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Ilkal Sarees

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  • Original price ₹3,665.00 -Original price ₹3,665.00
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    Purple and Red Cotton Ilkal Saree with Chikki Paras Border

    Handloom weaving in Karnataka's small town of Ilkal dates back to the 8th century. Ilkal sarees are distinguished by their borders, patterns and we...

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    Original price ₹3,665.00 -Original price ₹3,665.00
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  • Original price ₹2,930.00 -Original price ₹2,930.00
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    White, Brown and Pink Cotton-SIlk Ilkal Saree with Chikki Paras Border

    Handloom weaving in Karnataka's small town of Ilkal dates back to the 8th century. Ilkal sarees are distinguished by their borders, patterns and we...

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    Original price ₹2,930.00 -Original price ₹2,930.00
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  • Original price ₹2,640.00 -Original price ₹2,640.00
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    Maroon and White Cotton-Silk Ilkal Saree with Chikki Paras Border

    Handloom weaving in Karnataka's small town of Ilkal dates back to the 8th century. Ilkal sarees are distinguished by their borders, patterns and we...

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    Original price ₹2,640.00 -Original price ₹2,640.00
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    Black, White and Golden Cotton-Silk Ilkal Saree with Chikki Paras Border

    Handloom weaving in Karnataka's small town of Ilkal dates back to the 8th century. Ilkal sarees are distinguished by their borders, patterns and we...

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    Original price ₹2,930.00 -Original price ₹2,930.00
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  • Original price ₹3,665.00 -Original price ₹3,665.00
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    Sky Blue Cotton Ilkal Saree with Navy Blue and Red Border

    Handloom weaving in Karnataka's small town of Ilkal dates back to the 8th century. Ilkal sarees are distinguished by their borders, patterns and we...

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    Original price ₹3,665.00 -Original price ₹3,665.00
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    Pink Cotton Ilkal Saree with Chikki Paras Border

    Handloom weaving in Karnataka's small town of Ilkal dates back to the 8th century. Ilkal sarees are distinguished by their borders, patterns and we...

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    Original price ₹3,665.00 -Original price ₹3,665.00
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  • Original price ₹2,930.00 -Original price ₹2,930.00
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    Black Cotton-Silk Ilkal Saree with Chikki Paras Border

    Handloom weaving in Karnataka's small town of Ilkal dates back to the 8th century. Ilkal sarees are distinguished by their borders, patterns and we...

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    Original price ₹2,930.00 -Original price ₹2,930.00
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    Magenta Cotton-Silk Ilkal Saree with Chikki Paras Border

    Original price ₹3,225.00 -Original price ₹3,225.00
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    Red Cotton-Silk Ilkal Saree with Chikki Paras Border

    Original price ₹3,225.00 -Original price ₹3,225.00
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    Teal Cotton Ilkal Saree with Gayatri Border

    Handloom weaving in Karnataka's small town of Ilkal dates back to the 8th century. Ilkal sarees are distinguished by their borders, patterns and we...

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    Original price ₹3,665.00 -Original price ₹3,665.00
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    Black, White and Red Cotton-Silk Ilkal Saree with Gayatri Border

    Handloom weaving in Karnataka's small town of Ilkal dates back to the 8th century. Ilkal sarees are distinguished by their borders, patterns and we...

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    Original price ₹2,930.00 -Original price ₹2,930.00
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    Blue Grey Cotton-Silk Ilkal Saree with Gayatri Border

    Handloom weaving in Karnataka's small town of Ilkal dates back to the 8th century. Ilkal sarees are distinguished by their borders, patterns and we...

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    Original price ₹2,930.00 -Original price ₹2,930.00
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    Black Chandrakala Ilkal Saree with Chikki Paras Border

    Handloom weaving in Karnataka's small town of Ilkal dates back to the 8th century. Ilkal sarees are distinguished by their borders, patterns and we...

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    Original price ₹2,930.00 -Original price ₹2,930.00
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  • Original price ₹4,395.00 -Original price ₹4,395.00
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    Sky Blue Cotton-Silk Ilkal Saree with Gayatri Border

    Handloom weaving in Karnataka's small town of Ilkal dates back to the 8th century. Ilkal sarees are distinguished by their borders, patterns and we...

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    Original price ₹4,395.00 -Original price ₹4,395.00
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    Grey Cotton Ilkal Saree with Chikki Paras Border

    Handloom weaving in Karnataka's small town of Ilkal dates back to the 8th century. Ilkal sarees are distinguished by their borders, patterns and we...

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    Original price ₹3,665.00 -Original price ₹3,665.00
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  • Original price ₹2,640.00 -Original price ₹2,640.00
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    Black and White Cotton-Silk Ilkal Saree with Chikki Paras Border

    Handloom weaving in Karnataka's small town of Ilkal dates back to the 8th century. Ilkal sarees are distinguished by their borders, patterns and we...

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    Original price ₹2,640.00 -Original price ₹2,640.00
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  • Original price ₹2,930.00 -Original price ₹2,930.00
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    Black, Rust Red and Green Cotton-Silk Ilkal Saree with Chikki Paras Border

    Handloom weaving in Karnataka's small town of Ilkal dates back to the 8th century. Ilkal sarees are distinguished by their borders, patterns and we...

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    Original price ₹2,930.00 -Original price ₹2,930.00
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    Black, White and Pink Cotton-Silk Ilkal Saree with Chikki Paras Border

    Handloom weaving in Karnataka's small town of Ilkal dates back to the 8th century. Ilkal sarees are distinguished by their borders, patterns and we...

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    Original price ₹2,930.00 -Original price ₹2,930.00
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  • Original price ₹3,225.00 -Original price ₹3,225.00
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    Black Rangavalli Cotton-Silk Ilkal Saree with Chikki Paras Border

    Handloom weaving in Karnataka's small town of Ilkal dates back to the 8th century. Ilkal sarees are distinguished by their borders, patterns and we...

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    Original price ₹3,225.00 -Original price ₹3,225.00
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    Olive Green Cotton-Silk Ilkal Saree with Chikki Paras Border

    Handloom weaving in Karnataka's small town of Ilkal dates back to the 8th century. Ilkal sarees are distinguished by their borders, patterns and we...

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    Original price ₹2,930.00 -Original price ₹2,930.00
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    Black Cotton-Silk Ilkal Saree with Gayatri Border

    Handloom weaving in Karnataka's small town of Ilkal dates back to the 8th century. Ilkal sarees are distinguished by their borders, patterns and we...

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    Original price ₹2,930.00 -Original price ₹2,930.00
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  • Original price ₹4,395.00 -Original price ₹4,395.00
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    Dark Violet Cotton-Silk Ilkal Saree with Gayatri Border

    Handloom weaving in Karnataka's small town of Ilkal dates back to the 8th century. Ilkal sarees are distinguished by their borders, patterns and we...

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    Original price ₹4,395.00 -Original price ₹4,395.00
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  • Original price ₹3,665.00 -Original price ₹3,665.00
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    Grey and Black Cotton Ilkal Saree with Chikki Paras Border

    Handloom weaving in Karnataka's small town of Ilkal dates back to the 8th century. Ilkal sarees are distinguished by their borders, patterns and we...

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    Original price ₹3,665.00 -Original price ₹3,665.00
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Ilkal sarees – history and technique behind the unique handloom weave from South India 

In the 19th century, to buy and own a fine piece of Ilkal saree was a matter of great prestige in Karnataka and parts of Maharashtra. Even in contemporary times, this traditional handloom weave of South India has sustained its cultural and social significance. While today one can easily shop for Ilkal sarees online, in the era gone by, monarchs would summon skilled weavers to weave special ones under royal decree. The sarees take their name after the town of Ilkal, located in North Karnataka, which has been thriving as a weaving hub for many centuries. Apart from their other distinguishing attributes, the most peculiar feature of Ilkal sarees is how the pallav is interlocked with the rest of the saree using a special technique called the kondi. While the cluster has acclimatised to some evolutionary changes, the weaving traditions have largely remained intact. 

History of Ilkal sarees and their cultural significance 

Throughout history, Indian handloom fabrics and textiles have enjoyed an enviable stature across the world. Distinct weaves from different parts of the country have gone on to be identified globally, by their place of origin. While Banarasi and Kanjeevaram sarees are among the names with higher recall value, there are numerous other regional treasures that continue to uphold their historical eminence and appeal. Ilkal sarees are among these and perhaps the most unique ones to come from South India. For many-many decades, they have been extremely popular in North Karnataka and Maharashtra. The conventional borders, patterns and designs associated with the sarees since the beginning, continue to characterise them even today. 

If legend is to be believed, Ilkal and the entire Bagalkot district it falls under, was an established weaving hub as early as the 6th century. The weavers claim to be descendants of a divine sage and their patron deity is Goddess Banashankari of Badami. Better documented official records and literary works confirm that Ilkal was a flourishing dyeing and weaving centre in the 19th century. The weaving activity enjoyed patronage of the royals and nobility. While initially only coarse cotton sarees were being woven, weavers gradually moved to fine cotton, silk and mix of both to make exquisite sarees as per the demand. These sarees have also been associated with auspiciousness and are a part of rituals during Diwali and Dusshera. Traditionally, a tope-tene Ilkal saree in red or black would be worshipped along a pot of water as offerings to Goddess Lakshmi.  

Ilkal has faced many a setback, be it due to the detrimental policies of the Britishers, the scarcity and steep price rise of cotton and silk yarns around 1940, subsequent collapse of the region’s dyeing network due to a huge dip in demand or as a result of competition from mill-made alternatives. Each time the weavers have adapted to the prevailing challenges and found a way to come back. From using different materials such as art silk to patiently incubating and adapting to new supply chains and methodology for dyeing the yarns in order to meet the desired quality, the Ikal weavers have shown their resilience in keeping the craft form alive, and are now gunning to spread its vibrancy far and wide. 

Borders, motifs and techniques used in weaving Ilkal sarees 

The distinctive features used to categorise an Ilkal saree are the different motifs on the pallav, chief among them being tope-tene and kyadagi. Next come the different border patterns, such as gomithini, chikiparas and gayatri. The body of the saree usually carries a geometric design, which is more often than not a check pattern. The standout feature of an Ilkal saree that makes it unique is how the pallav or seregu - as it is known in local parlance - is interlocked with the rest of the saree using a special technique called the kondi. The pallav is normally of a different colour than that of the main body of the saree. The two sets of warp yarns, of the body and the pallav, are fastened together by a continuous series of loops. Traditionally, the pallav would be woven in shades of red using pure silk yarns while the body may be of any colour woven using fine cotton, art silk or pure silk yarns. 

A typical Ilkal saree is woven on a hand-operated fly shuttle pit loom. It normally takes two people to weave the pallav and usually the husband and wife or father and daughter weave it together. Weaving is not just a generational craft, where the skills are passed on from one generation to the next, it is also a collective process with different family members performing specific roles. While it is mostly men working on the loom, women attend to ancillary work such as sorting, reeling, piecing etc. As the children grow up in to their teens, they too start supporting in various activities to start their learning process and develop their skills. 

Present scenario in Ilkal and tvami’s vision for its future 

There are a few thousand looms in Ilkal and nearly as many families that earn their livelihood through weaving. There are more than a couple of co-operatives actively working in the region and some master weavers and saree dealers through whom the trade flows. While the time and effort that goes in handweaving one lustrous Ilkal saree has not dipped, the premium it should fetch certainly has. Add to it rising raw material costs, stiff competition from sarees made in bulk on power looms and a general lack of awareness among customers to appreciate the artistic beauty of handloom sarees, the craft does face serious challenges.  

tvami is working with the co-operatives and more so with the small and marginalised artisans not under the ambit of established channels, to help them reach markets outside there sphere of influence. We are assisting them in innovating with designs, techniques and sourcing of raw materials while also marketing their products at a larger scale to draw consumer attention towards the innate beauty and cultural significance of these handloom sarees. We endeavour to secure bulk and retail orders and help the weavers earn a just premium for their hard work and fine skills. Buy Ilkal sarees online from tvami for weddings, daily wear or as gifts for your loved ones and be assured that you have acquired an authentic piece of artisanal heritage while also supporting  small artisans and their aspirations to gain prosperity through their craft.