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Maheshwari - The Exotic Weaves of Maheshwar

On the pristine banks of River Narmada and around 80kms from one of India’s cleanest cities Indore lies a small town called Maheshwar, known across the Indian subcontinent for its rich heritage of art and culture. It has been mentioned in epics like the Mahabharata and Matsya Puran by the name Mahishmati. It is said that King Mahishman, who belonged to the Hyhay Dynasty, founded it. The fort of Maheshwar was built during the rule of Mughal emperor Akbar. It reached its cultural zenith during the rule of the Holkar queen Devi Ahilya Bai (1767-95) who declared Maheshwar as her capital.

Maheshwar, after becoming the capital of Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar’s state, witnessed many development efforts by the state. This included the construction of new temples, ghats, and other structures. Devi Ahilya Bai also invited weavers from various princely states like Hyderabad, Mandav, and many more to settle in Maheshwar.

She supported these enterprises by purchasing a lot of their products for herself as well as for gifting to visiting dignitaries, a move that took the reputation of Maheshwari handloom to distant parts of India. The weavers were asked to follow the designs inscribed on the walls of the fort. Even today these designs can be found on the borders of Maheshwari saris.

Thus, the handloom operations adopted since are being followed till date, including the use of only the naturally occurring fibers.

Now saris weren’t something new, as it dates back to the times of Indus Valley Civilizations, going as back as 2000-3000 B.C. There are many references to the sari in the premier works of Sanskrit literature. The Rig Veda.. which goes way back, tells about the golden bright sari and perhaps about brocade. In the heroic poem of the Mahabharata, there is a reference to the pearl-embroidered sari.

Mural-paintings in the Ajanta caves featured the Bandana sari, or the warp and weft weave. This is in addition to dyed saris that were made of silk and cotton muslin. Sculptors of Ajanta particularly refer to the use of metrical models such as lines, angles, circles, squares, points, and curves in sari designs.

However this unique weaving style enriched by the weavers led by Devi Ahilya Bai pumped a new life to the art form by their karigari. The simple and exotic weaving style of combining Cotton or Viscose(Made from Wood Pulp) for the yarn, Mulberry Silk for the weft and finally Zari used mainly in weaving the beautiful borders yeilds in an elite but affordable range of premium sarees. The maheshwari saree, once an exclusive privilege of royalty, has now established a presence worldwide. Other than sarees these are also used in a variety of forms, including as saris, dupattas, salwar suits, shirts, etc. They are also used for home furnishing, like curtains and cushion covers.

The Maheshwari is just one example of the exemplary weaving techniques perfected by the Indian craftsmen, but sadly nowadays, with the advent of powerloom, these weavers now don’t wish to engage in traditional weaving traditions and prefer taking up different professions. Computerization has led to cheap foreign imitations flooding the markets. If we don’t support these craftsman now, who are probably the last torchbearers of a century old tradition, it is not far, that these legends would be limited as storybook excerpts. 

Hence bowing our heads to these legendary craftsmen, we here at Ramyata brings you straight from Maheshwar, their love in the form of beautiful Maheshwari Sarees. Checkout the collection, and you will not only be admiring their centuries old traditional work crafted to different level of perfection, but also bring a smile to the faces of these weavers, who shall get their dues in earnest.

Checkout Ramyata's Maheshwari Collection

Maheshwar City Photo by Shravan Khare from Pexels



  • Novah Malone

    Novah Malone
  • Kellan Acosta

    Kellan Acosta
  • Jasmine Francis

    Jasmine Francis
  • Omari Lowery

    Omari Lowery
  • Simone Zimmerman

    Simone Zimmerman

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