Share

Blog: Sari for a Princess

Blog: Sari for a Princess

There's a fascinating story behind the famous Kota weave

Richa Dubey
April 03 , 2017
01 Min Read

This is a true story of a princess who might or might not have been beautiful, but she was definitely very hot. She married a prince of a tiny kingdom that stood on the edge of a desert, not terribly far from home, but nothing like home either, which was Udaipur, lauded even in those pretourism days as a city of lakes. Though Kota had a lake too, our princess simply couldn’t take the heat that would rise from the ground in the hot summer months. So circa 1740, a palace called Jagmandir was built specially for her in the middle of a lake called Kishore Sagar. But the going was tough even then. And so, the tale continues, the princess decided that she needed clothes that were friendlier to the light breeze that sometimes blew her way.

A royal order was passed and the weavers got to work. Perhaps they took inspiration from the thin, ribbon-like clouds that streak the summer skies here, for the new sari they wove was just as light and ephemeral. The number of threads in the warp and weft was reduced drastically but to make up for this lost weight, they wove the Kota-doria saris in solid geometric patterns of alternating checks. Further, these were woven only in five different shades of white – the colour that would best keep out the horrible heat. These fives whites were lyrically named ‘conch shell’, ‘sea-foam’, ‘jasmine’, ‘August moon’ and ‘clouds after they have spent their rain’. Today of course these saris are available in many other colours. Drive to Khaithoon, a village of weavers 22 km from Kota, and you will see these saris stretched out on the looms. These will cost a few hundred rupees, perhaps a little more if the gold border has used real zari. But do pick up one, for a princess suffered for it.


Related Articles

This November, Explore...

Nayanika Mukherjee October 29 , 2019

Manipur: Of Polo and...

Precious Kamei October 27 , 2016

Here to there

Explore Directions(Routes) and more...
to Go

Other Editions

Outlook’ is India’s most vibrant weekly news magazine with critically and globally acclaimed print and digital editions. Now in its 23rd year...

Explore All
Got a question?Ask Marco
  • Check out our Magazine of the month
  • Offbeat destinations
  • In-depth storytelling
  • Stunning pictures
  • Subscribe

Check Out Our Latest Issue