New at Unnati : Delicate Mangalgiri Silk Sarees with Handcrafted Rich Nizam Zari Borders


Managalagiri, temple town and pride of Andhra Pradesh, India, is generally known for its fine handloom sarees mostly in cotton, cotton-silk or mercerized cotton. There is a marked use of bright golden and sometimes inclusion of shining silvery grey zari and being a town known for its temples, the auspicious temple design always figures someplace, most times along the border of the saree.

Unnati Silks and its Mangalagiri silk sarees

There is a particular range in the last couple of months where pure handloom silk saree has been preferred. Cotton saree when covered with lots of zari gets enhanced in appeal, automatically. But when it is a rich material like silk that has to be combined with a lustrous material like zari, it requires imagination and creativity.

What are the highlights of this new range of Mangalagiri Silk sarees that catch the eye?

  • There is a silent creation of pattern in the traditional checks that come as a self colored weave on the main body. The border is a magnificent affair – wide, shiny and eye-catching, through a evenly spaced number of parallel zari linings all along the length of the border. The Pallu or the hanging portion, has golden zari linings at even intervals on the width of the Pallu portion, be the base plain or with the self colored checks.
  • Nothing unusual when one hears, but a visual feast for the eyes when one perceives the judicious choice of colors and the vibrant look.
  • The popular temple design runs all along the length of the border in golden zari and the border in golden gets flanked by well chosen colored borders either side of it, making it a most attractive picture for the onlookers.
  • Pleating is an art and when a woman tends to dress carefully with the front pleats in neat array, it is lovely to look with the golden portions very much catching the gaze.
  • Coming to the choice of colors, the selection has been done with care. Where vibrancy is a natural outcome of the use of shimmer and shine from silk and zari, it is the color combinations that enhance the appeal and allure. Picture combinations of body border base as parrot green-brown, vibrant orange-sky blue, vibrant light blue-turmeric yellow, magenta-orange etc. that make this collection special and sensational. There is a black and golden affair that is simply irresistible. You also have plain sarees covered in golden zari checks.

It is altogether an attempt to create a rich and royal looking affair for the wearer, from a look of admiration to envy for the onlookers.

What is special about the Mangalagiri saree?

In fact, the Mangalagiri handloom, has several unique and striking features that make them stand out.

  • It gets as good as it can go. Thread counts or the thread density per square inch is what makes it standout as a fine handloom worthy of even export. The diaphanous or gossamer appearance is a traditional quality that has survived over time.
  • The use of zari is judicious and creative, making it part of a well thought-out plan. Be it the border, as part of the motifs or enhancing the pallu’s striking appearance.
  • The experimentation with colours is phenomenal with basic designs given a new meaning with thrilling combinations that fuel the imagination of the buyers.
  • The Nizam border saree, unique to the Mangalagiri handloom sarees, has tiny gopurams across the borders and showcases the religious fervor of the people in the backdrop of the three Narayan Swamy temples of the place.
  • Pleasing kaleidoscopic effects like greenish yellow, sunset orange, deep yellow result from imaginative creations.
  • The use of bootis ( small woven motifs), stripes, checks pattern is done with the finesse of maestros. The weaving technique by itself is so very skilled in its execution, that it would be difficult to distinguish from a jacquard woven design and that on a regular weave
  • The weavers of the region believe in experimentation and try and benefit from the monetary appreciation of the market through their tasteful creations. They also form part of a co-operative effort bent on encouraging one and all through purposeful and effective marketing.

‘Nothing succeeds like success’ is a well-known quote that finds meaning with every single effort that the Mangalagiri clan of ethnic practitioners, make, for all the products that they weave. No wonder the woven handloom fabric has always stood true to the test of time – as a fine piece of artistic work that has all the blessings of the Lord, and a lot of devotion in the threads.

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