The Pasapalli Bandhakala

Saree would be most beautiful attire INDUS VALLEY CIVILISATION gave to this world. Even at the era of western attire, saree never fails to leave a mark. Amongst all the elegant handloom works like PAITHANIS, KHUNS, BANARASI etc; SAMBALPURI stands out. India’s culturally prosperous state ODISHA holds the crown for various sambalpuri textures like “barpalli”,  “sonepuri”, “bomkai”, “Pasapalli”.



PASAPALLI has been derived from the word PASA which means gambling games using chess board (as used in Mahabharata) and PALLI which signifies the print on pallu. The pasapalli sarees have detailed and complicated check patterns of contrast colours resembling the chess board which gives it such name. These chessboard print sarees have been in existence since the MAHABHARATA and RAMAYANA ages and served to look posh for centuries.

The exclusivity of the pasapalli saree is not just limited to its print but the process to weave such amazing texture is aristocratic. This lavishness is not just mere work of few days. The pasapalli saree requires a time period of three to four weeks of weaving to get into its complete form. There lies dedication of hundreds of weavers working for hours and days. The intricate finishing can never justify the amount of diligence a craftsman does to sum this gorgeous piece into its true form. The effort hides behind the polished work to get perfection to the beauty.


Weaving of Pasapalli

The craftsmanship takes its form when the material is dipped in boiled soap water to give it flexibility and uniformity throughout. The craft starts with spinning the yarn into spindles with charkha. The craftsman marks the patterns with a handmade measuring scale. The marked areas are tied to avoid the colours while the unmarked ones are dipped in colour. After this dozen of work, the shuttles are thrown to create patterns side by side. The distinctive design is a tied dyed weave art which is known as BAANDHA.  This ancient weaving form is called “bandhkala”. The pattern makes symmetrical prints on both side of the saree. The patterns are usually of wheel, conch, animals, architectural designs and various flora and fauna. In addition to this there are also designs of inspirational thoughts and messages making the print more exclusive. The thoughtful prints make the saree more superior and magnificent.


Texture of Pasapalli

The maze-like PASA textures makes it one of the most royal attire. The symmetrical print’s allurement raises the class. Sambalpuri saree are exceptionally famous throughout the nation. The saree’s market has geared up since the efforts of State and Central government since 1980. They got a class when honourable former prime minster and the iron lady Indira Gandhi herself started wearing these. This had promoted the print very fast and vastly. These sarees have got a national and international market for hand woven sarees along with market they also have received recognition and awards.

 At present, there are merely a handful of communities who work on this ancient craftsmanship. These communities belong to BARPALLI, SONEPUR and BAUNSHRI, in the Sambalpur district of Western Odisha belt. Sambalpur have been dedicating to this ancient artistry even after being discredited, not just in terms of attention but also in terms of decent livelihood. Even after so many awards and recognition the craftsmen’s back breaking effort stays in obscure frame. A little bowl of attention can save the worth of the crafts and craftsmanship before it vanishes to history books and museum.

Bottom Line

The Pasapalli sarees have their own charm. The preserver of the artistry would add feathers to cap of everyone attached to it, may it be communities, villages, district, state or the ones wearing it. The craftsmen work both on quality and comfort. The comfort and the dignity of this print are at the top notch.  Despite the sarees being expensive and classy, they are extremely soft, breathable and comfortable.  There’s another exclusivity of saree which makes it more unique is, it keeps you cool in summer and warm in winter. The prints are now also being made for kurtis, shirt etc along with saree. Owning this print just raises the pride of your cupboard and yours. The most extraordinary part of the print is it can be worn to functions to meetings to parties without thinking twice. The one who wears the prints always catches the attention of the arena.


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