K for Kotpad

How should one begin to describe something simple and stunning? Certainly not by using obfuscating patois.  So here it goes…the Kotpad is a simple and stunning tribal woven saree from the coastal parts of Orissa. Here it is.

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This is not a saree, but a cotton Kotpad dupatta, an award winning one at that. 

You may have seen this woven fabric more often used as a dupatta and it often gets mistaken for a shawl. Which it is not. Made from a thick, coarse cotton, the Kotpad is an all season friendly fabric with a surprisingly beautiful fall. Of course, like most woven sarees, Kotpad is also now available in pure cottons, Tussar silks and silk-cotton blends.

Identifying this saree is not difficult at all. It is a basic design with basic tribal motifs. And even it cannot be faulted for its beauty or its elegance. A Kotpad saree is usually a basic off-white with a warm, dark red border or ‘patta’. The warm red of the saree is made from the dark red vegetable dye from the root of the aul tree grown in the region. (Wikipedia).

Another distinctive and for me, a winning feature of this saree, other than the colour combination of the saree, are the tribal motifs that are woven. Most sarees carry a few distinctive motifs, but the dupatta shown above carries a lot of motifs.

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A set of tribal motifs on the Kotpad dupatta. My favourite is the Tulsi with two women at the side. Absolutely delightful.

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On the same dupatta, some more motifs. They love their fish – adding it to their meals and in their design. Look for fish motifs when buying a Kotpad. I am told, it is special.

And of course, as all so many sarees go, by now we all know that Kotpad is actually the name of a town in the Koraput district in Odisha. (Wikipedia).

Here is a Kotpad gallery, all courtesy www.jaypore.com.

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A cotton Kotpad saree. Image courtesy and copyright http://www.jaypore.com

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A tussar silk Kotpad saree. Image courtesy and copyright http://www.jaypore.com

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A cotton Kotpad saree. Image courtesy and copyright http://www.jaypore.com

Get a kotpad for your wardrobe from an authentic source, or a handloom exhibition that visits your city. A little bit to keeping that wardrobe diverse and keeping a tribal heritage alive.

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