Narayanpet region in Mahabubnagar district of Telangana is renowned for its exquisite and unique cotton handloom and silk sarees, which are widely popular. There is a historic legacy behind the handloom industry of Narayanpet. It is said that the famous Maratha king, Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj had once travelled to this region where he rested for some time before continuing his journey and few weavers from his entourage, had actually stayed behind. It is these weavers who reportedly brought this tradition here of weaving sarees with a district design, which later came to known as the Narayanpet sarees. Hence, there is a clear Maharashtrian influence observed in these sarees. Narayanpet sarees have a characteristic checked surface design with embroidery while the border or the pallu features intricate ethnic designs.
Narayanpet handloom sarees usher a contrasted look with the small zari designs. The making of these handloom sarees of Narayanpet is described as a unique process wherein eight sarees are made in one go on the loom. Therefore, instead of standard 7 yards of fabric which are generally mounted on the loom, about 56 yards of Silk will mounted, all at a single time. The Narayanpet handloom sarees are relatively lighter in weight and they can be worn by women comfortably all through the year.
The borders and pallus of Narayanpet handloom sarees are very traditional, characterized by a rich pallu as well as a unique pattern of attractive and alternating red and white bands. The border is accompanied by a flat stretch of deep maroon, chocolate red or red colour. This is thinly separated by a clear pattern of white or coloured lines. Hence these sarees feature contrasting colours with truly attractive pallus and simple borders. There are even double shade sarees made here featuring blends like pink-purple and maroon-mustard. The Cotton-silk blends and the light pure silk sarees are the best models of Narayanpet sarees. The warp and weft of Narayanpet handloom sarees represent the 80’s style with combed cotton and these are dyed in Vat colours.
The sarees are well-known for their durability of colors which were used in the yarn. The process of making each Narayanpet handloom saree begins with dyeing of the silk/cotton yarn. Dyeing is a process where the yarn is dipped in the boiled color water at a very high temperature. This process ensures that the color is spread uniformly all through the yarn while not affecting the quality of the yarn being used. The process of colouring is a crucial step and the yarn is dried under the shade and not under the sun. The dyed and dried yarn is finally loaded into the loom for the final process of weaving. The weavers here easily make 30 sarees out of one beam of warp.
The handloom sarees of Narayanpet are traditionally woven using the interlocked-weft technique. Due to the affordability, as well as durability and low-maintenance, the handloom sarees of Narayanpet are quite popular. The fusion of Telangana and Maratha style is evident in the sarees of this region, thereby proving how the combination of various cultures results in variety and aesthetically appealing look. There is a huge demand for the handloom sarees of Narayanpet and apart from the main town, several villages in the region are also home to hundreds of weavers families who are dependent on this tradition for their livelihood. These sarees are usually worn by women during special occasions and represent elegance and rich look. It can be truly described as the pride of Palamuru, representing a rich legacy of handicraft traditions of the state of Telangana in South India.