Discover the Rich Heritage: Odisha Handloom Sarees – Sambalpuri, Khandua, Berhampuri Sarees


The saree is a timeless symbol of grace, beauty, and cultural heritage. This fabric, meticulously draped around the body, not only highlights a woman's elegance but also tells a story of tradition and craftsmanship. Among the many varieties of sarees, handloom sarees hold a special place due to their unique weaving techniques, intricate designs, and deep-rooted history. This blog explores the essence of handloom sarees, focusing on the exquisite Odisha handloom sarees, their historical significance, and the unmatched craftsmanship behind each piece.

The Essence of Handloom Sarees

Handloom sarees are woven manually on a hand-operated loom. Each saree showcases the weaver's skill and dedication, reflecting a tradition passed down through generations. Unlike machine-made textiles, handloom sarees are crafted with great care, often taking weeks or even months to complete. The result is a luxurious product that supports sustainable fashion, local artisans, and reduces the environmental impact associated with mass-produced clothing.

The Cultural Significance of Handloom Sarees

Wearing a handloom saree is more than a fashion statement; it's about preserving our rich cultural heritage and supporting the livelihood of weaver families. By choosing handloom, we contribute to the economy, foster self-reliance, and ensure that these traditional skills are not lost. Handloom sarees are versatile and flattering for women of all sizes, symbolizing the strength and beauty of Indian women.

Odisha Handloom Sarees: History and Craftsmanship

Odisha, a state in eastern India, is famous for its rich textile tradition. Odisha handloom sarees are celebrated for their intricate designs, vibrant colors, and superior craftsmanship. Many of these sarees have received Geographical Indication (GI) tags, signifying their unique origin and quality as mentioned below

Sambalpuri Ikat Sarees

Origin and History: Sambalpuri Ikat sarees come from the Sambalpur region of Odisha. "Ikat" refers to the dyeing technique used to create patterns by resist-dyeing the threads before weaving.

Weaving Technique: The process begins with selecting cotton or silk threads. These threads are then tie-dyed following intricate patterns, a process called "Bandha." Once dyed, the threads are woven into sarees on handlooms.

Unique Patterns: Sambalpuri Ikat sarees are known for bold, geometric patterns and traditional motifs like shankha (shell), chakra (wheel), and phula (flower). They come in vibrant colors, perfect for festive occasions.

Utkalalakshmi Sambalpuri Double Ikat Silk Saree - Odisha Handloom | Bidyut Fashion House - Bidyut Fashion

Image showcasing a Utkalalakshmi Double Ikat weaving sambalpuri Silk Saree from Odisha handloom textile

Bomkai Sarees

Origin and History: Bomkai sarees, also known as Sonepuri sarees, originated the Ganjam district. These sarees blend tribal and traditional art, reflecting the region's heritage. Ganjam bomkai sarees are mainly woven in cotton are coarse , and thick in texture where as Sonepur Bomkai sarees are woven in both 120 count soft cotton as well as in mulberry silk.

Weaving Technique: Bomkai sarees are woven on traditional pit looms using cotton and silk threads. The weaving involves an extra-weft technique, where motifs are woven into the fabric using a separate shuttle.

Unique Patterns: These sarees have contrasting borders and pallu, adorned with intricate designs such as fish, lotus, and tribal patterns. The vibrant colors make them suitable for casual and formal wear.

How to difference between Ganjam Bomkai Saree, and Sonepur Bomkai Saree:
Odisha handloom Ganjam Bomkai Cotton Saree - Bidyut Fashion

Image showcasing a Ganjam Bomkai Phoda kumbha pattern weaving cotton saree from Odisha handloom textile- originated from Bomkai village in Ganjam district

Odisha handloom Bomkai Silk Saree - Bidyut Fashion

Image showcasing a Sonepur Bomkai silk saree from Odisha handloom textile 

Berhampuri Patta Sarees

Origin and History: Berhampuri Patta sarees come from Berhampur, often called the "Silk City" of India. These sarees have been woven for over 200 years and are known for their lustrous silk fabric.

Weaving Technique: Berhampuri Patta involves fine mulberry silk threads. The sarees are woven on traditional looms, and the intricate designs are created using the "Jala" technique. Overtime multicolor ikat weaving new designs on palla has got the attention of saree lovers, and popularly double palla Berhampur Patta saree been a saree of choice

Unique Patterns: These sarees are characterized by temple borders using phoda kumbha technique and intricate motifs inspired by nature and mythology. The pallu features elaborate designs, adding to the saree's grandeur.

Image showcasing a berhampuri patta silk saree with traditional extraweft pallu design with phoda kumbha temple border from Odisha handloom textile 

Khandua Sarees

Origin and History: Khandua sarees are traditionally woven in Nuapatna and Cuttack. These sarees hold great religious significance and are used in rituals and temple offerings.

Weaving Technique: The primary material is silk or cotton. The unique feature of Khandua sarees is the "ikat" technique, where the warp threads are tie-dyed to create designs. A special local silk is used in the traditional khandua silk called Malda silk - a local mulberry silk from Malda district. Traditional khandua sarees were usually body silk and their palla uses silk cotton and usually comes without saree blouse but Overtime weavers have introduced new exceptional ikat designs using along with Malda , Bangalore mulberry silk, silk palla, and some of sarees comes with blouses

Unique Patterns: Khandua sarees are known for their beautiful motifs, including traditional scripts, geometric patterns, and floral designs. The use of natural dyes adds to their uniqueness. Nabakothi, Taraballi, Sachipar are some of popular designs of Khandua silk saree.

Odisha handloom Nuapatna | Ikat Silk Saree - Bidyut Fashion

Image showcasing a traditional taraballi design Khandua Ikat silk saree from Nuapatna weaving from Odisha handloom textile

Kotpad Sarees

Origin and History: Kotpad sarees come from the Koraput district and are woven by tribal communities.

Weaving Technique: These sarees use natural cotton and natural dyes from the Aul tree. The entire process, from dyeing to weaving, is done by hand. The very traditional colors of Kotpad were off-white, maroon, dark grey. But, now a days new natural colors from indigo, turmeric, beetroot etc. are used to bring new colors.

Unique Patterns: Kotpad sarees are recognized for their earthy colors and simple yet elegant designs, featuring tribal symbols, animals, and nature-inspired patterns and traditional kotpad are 40 thread count ,coarse, and thick weights around 900-1000 gms whereas Weavers to get a sustainable business started making light weight 120 count Kotpad sarees to accommodate some customer preference to wear light weight. Also Kotpad comes in Tussar cotton mix too.

Natural Dye Kotpad Saree

Image showcasing a traditional off-white color Kotpad cotton Saree from Odisha handloom textile - 40 thread count, thick,and coarse traditional kotpad Saree

Supporting Handloom Sarees

Choosing handloom sarees supports sustainable fashion. It helps preserve traditional art forms and promotes eco-friendly practices. Handloom sarees are not just garments; they are a legacy of our cultural heritage, woven with love and precision.


Odisha handloom sarees are a testament to India’s rich textile tradition. Each saree is a work of art, reflecting the weavers' skill and dedication. By embracing these beautiful creations, we celebrate our cultural heritage and contribute to the sustainability of the fashion industry. Whether it’s the intricate patterns of Sambalpuri Ikat or the regal charm of Berhampuri Patta, Odisha handloom sarees offer something unique for every saree lover. Let’s support and cherish these timeless pieces, ensuring they continue to grace our wardrobes and lives for generations.