Regal opulence of the Narayanpet handlooms

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A small town in Mahbubnagar district of Andhra Pradesh.(later Telangana), India. A famous hub for quality handlooms in silk and cotton. That is what Narayanpet is. It boasts of a finery in its silk sarees that is hard to match. Fine count weaves in silk and cotton, that make use of a lot of zari or metallic thread finery. Indeed the characteristic shine of this lustrous fabric is hard to match.

The Narayanpet Silks have certain unique characteristics. An obsession for vegetable dyes, the checks pattern in zari throughout the saree, wide borders in rich zari on both the top and bottom ends and a vibrant coloured shimmering effect. No wonder the saree maintains its shine and colours don’t run throughout the life of the saree.

There is a religious tone with people believing that the wearer of the saree will have the blessings of the deity or goddess of the place. The use of the temple pattern as a characteristic feature on most borders is also in line with this devotional thinking.

Narayanpet sarees make use of the interlocked weft technique and a group could take about a month to complete weaving of a beam having 25 to 30 sarees.

The Narayanpet Cotton handloom also has its merits. A fine count weave, it also has certain characteristics like a mix of darker shades, embroidered adornments and a good use of zari on the body, borders and end piece. You could have plain dark hues with light and wide borders with the use of zari. There could be plain zari borders on floral print sarees or the borders could have attractive embroidery on it. Or dark coloured floral prints with light shade borders to offset it.

Believed to be inspired by the Maratha ruler Shivaji Maharaj in passing through Narayanpet during one of his campaigns, it has remained a legacy of traditional finesse that has not left the town since.

Geographical Indication(GI) Status has been awarded to the Narayanpet Saree in April 2013. The GI status recognises the valuable contribution made by these weavers in keeping alive a cultural heritage of Andhra Pradesh and is a big relief to the beleaguered weavers of Narayanpet, who were struggling against the cheaper fabrics delivered by the commercial power looms also taking on the name of Narayanpet and depriving them of their rightful due.

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Narayanpet Saris are worn in their various forms for different occasions.

Fancy block floral prints on narayanpet cotton saree is preferred for daily casual, by college professors, corporate women and teachers.

The Pure Handloom Narayanapet Sari is fashionable wear with its kundans on thread embroidery designs, and zari border with an attractive pallu. It is generally worn for college parties, festivals and event functions.

But the rich Narayanpet (Pattu) silks are the exclusive ones that figure mostly at weddings, traditional festivals, grand parties or auspicious functions. It also comprises part of the bridal attire.

Unnati Silks has believed in healthy fusion of traditional and trendy.

Associating with master weavers from Narayanpet, combining the basic fabric with different combinations of prints, patterns, colours and applied to different styles, new seamless versions have emerged.

Pure cotton plain body with traditional pattern designer pallu and coloured borders,
Or pure cotton sarees with block prints on body with designer block-printed pallu with multi-colour double borders,
Or pure cotton plain body sarees with temple design zari border and zari border pallu with plain borders in moderate colours.

These are but a few examples of Unnati’s innovative experiments on healthy fusion with Narayanpet sarees.

The effect is captivating, the appeal awesome, and the market response tremendous

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if there is something that she does not know about Bollywood, it is not worth knowing - is what she always quotes. Grown up on Neeta's Natter of Stardust fame she eats, breathes and lives Bollywood in all her wakeful hours and dreams about it in the others she is not. No wonder she has become an encyclopedia on Bollywood and its colourful crowd. Fashion lover too, she models her clothes along the lines of the fashionistas and femme fatales'of the film industry and she is fondly teased with the chant "ticket to Bollywood" whenever she playfully imitates a ramp walk. Our window to the big screen, the sections on films and fabrics are hers to entertain us all with her filmy stuff. If you wish to know who's moving with whom and who's not you may venture into notpraachinprachi@unnatisilk.com

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