Pochampalli Ikat is named after a small town Pochampally near Hyderabad, Aandhra Pradesh.. The technique of Ikat weaving, which requires true precision and skill, is believed to be brought in the town of Pochampally from Chirala where it is locally called as chit-ku.
The intricate geometric design finds their way into the hands of skillful weavers and makes it to the market as beautiful sarees. Earlier only sarees were woven of Ikat but now dress material, fabric yardages, dupattas and scarf`s are also woven.
The word “Ikat” comes from the Malay-Indonesian word for ‘tie’; it was introduced into European sources of textile technology and history in the early twentieth century when Dutch scholars began paying attention to the rich textile traditions of the Netherlands Indies, the present-day Indonesia. Depending on whether the tied fibres are applied to the warp or weft, the technique is identified as either warp Ikat or weft Ikat. A third variety, double Ikat, combines both warp- and weft-tied resist. For the pattern to be visible, the resist-dyed thread system has to be the prominent one, so for warp Ikat, the weave has to be warp-faced, and weft Ikat needs a weft-faced structure, which means that either warp or weft is predominantly visible. Plain weave is especially suitable for showing the Ikat’s design, but for weft Ikat, a twill weave may also be used. Double Ikat, where the design is built up from both systems, should ideally by woven in a balanced weave, with warp and weft equally visible. All textile fibres may be used for Ikat, although silk and cotton is the most common ones.
The manufacturing history of Pochampally Ikat dates back to 1970. It has been said that at that time some village headmen of pochampally decided to weave silk along with cotton to make a better living. Two young weavers were sent to learn the secrets of the art to
Bangalore. This was the beginning of a revolutionary era in the Pochampally handloom industry.
Most evidences suggest that Ikat weaving began in the late nineteenth century. Pochampally in Nalgonda district is famous for its Ikat sarees. It is not the only town where Ikat sarees are woven, however as many towns in Nalgonda, Hyderabad and Guntur districts
such as Chirala, Golkonda and Jalna are some of the known centres of pochampally Ikat sarees. The Ikat weaving is called by the name of “Chit-ku” in these places.
Since the 1960’s Pochampally Ikkat-weavers were influenced by the pallu designs of Gujarat. The reasons for this influence could be many. Migration of the weavers could be one of them. However, there are some experts who feel that more than migration it could be influence of the print media which could be one of the major reasons. “Weavers have probably seen the Gujarati designs either in a magazine or might have actually seen one of the patola fabrics. It is also possible that weavers came across the designs at a handloom exhibition and copied the design, says some experts.
Most evidences suggest that Ikat weaving began in the late nineteenth century, when most of the original textiles were large scarves (rumal) made for export to Arabia. Only poor local fishermen and the people of low classes wore these cloths. In present times, the weavers are employed from Dravidian (Telugu-speaking) Hindu communities, namely Padmasalis and Devangs.
Source : Girl standing in a veranda wearing a Pochampally saree, 1895, by Hermann Linde
Popular designers like Rahul Mishra are showing keen interest in the geometrical design of Pochampally Ikat, the designer dresses are for sale in the exclusive Taj Kazana stores located at all Taj Hotels across India. New products include home furnishings like curtains, table covers, utility related boxes, tissue paper boxes, ladies bags, photo frames, belts and necklaces.