Maheshwari


Maheshwari fabric is produced in Maheshwar, an ancient city situated on the bank of the Narmada River in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. Maheshwar was once, one of the twin capitals of the ancient Indian kingdom of Avanti Mahajanapada during the time of Buddha. Avanti was famous for its international trade route passing through Ujjain to reach the west coast of India from where Indian fabric was exported to Persia and the Roman Empire. The present tradition of Maheshwari fabric begins with the patronage of Queen Ahilya Bai Holkar during the late medieval period. Maheshwari fabric, similar to Chanderi in fineness and its gossamer-like quality, is known for its unique geometric designs and excellent application of golden zari; in stripes, checks and floral borders. Maheshwari weavers use very fine thread counts of mulberry silk as warp and cotton as weft. Zari, the golden thread embellishing the reversible borders of Mahehswari fabric is procured from Gujarat a west Indian state. Upon the instruction of Queen Holkar weavers used motifs and symbols such as chatai (woven mat), linth (brick), hira (diamond), and chameli kiphol (a flower) in their designs, as seen carved on the royal forts of Maheshwar. The fabrics are also known by their rich organic colors although nowadays are also available in vibrant jewel tones as well.