Pochampally is a cluster of around 80 small villages in Telangana, the newly formed 29th State of India (with Hyderabad as its historic permanent capital). It is dusty and has a typical rural atmosphere. The roads are empty in the villages with small houses on either side. At the outset, you will not find it different from any other village in South India. However when you step inside each house, you will find looms that create the most beautiful Pochampally Ikkat sarees.
Pochampally is also popular as Bhoodan Pochampally. Bhoodhan means land gifting. It was here that Acharya Vinobha Bhave started the Bhoodhan movement and persuaded the rural rich to gift small plots of land to the landless laborers to be used for agricultural purposes.
The sarees woven in these villages are known as Pochampally Sarees (or Pochampally Ikkat). The sale of handloom fabrics and yarn contributes to the approximate business worth Rs 100 lakhs every year. Moreover, these villages are home to more than 10,000 weaver families. Their hard work pays off perfectly through the beautiful ethnic Ikkat fabrics.
Specialty of Pochampally Ikkat Sarees
Firstly, the weaver initiates the process by bleaching the yarn & dyeing it in the desired color (on the basis of pre-defined designs). This is similar to the resist dyeing method that you usually see in making of the popular bandhani and batik techniques. Once the yarn is ready for use, the weaver subsequently weaves it on the looms placed in the homes. They are hence handloom products.
In addition, each house has a loom or two. One can easily step into any house to witness the entire process of weaving. The cooperatives, who undertake the marketing of these fabrics and sarees, are liable for supplying the designs to these weavers.
Most noteworthy is the fact that the Indian states of Telengana, Odisha and Gujarat are the traditional centres for Ikkat fabrics and sarees.
Pochampally, Ikkat and Patola essentially refer to the same technique of weaving. In Gujarat, this kind of woven fabric is called Patola. For this, the artisans dye the yarn using the resist dyeing technique on the warp and weft threads. They actually apply the dye to the yarn and not the fabric. Finally, they carry out the process by weaving the warp and the weft threads in the loom.
Needless to say, the intricate and beautiful designs achieved from this weaving technique are exquisite. Consequently, the sarees and fabrics are unique and distinct.
The fabric used is cotton or silk while the colors are derived from natural sources and their blends.
The Pochampally Ikkat Sarees have certainly a gorgeous design technique. Fabrics for salwar kameez and blouses are available in both cotton and silk at wholesale rates in Pochampally. Ikkat sarees in silk with rich colours and contrasting borders are also available here. The silk sarees are in the Rs 6,000-10,000/piece price range.