In the 11th century, a battle was fought for a woven textile. King Kumarapala of Solanki Dynasty used to offer daily prayers adorned in Patola fabric. This fabric was bought from Jalna, Maharashtra. However, the king of Jalna was known to send used Patola fabric to other kingdoms. When King Kumarapala became aware of this mallicious practice, he waged a war on the king of Jalna and won. His triumph led to the migration of 700 Patola weaver families from Jalna to Patan.

Patola was never affordable for common man and was valued for its purity. This was because the material used was silk and the weavers were of high caste. They were thus a status symbol, worn by royals. Woven in Patan, Surat and other centres, these textiles were woven meticulously by the Salvi community. Earlier natural dyes like indigo, turmeric, kesudo, pomegranate skin, henna, marigold flower, etc. were used for dyeing.

Each community had their own set of preferred patterns. Some popular motifs are paan bhat (pipal leaf design), chhabad (basket), kunjar bhat (parrot design), narikunjar bhat (girl and parrot design), papat kunjar bhat (elephant and parrot design), ratan chok bhat (jewel square design). The use of this textile was not restricted to India. It was exported to Indonesia and over the decades, this textile has become a part of their tradition and culture.



The design is made on the graph paper where each line represents a yarn.


Silk is sourced and on the basis of design created on graph paper, the yarns to be produced in same design are bundled together.


Then, each bundle of yarn is tied with cotton thread.


The yarns are dyed in a color.


Then they are tied and dyed multiple times till all the different colors are achieved at the required areas.


One set of dyed hank of yarn is transferred to pirn. This pirn will be placed in the shuttle to be used as weft.


The other set of yarns is used to set the loom as warp.


The weaving is done on a slanted loom to allow more light to fall with atleast two people working simultaneously. The interlacement of warp and weft in plain weave create the reversible double ikat Patola.


Design is set using specific tools like a pointed metal rod. It takes around 10 days to produce a single ikat saree, while a double ikat saree takes anywhere from 5 months to a year or more depending on the intricacy of the design.