Textile tour of India M, N, O

Textile tour of India M, N, O

M is for Mukaish, N for Needlework & O is for Odisha weaves, hop on our textile tour of India with @theindianheritagehut 

M for Mukaish

Mukaish is a metal embroidery technique developed around 3rd Century BC and practiced in and around the Awadh region near Lucknow. The embroidery was initially started as an adornment to chikankari work, so the Nawabs and Mughals could make their chikankari outfits even more elegant and elaborate for evening wear. 

It is a metal embroidery, where little strands of metal (initially, gold or silver ) are twisted into patterns to create  little dots to adorn chikankari outfits, or to form complete motifs and textiles of the mukaish jaal (net). The base fabrics can range from soft georgettes and chiffons to sturdy raw silks. 

Originally, mukaish work was only used to create small dots that embellished chikankari garments, and to add some bling and sparkle to them. However, over the years, motifs are extended to floral and geometric patterns and because of the beauty and intricacy of the work, designers began creating all-mukaish pieces as well.

Text Credits

N for Needlework

Needlework is a decorative sewing and textile art. Needlework is a broad category which includes lace making, quilting, crochet, knitting, tatting, macrame, smocking, braiding etc. 

Hand stitching with a needle and thread has existed since ancient times. Most needlework in Greek, Roman, and Chinese civilizations was decorative and symbolic. Fine stitchery with threads of gold and silk showed religious or royal rank. Jewels and beads sewn onto uniforms and embellishing banners indicated great wealth, noble titles, and victories in battle. It was also an important fact of women's identity during the Victorian age. It was a mark of a prosperous and well-managed home to display handmade needlework. 

The types of goods that could be decorated with needlework techniques are endless - knitted boots, embroidered book covers, footstools, lampshades, sofa cushions, fans etc.

Info credit - wikipedia

 Needle work

O for Odisha Weaves

Odisha is a textile rich state of India. 5 out of 7 textile weaves originating from Odisha have a GI tag. The weaving style, motifs used and colour palette provide a distinctive personality to odisha textiles and hence O for Odisha weaves.

According to art historians, handloom weaving in Odisha goes back to 600 BC. 

There is a beautiful story from the 12th century about the history of this art. Jayadeva, the great poet of the 12th century, had a desire to offer his poetry, “Gita Govinda” in the form of a garment to Lord Jagannatha. Jayadeva sang the verses and some weavers from his native village of kenduli agreed to weave it on the cloth. Then the King of Puri issued an order to Nuapatna(Tigiria) to supply Gitagovinda fabrics. And thus began the glorious history of Odisha weaves. Human figures sculpted on the centuries-old temples reflect stylistic draping of clothes. 

Seven key odisha weaves are:

Sambalpuri Ikat - Reflecting the baandha style of craft, Sambalpuri fabrics range from geometric patterns to landscape, portraits and other motifs such as sankha (shell), chakra (wheel) and a variety of phula (flower).

Bomkai Cotton - Woven by the adept artisans of Sonepur district, Bomkai is handloom fabric that has an attached GI tag and is also called the ‘Sonepuri’ fabric. 

Berhampuri Paata - Also called ‘Phoda Kumbha’, Berhampuri Paata too, boasts of a GI tag and is famous for its temple-shaped designs along the border and pallu portion. It is also draped around Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, and Devi Subhadra in Puri Jagannath temple.

Khandua Paata - Khandua Paata is noted for the texts of Gita Govinda etched on it. Traditionally red or orange in colour, these colours are procured naturally from sal trees. This fabric too, is a registered GI and originated in Cuttak and Maniabandha.

Kotpad cotton - Woven by the tribes of Kotpad village in Koraput, this fabric with a GI tag is renowned for being dyed organically. Vegetables are used to obtain the required colours with black and maroon being the major dyes.

Habaspuri - Kondha weavers of Chicheguda in Kalahandi district intertwine magic with Habaspuri, one of the major cotton-based textiles of Odisha with fish, flower and temple motifs and is also a registered GI.

Saktapar / Pasapali - Celebrated for its prominent double Ikat checkerboard pattern, Saktapar is famously known as ‘Pasapali’, attributed to Bargarh district in Odisha. Intricate pasaa (chess board) patterns in contrasting colours is its most striking feature.

Info credit -,

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