As the oldest manufacturing industry in the country, Indian textiles enjoys a vast diversity. And while some weaves are fairly well-known, there are some that are only now finding a mention in the mainstream discourse on textiles.

India textiles


Key features


Arunachal Pradesh

  • The tribal communities in the state weave their own textiles, including the Apatani tribe. 
  • Eponymous(as named after the Apatani tribe) cotton weave has nature-inspired geometric designs, with blue, red and yellow-ish orange being the predominant colours. 
  • The fabric is generally used to weave shawls known as jig-jiro and jilan or jackets called supun tarii.



  • Literally meaning“oily handkerchief”.
  • The textile is a double ikat weave. 
  • The yarn is treated with oil and castor ash to help it retain its colour—hence the name. 
  • Each of the warp and weft yarns—which can be cotton or silk—are tied to the loom precisely before weaving. 
  • Usually, only three colours—red, white and black—are used to create geometric motifs. 



  • It is so wispy and airy that it is hard to believe that the Kota Doria is woven from both silk and cotton.
  • It's fine check pattern comes in various sizes, with each square known as khat.
  • It’s usually made up of 14 yarns, eight of cotton and six of silk, woven in a translucent way. 
  • They can also be printed upon or embellished with zari.



  • Ultra-fine, the Venkatagiri sari—which gets its name from the town it originated in.
  • It uses cotton and silk woven in a jamdani weave. 
  • Like the Gadwal sari, the body is of cotton and the borders of zari. 
  • The woven motifs are inspired by nature but are executed in a precise and distinctive fashion. 



  • One of the more utilitarian weaves, the Kunbi gets its name from one of the oldest communities in Goa. 
  • Woven from cotton, it comes in a simple check pattern, with different colour borders. 
  • Speciality of kunbi: Is the bright colour palette of red, yellow and green, all symbolic of the different stages of life. 



  • Among Odisha’s wide variety of textiles, the Bomkai—which gets its name from the village it is woven in.
  • It stands out for its extra weft(crosswire threads). 
  • The jala weaving technique results in the Bomkai’s ikat design. 
  • The initial designs are embroidered with thread on a frame and then interwoven with the ikat pattern on the loom. 
  • The textile is woven in both cotton and silk, with motifs inspired from nature.



  • Famous for its check patterns, the Koorainadu sari—which originated in a Tamil Nadu village of the same name.
  • It is the go-to ensemble for Hindu Tamilian brides. 
  • The sari is woven from silk and mercerized cotton yarn.
  •  The warp and weft alternate between silk and cotton in a ratio of 2:1, which gives the textile its sheen.



  • This durable silk textile from Assam, one of the costliest silks, is woven in a jacquard technique. 
  • The lustre increases with every wash. The woven motifs, mostly geometric, differ from one tribe to another. 
  • The fabric is usually used to make women’s garments, like the mekhela-chador and saris. 



  • This textile comes from the Lepchas, one of the three predominant tribes in Sikkim.
  • Traditionally, it was woven with nettle yarn but is now spun from cotton and wool too.
  • The cotton is used as a base to weave the wool in different geometric motifs in white, red, green and black colours. 
  • The textile is traditionally woven by women and is used to make women’s coats. Now accessories such as bags are also made from it.



  • One of the most difficult weaving techniques.
  • Kashmiri kani work is usually seen in pashmina shawls.
  • The intricate colour patterns seen in the flora and fauna motifs are woven separately from multiple yarn bobbins, one for each colour, using the interlocking twill tapestry technique. 



  • The cotton textile, which means “cloth”, is popular among Mizo women, and is particularly popular during festivals and special occasions.
  •  While the body is usually white, the pattern is in red, green and black.
  •  The weaving technique gives the cloth a raised, ribbed effect.

Also readNational Commission For Scheduled Tribes

Arunachal’s Tribes Revive Indigenous Lockdown Rituals

Source: Livemint

Image Source: The Textile Atlas