The beautiful conception of the Maheshwari saree dates back to 18th century at Maheshwar in Madhya Pradesh. These sarees were initially made of pure Silk, but with the passage of time, cotton yarn was introduced in the weft. The interesting legend behind these sarees is of Queen Ahilyabai Holkar who ordered various craftsman and artisans from Malwa and Surat to design a special saree of 9 yards length which later came to be known as the Maheshwari saree. These sarees were supposed to be a special gift for the royal relatives and guests who visited the palace. The grandeur of the forts in Madhya Pradesh and their designs play an important role in inspiring the motifs on the Maheshwari saree.
Un-degummed mulberry silk yarn of 18/20 -20/22 Den is used in warp whereas 2/80 – 2/100s cotton yarn is used in weft. Gold and silver Zari are used for weaving extra warp design in border and for extra weft butta and stripe in pallaw.
Earlier, wooden pit looms made were used for weaving the saree. But now light weight metal frame fly shultle frame loom has replaced the wooden loom. Long warp about 50 mt. in ball form is placed on the loom. Tension is maintained by putting weight on the warp. Lattice dobby is used for weaving border extra warp design. Multiple box sley is used for weaving two different types of weft.
How to distinguish genuine Maheshwari Saree:
Generally the border design of the Maheshwari saree is reversible. The design look similar from both sides. In warp, un-degummed mulberry silk yarn and in weft cotton yarn are used.
These sarees are heavier and more compact than Chanderi Saree.
Normally, there is no designing work with extra threads in the body of the saree.
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