The double ikat weaving tradition of gujarat is called ‘Patola’. The textile is produced by the weavers of the Salvi community using expensive silk yarns. In the past, Patolas were manufactured in Patan, Khambat, Surat, Porbander, ahmedabad and Baroda in gujarat. However with the passage of time, there are only two families in Patan who continue to practice this craft.
The earliest reference to Patola can be visually seen in the ajanta cave murals of 6th century ad. during the 16th and 17th century, Patolas were regarded as precious silks by South-east asia and europe, and thus became an important trade item at that time.
In India, Patola saris are considered to be auspicious and are thus worn on very special occasions like weddings and festivals (Pic. 3.2). In the past, the textile was also used as temple hangings and offered to the divinity.
The process of producing the double ikat Patola fabrics is very time consuming and labour intensive. The design is planned very carefully since both warp and weft yarns are tie-dyed repeatedly in order to introduce more than one colour. after the yarns are tie-dyed, the warp and weft are woven in plain weave. a sari takes nearly one month to weave as the adjustments of the weft yarn to make precise pattern with warp yarns is done with a pointed metal rod after each weft insertion. due to the perfect alignment of the warp and weft, the motifs formed have defined outlines in comparison to the hazy outlines seen in single ikats
Patola textiles use intense colours like bright red, golden yellow, green, dark blue, reddish brown etc. The distinctive Patola motifs are flowers, jewels, elephants, birds and dancing women for the Hindu and Jain communities. The Muslim community restricts themselves to abstract designs. The Patola designs are named as Kunjar Popat Bhat (elephant – Parrot), Nari Kunjar Popat Bhat (lady – elephant – Parrot), Navratan Bhat (Jewel Mosaic), Phool Wali Bhat (Floral), Chabri Bhat (Basket of Flowers) etc
The expensive Patola saris are prized possession of every Indian woman, reserved for ceremonial wear. due to the high cost, the patola sari attracts very limited clientele and also cheap imitations manufactured by ikat weavers of Pochampalli, has affected its sales. Thus the number of artisans practicing the craft has drastically declined over a period of time.