Ikat textiles of Andhra Pradesh

There are two types of ikat textiles produced in andhra Pradesh, namely Telia rumal and Pochampalli ikats. Telia Rumal is the age-old ikat technique of Andhra Pradesh, whereas Pochampalli ikats were introduced later by the telia rumal weavers.

telia rumal

The traditional ikat textile known as Telia rumal is produced in Chirala, a coastal village in Andhra Pradesh. It is a square rumal or handkerchief measuring around one metre square. Since oil (tel) is an important ingredient used in the production of the rumal, the textile is known as telia rumal.

Traditionally the telia rumal were produced by the weavers belonging to the Padmasali community. In the early 20th century, these double ikat rumals were exported to Middle east, africa and Burma. Within the country, the telia rumal became part of the fishermen’s clothing, worn as a turban or as a lower garment called lungi.

Traditionally, the commonly used colours for the telia rumal were terracotta red and black, using natural dyes. The fabrics were mordanted with iron solution and alum so that on dyeing with alizarine, areas with iron would become deep black and the ones with alum turned red (Pic. 3.5). The layout of a typical telia rumal comprised of a geometrical grid-like patterning with borders all around, thereby creating small squares at the four corners. In the 19th century, simple geometric designs like crosses, dots and diamond shapes were used in the central field. In the 20th century, simple curvilinear forms like flowers, birds, animals, stars and moon were introduced in order to cater to the export market. Some contemporary pieces of telia rumal have used motifs like clock, gramophone and aeroplane.

By the 1950s, the demand for telia rumals declined and the technique was adapted to produce commercially viable products like saris and yardage for apparel and home products


Pochampalli ikats

In the early 20th century, the telia rumal weavers introduced the ikat technique to the Devang and Padmasali weavers of Pochampalli, a village near Hyderabad. as the popularity for Pochampalli ikats grew over a period of time, ikat weaving spread to many other villages like Koyalagudam, Puttapakka, Chautupal and elanki.

The Pochampalli weavers applied the technique of ikat weaving to saris, dupattas and yardage. Initially the ikat designs were copied from the Patolas of gujarat, but later on the weavers developed geometric motifs of their own, mainly inspired from the telia rumal. The weavers are also influenced by the Japanese and Indonesian ikats.

The Pochampalli ikats can be found in a range of colours including magenta, brown, parrot green, bright golden yellow, orange, off-white, black etc.

The Ikat weavers of Andhra Pradesh use mainly combined ikat technique to produce very modern and graphic designs mainly for exports. They also cater to the domestic market, producing a wide range of saris, stoles and dupattas, and yardage for apparel and home furnishings. The weavers also imitate patola patterns and develop saris preferred by many due to cheaper costs in comparison to a double ikat patola sari.