This famous silk saree, that one will find kept treasured for every Maharashtrian bride symbolizing pride and the spirit of true culture. Proudly referred to as the ‘Queen of Silks,’ because it was only worn by the royals and the aristocrats at one time in history. However today, anyone who sports this saree, automatically looks regal because of its fine quality and weaving nuances that make it special. This intricate silk sari, got its name from the town of Paithan in Aurangabad during the rule of Aurangzeb. The original understanding of the Paithani weave was that it was a tapestry technique that was involved, which in literal terms meant, that discontinuous weft insertions were made according to the design and motif, however later came to be woven like any other sari. To weave a beautiful Paithani sari, Mulberry silk from Bangalore is used along with zari from Surat and what is astonishing is that a genuine handloom piece consists of 500 grams of silk and 250 grams of zari.
The preparatory processes for this sari, are equally exciting to know about. The silk yarns are first dyed using natural dyes which is one of the most significant features of the Paithani sari as one may find these saris only in basic yet beautiful colours. The preparation of the loom is extremely laborious and important as this will decide the design and the weave. One can easily spot a Paithani saree because of the motifs used some of them being the Mor (Peacock), Munia (Parrot), Akruti (Almond shape) and Koyari (Mango shape). An interesting fact about these saris is that the right side as well as the reverse look exactly the same when woven by hand. Nowadays, the powerloom has been used frequently to weave these saris, and can be easily identified by the heavy number of floats on the reverse side. What is sad, is that though these saris are painstakingly woven by traditional weavers in clusters, the machine made sarees are sold at the exact same rate as pure handloom ones. This causes discouragement amongst the weavers and also a loss of livelihood. The beauty of these traditional saris is in the hands of skilled weavers and their work and outcome is sheer tradition and worth praise