Gadwal saree is a kind of traditional handcrafted woven saree that originated from the Jogulamba Gadwal district in the Telangana State, India.
Gadwal sarees are made from cotton and silk which is usually tussar or mulberry. The sarees are dyed at Chirala where the yarn is dipped in boiled colored water at a certain suitable temperature. The dyeing of the saree at such a high temperature is to ensure the color of the saree lasts long.
It was registered as one of the geographical indications from Telangana by the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, of 1999.
Apart from Gadwal being the most famous for silk sarees in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, there are many other small villages that are also engaged in traditional weaving work.
To create the 7-yard saree, 800 looms of thread are used on a daily basis in Rajoli village. The sarees that were carefully handcrafted at Rajoli are then sent to Gadwal. Many say that this might be the reason why Gadwal is overshadowing Rajoli weavers.
Apart from Gadwal and Rajoli, some other villages famous for making silk sarees are Gattu, Yemmiganur, Aiza, and Nagaladinne.
To weave one Gadwal saree in a traditional manner, it takes almost 5 days of effort where interlocking weft technique is used to manufacture it. Moreover, the weaver has to meticulously attach the silk border using ash to finish the saree.
This work is also called zari work on sarees. Gadwal sarees are usually cotton sarees that are given silk pallu and they are also called by another name Sico saris. Another interesting fact about the Gadwal sarees is that the weave is so light that the saree can be packed in a matchbox
Nowadays, the sarees are also manufactured on machines using low-quality silk. It usually takes less time and is sold in the market as original Gadwal sarees. The true hallmark of a Gadwal saree is the merging of cotton and silk threads in the border, which differentiates it from sarees made on power looms.
With any handloom fabric, making it relevant to the increasingly fashion-conscious people is a challenge in the present world. Gadwal sarees have received huge popularity because of the efforts of fashion designers like Sanjay Garg and Vinay Narkar who have contemporized it with their labels Raw Mango and Reshamwala. A quick browse through their websites reveals they are pure Gadwal sarees, unlike the generic ones that are present in the market.
Gadwal sarees were widely used by the people during Nizams. So, Gadwal sarees got accentuated with a geographical indication (GI) certificate in 2010. The plight of these weavers is similar to those in other parts of the country as they struggle to make a better life for themselves and their children with the paltry sum they make a month.
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