Molakalmuru Saree: A Traditional Beauty Made in Karnataka!


Image – Molakalmuru Silk Sarees/FB

A saree or as rightly referred to as, six yards of sheer elegance, is the identity of a modern Indian woman. Sarees are truly representative of the Indian culture and heritage and donned by women all over the country with such grace. This is a piece of fabric but it is also so much more than that. Throughout the country, its fabric, style, and colors vary as per the native heritage and way of clothing but the essence of the gorgeous saree shines through. One of the various types of the same is the exquisite Molakalmuru Sari.

This saree derives its name from the town that originated in and is woven in Molakalmuru. Situated in Chitradurga district in the state of Karnataka, approximately 245 kilometers away from the capital. This town is a panchayat town that possesses various allures, a primary of which is the Molakalmuru Sarees. These are also commonly referred to as Karnataka Kanchipuram. Due to this, the main occupation of the town is naturally weaving while the rest are involved in agriculture. These sarees look beautiful when worn by the women of the region as well as the entire country that remains in praise of the same.

The fabric used provides it with a particularly desirable texture. These sarees are made from pure silk with the mulberry variety being used prominently throughout. Additionally, zari is also utilized in the making of the saree and is procured from Surat which is rightly renowned for its zari production. On the other hand, the silk comes from the Bengaluru Silk Exchange. Yet another feature of this saree that adds to its eminence is its exclusivity. Since the production is limited to a single town, the number of weavers involved in creating this stunning masterpiece range at around fifteen hundred, leading to the number of sarees made to be around four hundred and forty.

Image – Arun Vanjre/Youtube

The creation of this saree is a story that leads quite a few decades back or to the nineteenth century, to be more precise. The migration of the Sourashtra populace that belongs to the community of Swakulasali, originally from the state of Maharashtra, and the individuals of the community of Padmashali from Karnataka’s very own neighbor, the state of Andhra Pradesh is what led to the commencement of this wonderful sarees that are full of grace. The production of these sarees, due to their breath-taking designs, received tremendous support and patronage from the prince of the city of Mysore: Nalvadi Krishnarajendra Wodeyar.

Suggested Read – Handlooms of Karnataka – Weaving Tradition of Generations

These sarees possess intricate and elegant designs upon them which are also commonly referred to as motifs. These have varied themes, mostly derived from nature, such as floral prints, animals, the wilderness, fruits, birds, just to name a few. Apart from these, geometric and symmetrical patterns are also quite popular in today’s era. These beautiful designs are a noteworthy attribute of these sarees. Additionally, Molakalmuru sarees give off an ethnic aura and traditional impression which truly makes one feel closer to their culture as well as heritage and how can one forget to mention the most mesmerizing part of a saree: the pallu which in case of this variety is truly magnificent. Furthermore, the zari border is another unmissable element of these sarees as it presents a contrast to the saree and simply stands out. It is also worth noting that the color of the pallu also differs from the body of the saree. These sarees are mostly dark colored with some colors being widely in use are blue, pink, black, green, mustard, red, and many more.

Image – Molakalmuru Silk Sarees/FB

The fabrication of these sarees is to this date, done by utilizing traditional handlooms or pit looms to be more specific with fly shuttle and a throw shuttle and for the same, the inhabitants of the region of Molakalmuru using chiefly two techniques with the first one being the Kuttu technique. This elaborate technique requires hard work as it involves manually interlacing the border and the body of the saree by the use of a total of three throw shuttles: one for the body, one for the border, and another one for the pallu of the saree. The second one is the Chalu Technique, which involves joining the existing and new warp ends of the pallu. The coloring of these sarees requires the use of the tie and dye method. By the application of these, a single Molakalmuru Saree is made within approximately eight days.

Molakalmuru sarees are further themselves divided into myriad sub-varieties. A few are the butta saree. It derives its name from the design of the buttas that can be seen on both sides of the border and this saree incorporates both traditional as well as modern patterns thus making it the best of both worlds. Other varieties include the long border Molakalmuru Sarees and the Double Molakalmuru Sarees both of which inculcate the use of multiple colors adding to the sarees’ vibrant nature.

Suggested Read – Traditional Dresses of Karnataka

These sarees are indeed a masterpiece that is a gem of our culture and traditions. Molakalmuru Sarees are popular in the country and around the globe in countries such as the United States of America and Australia, to name a few. However, comparing the previous demand for these dares, it would only be fair to state that the demand to a certain extent has fallen and that is truly unfortunate. Therefore, it comes upon us to revive our culture and these sarees which form an integral part of the same. As we move ahead with the advent of modernization, we must also remember to look back and remember our roots. Saree is the identity of any Indian woman. This was already stated in the beginning but this is a statement that merits a re-mention. It is rightly said, “We should feel empowered by where we came from and who we are, not hide it.”

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