KAKINADA: The Jamdani sarees of Uppada Kothapalli mandal in East Godavari district have won geographical Indications (GI) after two decades of relentless struggle by weavers. The Jamdani workers had filed their claim in the office of the Registrar of Patents (ROP) at Chennai 20 years ago. It has been a long wait but now the craft has been accorded recognition of its uniqueness , with the GI stipulating that the saree be produced in Uppada only. Now, the weavers stand to gain both in terms of monetary compensation and international fame. The base fabric for Jamdani is unbleached cotton yarn, while bleached cotton yarn is used for the design so as to create a light and dark effect.
Indian cotton textiles have been praised since antiquity.
Alexander the Great in 327 BC mentioned beautiful printed cotton in India, and it is said Roman emperors paid fabulous sums for the prized Indian cotton.
As for Jamdani, the most coveted design is known as panna bazaar (literally ``a thousand emeralds’’) in which a floral pattern is highlighted by jewel- like designs made of gold and silver thread.
Because of its intricacy, Jamadani has always been a highly expensive product. In the 17th century, Jamdanis were custom made for the Mughal emperor and, in general only the nobility could afford the fabric. The Maharaja of Pithapuram used it in his astanam.
The region in and around Dhaka became synonymous with the wonder fabric and for the Mughals it was fashioned into angarakhas worn by both men and women.
It also travelled from Dhaka through Agra to Bukhara, Samarkhand and other parts of West Asia.
Speaking to TNIE, Handlooms and Textiles assistant director Chandra Rao said that as many as 400 families were producing Jamdani sarees and these were exported to 108 countries.
Cotton Jamdani sarees costs between Rs 2,500 and Rs 5,000, while a silk saree costs between Rs 6,000 and Rs 16,000. The highest quality silk sarees can be worth as much as Rs 1 lakh.
A lot of effort is expended on the making of a Jamdani saree which can take upto a month’s work.