Odisha, the state located in the east of India known for its rich and varied culture like art, architecture, handloom and handicraft. The writing in the stones of Kahandagiri cave Odisha suggests that the art of weaving was in Odisha before 600 B.C. Similarly some carving in the temples of Sonpur cluster (Baidyanath) indicates that weaving was in existence in the area during prior to 9th B.C. Odisha has also history of exporting handloom to south-east Asia countries like Thailand, Java, Borrneo and Sumatra (Last three are Island of Indonesia) during pre-independence period in sea route. It is therefore also the bank of river Mahanadi and some other big river of Odisha has developed weaving culture.
Odisha is known for its handlooms of rich colours, artistic designs, exquisite weaves – the sarees of Odisha are all this and more. Odisha sarees have a close relation with the Jagannath culture. Originally, the four basic colours, which are found on Jagannath — black, white, red and yellow — were extensively used in Odiya sarees. Even motifs such as the temple border, lotus, conch and wheel, signify the affinity with the reigning deity.
Textile heritage of Odisha reflects the true artistic capabilities and superior craftsmanship of Odisha. Drawing heavily from the motifs replete in tribal culture and its association with nature and Odisha’s famous temple architectural style, the textiles and handlooms of Odisha have entered the living rooms of people all over the world.
Handlooms of Odisha are mainly available in cotton and silk though the colours, patterns and methods of weaving differ for the two textured materials. The cotton fabrics with heavy drapes are woven of fine cotton threads tightly held together. The fabric is flannel like to touch for its soft wooly weaving, unlike the lustre of precious stones and metals of the silk fabrics.
Odisha's cotton handlooms and textiles come in earthy patterns of the famous Ikkat style of weaving. The Ikkat handloom and textiles origin can be traced back to Odisha's rich maritime past when seafaring traders ventured forth on journeys to the islands of Indonesia, primarily Bali.
The temple borders, geometric figures and subtle references to nature are blurry edged, giving the fabrics a genuine ethnic feel. The jagged edges are achieved by arranging the yarn with not too precise a position. These yarns of threads were first dyed according to the colours required to complete the pattern, usually colours derived from nature itself.
The handloom Sarees of Odisha can be broadly classified into four groups: Ikkat, Bomkai, Bandha and Pasapalli.