10 Unknown Facts of Ikat: The Magical Weave of India

These facts about Telia Rumaal (Puttpaka) ikat craft would blow your mind off, came from horse’s mouth (Padmashri Gajam Govardhana) and not available anywhere else:

  • The father of Telia Rumaal is Pendem Narasimhan who has developed this craft to what it is today by introducing concept of double ikat in Telia Rumaal, this legacy was taken over by Gajam Govardhan knowing that double ikat was on the verge of extinction!
  • The hanks and yarns has to be dipped in Sesame oil for minimum 21 days, post which without draining out it is put for resist dyeing based on the patterns designed on Graph and then put on the loom for weaving.

Ikat-Weavers

  • The reason why this oil was used as it has the natural character of maintaining warmth in cold weather and cool in warm climates. That is why this fabric was used as a Barter system for other materials with Arab countries and the Middle East. Telia Rumaal was used as the turban by all the men in the Middle East and one can see the ikat checks on the fabrics that has been used to be worn by travellers in deserts to beat the heat for days and months.
  • The tel (oil) treated fabric used to act as water repellent fabric for the fishermen and women working on sea shores (fishing), it also used to protect their skin from sea salt water. This was amongst the first water repellent fabrics invented ever!

Ikat-Facts

  • The original telia rumaal had only three colours deep red (Maroon), Black & White, legend says that the red colours acted as an attraction to catch fish, whereas in contrast it used to save women and men from wild animals working in fields and jungles (colour theory has been used as a scientific method to protect from external sources).
  • Telia Rumaal acted as the uniform for all the staff members under Hyderabad Nizam Government, including members of court, police, civil servants and the part of Nizam Government. It was used as the differentiating factor amongst general public and government officials mainly.

Ikat-Design

  • The holy fabric of Ajmer Dargah Sharif is officially Telia Rumaal that is being draped on all the shrines at the Dargah Sharif of Ajmer city, this tradition is till date alive.
  • Today in the name of Telia Rumaal, people apply the oil on the loom itself while weaving that is not at all authentic, and the whole Andhra is selling these fakes in name of Telia Rumaal…Also now people use chemical colours instead of natural colours.

About-Ikat-Fabric

  • Last not least, it is the natural colour that is absorbed by the oil soaked yarns and interestingly no chemical dye can penetrate these oil soaked hanks, therefore making Telia Rumaal soaked in oil an authentic piece with Natural Colours.
  • Japan has championed Art of Indigo ikat which no body in the world has been able to copy so far!

ITI TYAGIInputs provided by:
ITI TYAGI, Founder of CRAFT VILLAGE, India’s only social enterprise, works for the revival and up-liftment of crafts and craftsperson, through various awareness programs workshops and events.