Patola is a double ikat woven sari, usually made from silk, made in Patan, Gujarat, India. The word patola is the plural form; the singular is patolu. They are very expensive, once worn only by those belonging to royal and aristocratic families. These saris are popular among those who can afford the high prices. Velvet patola styles are also made in Surat. Patola-weaving is a closely guarded family tradition. There are three families in Patan that weave these highly prized double ikat saris. It is said that this technique is taught to no one in the family, but only to the sons. It can take six months to one year to make one sari due to the long process of dying each strand separately before weaving them together.Patola was woven in Surat, Ahmedabad and Patan. Highly valued in Indonesia, became part of the local weaving tradition there.
Patola saris, that involve part ikat work, are the most expensive saris in the world. Each classic Patola sari can survive for about 300 years and retain the colour. The saris take four to six months to make, with more than 70 days for the colouring of the silk threads, and about 25 days for the weaving. The costliest sari is priced at a whopping Rs 7 lakh. At least 12 people work for over two years to make it using materials required for 27 normal Patola saris. This extremely complex and time-consuming dyeing art is currently pursued by only four families in Gujarat. Some of the families are trying to keep the tradition alive, but are unsure of its eventual fate.
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