature of Patola is its usage of the ‘Double Ikat’ weave. In this method, the threads of both the warp and weft are tie-dyed prior to the weaving. With great precision, these are brought together on the loom and woven into the intricate patterns.

      Raw Materials:

      Vegetable dyes are being used in recent times to revive the long-lasting quality of Patola. The usage of chemical dyes also exist parallely.The reintroduced  vegetable dye materials are: turmeric, marigold flower, onion skin, pomegranate rinds, madder, lac, catechu, cochineal, indigo along with different mordant like alum, tin chloride, ferrous sulphate, copper sulphate, tannic acid, oxalic acid, potassium dichromate etc.
      Cotton threads are used in the tie-dyeing process. Silk is used to form the main body of the fabric.


      Tools & Tech:

      The loom used is characteristic to Patola weaving and is a hand operated harness loom made out of rosewood and bamboo strips. The loom lies at a slant, with the left side being lower than the right side. Two weavers work on the loom at the same time. A bamboo shuttle is used to move through the warps. The rosewood sword shaped stick called ‘Vi‘, which is used for adjusting the yarns, is also found only with the Patola loom.


      It is a common belief that a Patola saree brings luck and prosperity, hence the saree is often passed on as an heirloom and also worn during the baby shower ceremony.


      The characteristic feature of Patola is its usage of the ‘Double Ikat’ weave. In this method, the threads of both the warp and weft are tie-dyed prior to the weaving. With great precision, these are brought together on the loom and woven into the intricate patterns.

      In Patola, the designs are worked out first. Accordingly, cotton threads are tied on the threads of the yarn. This is to avoid the dye from penetrating to the areas where the patterns have to appear. The resist tie-dyeing is repeated according to the desired colours and levels of dye penetration. The tying is done on both the warp and the weft depending on the imagined patterns which have to emerge when woven together. The tying of yarns deals with measurements as small as 1/100th of an inch. This is merely the beginning of the process which demands high levels of precision.
      After the dyeing is done, the yarns are carefully arranged. Any change or displacement even in a single thread can lead to disrupting the entire weave. Laying out the warp and resolving any issues of broken threads is the work of the master craftsman as it requires intense dexterity, experience and expertise.
      Once the threads are fixed on the handloom, the weavers get to work. The rosewood stick called ‘Vi’ is periodically used to adjust the yarns and to remove the tension of the warp threads. The loom accommodates two weavers who work in harmony to be able to weave at least 8 to 9 inches of fabric in a day. On the whole, the entire fabric takes from 6 months to a year to complete.

      Cluster Name: Patan-Patan


      A bazaar with its rustic charm, all grown up Havelis narrating folklores and the fabrics which are synonymous to treasure; Patan, a medieval town never ceases to inspire you and sends your cautions to whereever you came from.
      district Patan-Patan
      state Gujarat
      langs Gujarati, Hindi, English
      best-time August-March
      stay-at Many options available
      reach Nearest airport is Ahmedabad. Patan Railway station is on the Ahmedabad - Bhildi railway line. Navjeevan Express, Garibrath Express are some of the important trains. State Transport buses Private buses connects it to various cities by Road.
      local Buses, Taxis, Auto-Rickshaws and Tempo-rickshaws.
      food local Gujarati cuisine


      Patan was one of the largest cities in the medieval times. Located at the banks of River Saraswati, it was a fortified city founded by King Vanraj Chavda of the Chavda kingdom in 745 AD. It remained his capital till 1411 A D. Patan was ruled by three major Rajput clans - the Chavdas (746-942AD), the Solankis (942-1244 AD) and the Vaghelas (1244-1304AD). Patan was earlier called Anhil - Vad - Pattan. It was believed to be named after the shepherd Anhil. In Sanskrit, Patan is also referred to as Anahilpatak, Anahipattan, Anhilpur, Anahilvad Pattan, Pattan etc. Muhammed Ghori was brutally defeated by the boy ruler Mularaja II led by his heroic mother Naikadevi of Patan. The city was subsequently siezed by the Sultan of Delhi Qutub-ud-din- Aibak between 1200 and 1210. It was destroyed by Allauddin Khilji in 1298. The present town of Patan developed beside the ruins of the old. It was part of the Maratha state in the mid 18th century up till the Indian Independence in 1947. Later in 1960 when the division of states happened, Patan fell into the Gujarat territory. Patola was said to have flourished under the patronage of King Kumarpal of the Solanki dynasty. He had fought and defeated the ruler of Jalna and brought 700 Salvi craftsmen to Patan.It is believed that some weavers also came from Karnataka in addition to those that came from Maharashtra. At a later date, Kumarpal converted the Salvi families into Shwetamber Jains. The Solanki rule is considered as the golden age; prosperity peaked during the reign of King Kumarpal. Patan became the centre of Patola weaving during his reign (1143-1173 AD). The Salvis are still the clan which carry the craft on their shoulders even now. Unfortunately only four families have stood past the trials and tribulations of this time intensive craft.


      Patan (23.83°N 72.12°E ) lies at an average elevation of 76 metres and can be reached by bus, train or taxi from the nearby cities namely Ahmedabad, Chansama and Unjha. Alternatively, Patan is 70 miles northeast of Jaipur,on the Kotputli Sikar road, off the National Highway 8, the road which connects Jaipur and Delhi.



      Patan is a bustling city with schools, colleges, banks, railways, hospitals and other necessities. It is easily accessible by most modes of transport and is fast developing. Patan district enjoys uninterrupted 24 hr power supply due to the presence of many Power Sub Stations. Patan serves as a central market place for local farmers. Patan is also well sustained in terms of educational provisions. The district houses some of the renowned technical engineering and law colleges in Patan. The B. M. Shah High School and Junior College are one of the oldest schools here. The prestigious Hemchandracharya North Gujarat University, previously known as North Gujarat University, is situated in Patan. Patan is a prominent medical centre in the North Gujarat with almost 200 practicing medical professionals. Patan has 32 primary health centers, 115 primary health sub centers and 4 children care centers. The major small scale industries in the district are the vegetable oil and vanaspathi, paper and pulp and food processing industries.


      Patan's narrow streets are laced by elaborate age-old wooden houses and brimming with more than a hundred Jain temples. The largest of the Jain temple is Panchasara Parasvanath. The Old Fort near Kalka, the outskirts of the new city is of great historical and archeological importance. It is one of the only remnants of the Old City. Patan is also specked with crumbling walls of the new fort and its Darwajas(gates). One of the thriving examples of excellent subterranean architecture in Gujarat is the Rani ki Vav, with elaborately sculpted levels and steps that lead down to the water level. The surfaces of the well and levels are adorned with fine sculptures of Hindu deities, religious motifs and geometrical patterns. The lower most level has 37 niches with carvings of the deity Ganesha in the centre and images of the Sheshashayi Vishnu on the upper level. The ruins and monuments in the city speak of its erstwhile flourish in architectural splendour. A new city is fast mushrooming around these remnants. It has catered to the needs of modern living and now consists of buildings made of brick and concrete.


      Patan is resplendent with numerous Jain and Hindu temples. These grand structures are standing proof of the reverence and tradition that existed in olden times. The religions and beliefs are still followed with much respect. Patan has also kept with the times while keeping its history intact. It has nourished its educational culture and has become a thriving centre for medicine too.


      Patan has a population of 206 people per 52 km. Twenty percent of the population belongs to the urban sector (as of 2001).Patan has a sex ratio of 935 females for every 1000 males. It has a literacy rate of 73.47%. Literacy rate for girls starts declining after their primary education. As for secondary education, they are required to travel far away from their homes.

      Famous For:

      Architecture: Patan is well known for its Rani ka Vav. It is a richly sculptured stepped well of the Chalukya period. It is also known as the Rani Uday Mati Vav and is amongst the larger step wells in Gujarat. This stepped well has about 800 sculptures made of stone. It was built in 11 AD in the memory of Bhimdeva I, the Rani's husband. Lake Sahasralinga also adds to Patan's fame, it is a large pentagon shaped lake spreading over more than 16 hectares, built by the ruler of Chalukyas Siddharaja Jaisingh. It lies in the north-west of Patan, beside the Saraswati River. Patan also houses one of the main Krishna temples in Gujarat called the Shamlalji temple. The name means 'the dark one' and was so named after Lord Krishna's dark complexion. Amongst the many hundred Jain temples in Patan, the one dedicated to Panchasara Parasvanath is the largest. The intricate stone carvings and pristine marble floors deeply characterise Jain architecture. Fabric: Patola is a sophisticated fabric woven exclusively in Patan, it invloves characteristic double ikat technique and known for durability and vibrance. Mashru is another gem in the world of oriental fabrics, woven with silk and cotton, the structure is such that its the cotton which touches the skin while silk indulges in captivating viewers as it is the layer seen by others.


      List of craftsmen.

      Documentation by:

      Team Gaatha

      Process Reference:

      Cluster Reference:

      (Date-06.05.2013) (Date-06.04.2013) (Date-06.04.2013) (Date-02.15.2013),_Gujarat (Date-02.15.2013)

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