Maheshwari Sarees Maheshwar

By Sanjeev Nayyar | 2018

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1. In this album we present Maheshari hand-woven products and looms of Rehwa Society. You see Saree-silk cotton mix at Hansa Creations one of the four shops locals asked me to buy from.

2. Southern view of Maheshwar Fort with Ma Narmada in front. 2 large structures behind wall are Cenotahs or chattris. Left is Ahilyabai. Right is Vithoji Rao. Boating is a lovely experience. Some matter below taken from Rehwa Society website.

3. Looms. How did Rehwa come into being? In 1978, Richard & Sally Holkar were taking an evening walk on ghats of Maheshwar. They met a man with a piece of cloth hanging off his arm, it was a light fine fabric, who told them of the hardships faced due to decline of handlooms. Encouraged he asked for help to find a source of income. The young successors of Holkar Dynasty were happy to help.

4. Left bags keep the threads tight. “In 1979, with a grant from the Central Welfare Board & an investment of 79,000 rupees to train weavers, they established REHWA Society as a non-profit organisation. 12 looms were set up where 12 frail women learned the skill of weaving under the guidance of Maheshwar’s treasured Master Weaver, Shri Ganesh Bichwe, & his family.”

5. Weaving in traditional looms that you saw earlier is relatively easy. This one requires special effort. It is a Zaka Pallu saree. Pallu has design i.e. what is in the border is also in the pallu. Thus it requires design threads to be handpicked for colours. Something similar to the way Paithani sarees are made.

6. One of the oldest lady workers. They earn app Rs 4,000/ per month for an eight hour day. During my walkthrough saw everyone engrossed and happy. Maximum number of weavers are ladies. Some bring their children along too. Saris made of cotton/silk. Shawls made of silk/wool. Dupatta/stoles made of cotton or silk or both.

7. We now present hand-woven products of Rehwa Society. Sarees made by them. I should have got the sarees opened and clicked just like I did at Paithan. Hope you get a sense of the design. Today there are app 2,500 looms in Maheshwar today providing livelihood to lakhs, directly and indirectly.

8. U see Shawl. Today there are 66 weavers spread across 3 units with staff of 28. Rehwa Society also run Ahilya School that was started in 1990 (minutes away). In July 2018 it had 240 children who pay a fee of Rs 100/ per month. Children of weavers also attend school in large numbers. Weavers were given homes in Ahilya Vihar Colony.

9. Kurta. Rehwa Society makes plain kurta material like this and in 100% cotton. Rehwa also run a Handloom Training School. Their contacts – Rehwa Society, Ahilya Fort, Maheshwar 451 224. In July 2018 Rajdeep Shah is Head – Rehwa Society. Email is, site . General number 91 81200 01388.

10. You see Stoles. Loved the colours. Their products are genuine & slightly expensive as compared to what is available in Maheshwar said locals. To see more products and buy online

11. On the banks of the river Narmada are two cenotaphs or memorials of the Holkar family locally known as chattris. From the cenotaph of Ahilyabai you see the cenotaph of Vithoji Rao. Do see the reliefs here. Album on Maheshwar has those pics. In case of errors any captions do write back.

12. As I was walking into fort met a guide who suggested his Uncle’s shop and weaving unit. After checking with locals bought a salwar suit from him. Wifey loves it. Sarees on display.

13. Full saree view. “Silk thread is used in the warp (tana), and cotton in the weft (bana), imparting to the fabric, a lovely, silken sheen. It is light and comfortable to drape, an ideal choice in the region’s hot weather.” This and next para matter taken from Outlook Traveller website.

14. “The uniqueness of Maheshwari saris lies in the weave. The body of the sari has small checks, stripes, or can be plain, but the typically striped pallu & border designs are inspired by traditional motifs, or architectural embellishments found in the town’s temples and monuments.” Contact of Anita Handloom, Ahilya Fort, Filter Plant Road, Maheshwar. Mobile 91 98930 75932, 860260 27779.

15.Narmada Resort run by MP Tourism is a lovely place to stay. A co-operative society sells Maheshwari hand-woven products there. Ask for Mahesh 91 9752252544. I bought for wifey from here – she loved it.

16. Saree silk cotton mix. We now present products of Hansa Creations. Why this shop? I visited many shops – locals warned lot of products use nylon - are not pure Maheshwari so be careful. Spoke to four locals who said Hansa keeps genuine stuff. eSamskriti received no consideration for showcasing products of any shop.

17. Salwar suit. Fabric made by silk cotton mix. Warp is silk and weft is cotton. Loved the colours and combinations.

18. Salwar suit. Top is hand-made cotton and dupatta made of silk, cotton and geecha khadi silk.

19. Dupatta and Kurta no salwar. Made by silk cotton mix with hand block printed. Bought something similar for wifey. Both of us loved it. They also sell BAGH prints (made close to Indore) ie similar to the block-printing seen in Rajasthan and Kutch.

20. Another dupatta and kurta design. All products are Maheswari handloom. Contacts – Hansa Handloom, Kalidas Marg, Kila Road, Maheshwar. Tel 07283 273296, www.hansaheritagein,

21. I bought this for my wife from the Co-operative Society shop in MP Tourism ka Narmada Resort. Both of us loved it. Contact in shop is Mahesh 91 97522 52544.

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