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Pochampally Sarees of Andhra Pradesh

Pochampalli, located near the capital city of Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad, is probably one of the most flourishing center of modern handloom industry and producing ikkat Sarees on a large scale. It is the place where threads and colours find their way into the hands of skillful weavers and meander into the market as beautiful sarees and dress material is the most typical weaving village in Nalgonda District of Andhra Pradesh.

Pochampally weave is popularly known as ikkat or tie and dye weave. The uniqueness lies in the transfer of design and colouring onto warp and weft threads first and then weave them together. The fabric is cotton, silk and sico - a mix of silk and cotton. Increasingly, the colours themselves are from natural sources and their blends.

Pochampally has traditional looms, whose design is more than a century-old.

There are at least 40 village's within a 70 k.m. radius of Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra Pradesh, including Pochampalli, Koyalagudam, Puttapakka, Elanki and Chautupal where ikkat textiles are woven.

Fabric: The saree is woven in hand woven cotton and silk fabric. Pochampally ikats can be differentiated from their cousins in Orissa by their feel.

The Process: There are about 5000 handloom weavers in Pochampally who create sarees in traditional ikat work. This saree is known for its unique design. The ikat weaves involve the yarn being dyed first, with each strand dyed on the basis of the final pattern that has been decided. This means that everything has to be very precise and requires the skills of true artists. This method is very similar to the tie-and-dye method, the real difference being that here the yarn is dyed before weaving a rather complex procedure.

The famous Pochampally ikat tie-and-dye saree has won Intellectual Property Rights protection. It is the first traditional Indian craft to receive this status of geographical branding. The design won protection in the Geographical Indications category. This will protect the pochampally handloom saree from unfair competition and counterfeit.

Design and Colour: One of the reasons why pochampally sarees find a better market in India and abroad is, the weavers use modern synthetic colors instead of the expensive vegetable dyes for dying, thereby not only bringing down the cost of production, but also getting a chance to be more creative by trying out complex designs. Since the 1960s pochampally ikat-weavers were influenced by the patola designs of Gujarat. Modern ikats of Andhra Pradesh, which are simple and use at the most three colors and purely geometrical designs, are of good quality and sell competitively.

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