Khandua (also called Maniabandi or Kataki) is a traditional “bandha” or ikat saree produced from Odisha. It is a significant textile, both aesthetically and culturally as a special variety of the same is worn by Lord Jagannath.
The origin of Khandua traces back to 12th Century AD and it is closely associated with Lord Jagannath Temple rituals at Puri, Odisha. The most significant feature of these clothes is that they contain texts of Gita Govinda on them.
The saree is originally designed in red, yellow, maroon, and cream color. The saree can be seen being used by almost all the Odissi dancers who have represented the dance form in India and abroad. The borders and the anchals consist of many varieties and each one of them are attractive and worth praising. Common motifs are star, temple, conch, rudrakshya, fish, chakra, lotus, swan, peacock, parrot, deer, elephant, horse, lion etc. The origin of all the designs is nature. It is the best of single ikat; one of warp and weft is tied and dyed prior to weaving. It gives excellent curvilinear ikat patterns in the finished weave.
The chief attraction of this saree is that it is made of traditional silk yarn and subsequently converted to beautiful fabrics and sarees. The quality of these yarns are tested with stringent guidelines and checked for impurities if any. They are entrusted with the production of quality yarns and thus the silk saree produced is consistently acclaimed worldwide. It’s also famous for its ‘temple borders’. The laudable appreciation of Khandua Saree is not confined to the people who wear them but from the expert designers and fabric specialist from across the globe.
The craft clusters:
Khandua is the weave of the single largest cluster in Odisha at Nuapatna. Khandua saree is woven with wooden looms in the traditional style of hand weaving and the whole village of Nuapatna is devoted to this traditional form of weaving. Here, 10,000 weavers are present with approximately 6000 looms. The weave varieties are Nabarangi, Tarabali, Gitagobinda bastra and a lot others. Maniabandha, located just 3 kms away from Nuapatna has a population of 3,500 and a total number of 384 looms. The two villages are synonymous with the production of Khandua.
Khandua was worn by the women of Odisha during wedding rituals, as it’s considered very pious and religious. This particular textile was very popular among the people of Odisha in the previous generations. But, it is losing its popularity in the current generation and is now endangered. Thousands of weavers are switching to other occupation to source their livelihood. And the weavers who are still continuing to produce the rich Khandua textile are exploited and not paid well. Khandua is not only an age-old traditional handloom fabric, but a fabulous fine fabric, which can be used for any high-end garments.
Significance and usage:
These sarees speak for love and passion of the art and the artist. It is a complex, elaborate process which takes tens of hours to weave just one saree. These sarees are treasured by women for their exquisiteness and opulence. The grandeur of these sarees in unparalleled and can never be attained by mill-made sarees.
Khandua sarees are made only with high quality natural fibers like cotton and silk, which make them light in weight and easy to carry. This makes the textile perfect for women of all age groups. They make a woman look elegant and breathtakingly beautiful at the same time; alongside helping the weavers. The Khandua sarees are so versatile that they can be styled up and down according to the occasion. They can be worn to an office and also to a wedding or a festival.
Khandua is one of the richest textiles of not only Odisha but also of India. It is the cultural heritage of Odisha which needs to be saved from extinction.