Katki and Sambalpuri Saree: Understanding the Differences

Variety is the spice of life, but when it comes to choosing a saree, the options can be overwhelming. Ladies, can you relate? Today, we are here to introduce you to two elegant sarees – the Katki and Sambalpuri sarees. While some of you might be familiar with these names, others may not have tried them yet, but don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!

Katki saree is a traditional Ikat saree that features the verses of Gita Govinda. On the other hand, the Sambalpuri saree is a handwoven saree that undergoes a tie-dyeing process before weaving. Interestingly, one warp for Sambalpuri saree makes only 2-4 sarees, whereas for Katki, it can produce up to 30 sarees.

Katki saree is also known as Khandua and Maniabandi. Both sarees have their roots in Odisha, with Sambalpuri saree specifically originating from Sambalpur, Balangir, Boudh, Bargarh, and Sonepur. So, whether you’re a saree enthusiast or just curious about different types of sarees, read on to learn more about these beautiful traditional pieces.

What is a Katki/Khandua saree?

khandua pata saree for wedding

The Katki saree, also known as Khandua saree, is a type of saree traditionally woven using wooden looms and dyed in red, orange, or yellow colors. The red color used in this saree is made from the Shorea robusta (sal tree). It is known for being made from the highest quality traditional silk yarn or pure cotton. The Katki saree features various motifs, including an auspicious elephant depicting Buddha surrounded by a trailing vine with peacocks in it, a flower, and a unique Orissan animal called Nabagunjara, a deula kumbha. The saree is also renowned for its plain and temple borders, and it has cultural significance connected to Lord Jagannath.

In the present day, the Katki saree is popular among people from all walks of life. Odissi dancers and celebrities have been seen wearing this elegant attire on various occasions. The saree now features more variation in its borders and pallava style, with common motifs such as a star, temple, chakra, lotus, conch, rudraksha, fish, swan, peacock, parrot, deer, elephant, horse, lion, and more.

The beauty of the Katki saree lies in the intricate and elaborate process it undergoes, taking several hours to weave just one saree. This level of craftsmanship is what makes it so appealing to women. The Katki saree is unrivaled in its flawless execution and finish, which cannot be achieved by sarees made on a power loom. This saree is commonly worn for festive or celebratory occasions.

What is Sambalpuri saree?

The Sambalpuri saree is an ethnic and traditional handwoven saree that features motifs like shankha (shell), chakra (wheel), and phula (flower). These motifs are typically dyed using native Odia colors like red, black, and white, which represent Lord Jagannatha’s face color. Sambalpuri sarees are available in both cotton and silk fabrics and are woven using the double ikat method.

The process of making a Sambalpuri saree involves tie-dyeing the warp and weft threads, which are then arranged into a pattern for weaving. It takes several weeks to complete the entire process of weaving just one Sambalpuri saree. The saree comes in various varieties such as Sonepuri, Pasapali, Bomkai, Barpali, and Bapta saris, named after their places of origin.

Local women wear the Sambalpuri saree for traditional functions, marriages, pujas, parties, and other special occasions. Due to the expensive cloth material and handicraft of the workers, the Sambalpuri saree is a little expensive. It follows a “Baandha” craftsmanship where an arranged yarn is dyed according to a preconceived design.

Difference between Katki and Sambalpuri saree

Having gone through the information provided above, one can get a good understanding of Katki and Sambalpuri sarees, with their beautiful colors and motifs. However, if one wants to differentiate between the two or make a choice, it is necessary to delve deeper into their making processes and consider several factors.

1. Cost:

When it comes to traditional Odisha handloom sarees, the price tag often reflects the amount of skill and craftsmanship required to produce them. Khandua/Katki sarees and Sambalpuri sarees are two of the most popular and highly-regarded varieties, with each having their unique features and production processes. In general, Khandua/Katki sarees are less expensive compared to their Sambalpuri counterparts, though the cost can still vary depending on the specific Ikat patterns used. Sambalpuri sarees often feature more intricate and dense patterns, making them more costly to produce. However, both sarees are renowned for their high-quality silk and cotton materials, as well as their exquisite use of color and traditional motifs. Regardless of the price, both Khandua/Katki sarees and Sambalpuri sarees are highly coveted pieces of clothing that showcase the rich cultural heritage and artistry of Odisha.

2. Weight:

When comparing the weight of both sarees, it can be observed that the Katki saree is lighter than the Sambalpuri saree. This is because Sambalpuri Silk Sarees use Mulberry x Mulberry yarns (4ply x 4ply), making them weigh around 650 to 700 grams. On the other hand, Katki/Khandua Silk sarees use 2 Ply Bangalore x 3 ply Malda Silk, which is why they weigh around 380-450 grams.

3. Thread count:

The thread count is a significant factor in differentiating between Katki and Sambalpuri sarees. Katki sarees have a thread count of 2/100s x 2/100s, 2/80s x 2/80s, or 2/100s x 2/80s, with a reed and pick of 64 and 72. On the other hand, cotton Sambalpuri sarees have a thread count of around 2/120s x 2/140s or 2/120s x 2/120s, with a reed and pick of 72 and 76. In terms of warp, one Katki saree can have up to 30 sarees, while for Sambalpuri sarees, it is only 4 sarees per warp.

4. Manufacturing time:

The manufacturing process of sarees plays a significant role in their pricing and quality. The Sambalpuri saree, known for its intricate patterns, requires a tie-dyed process that is quite elaborate and time-consuming. It can take several weeks to make a single saree due to the complexity of the process. In contrast, Katki sarees are relatively easy to manufacture and can be made in just a few tens of hours. This difference in manufacturing time reflects in their pricing, with Sambalpuri sarees being more expensive than Katki sarees. The artistry and expertise required for making a Sambalpuri saree contribute to its value and cultural significance, making it a popular choice for traditional events and occasions. Katki sarees, on the other hand, are known for their simplicity and elegance, making them a versatile choice for everyday wear.

5. Motifs:

The motifs used in Sambalpuri sarees and Katki sarees showcase the unique culture and heritage of Odisha. Sambalpuri sarees, which are primarily manufactured in the Sambalpuri and Bargarh regions of Odisha, feature three main motifs – flowers, wheels, and shells. The tie-dyeing process and the use of Ikat patterns create intricate designs on the sarees. On the other hand, Katki sarees, which are made in the village of Nuapatna, incorporate auspicious elephants, flowers, and unique Odia animals as major motifs, along with other common motifs like stars, temples, chakras, conches, rudraksha beads, fish, swans, peacocks, parrots, deer, and more. The designs on Katki sarees are less intricate and dense than those of Sambalpuri sarees, making them a more affordable option. Both sarees showcase the skill and artistry of the weavers in Odisha, making them a treasured part of the state’s cultural heritage.

6. Origin:

Sambalpuri sarees and Katki sarees are two traditional handwoven sarees that originate from Odisha. Sambalpuri sarees are manufactured in the Sambalpuri and Bargarh regions of Odisha, whereas Katki sarees are manufactured in Nuapatna. The weavers in these regions are skilled in the art of weaving and use traditional techniques to create beautiful and intricate designs. Both sarees are made using the double ikat method and feature unique motifs that are symbolic of the Odia culture. Sambalpuri sarees are known for their dense and elaborate patterns, which take several weeks to make, while Katki sarees are comparatively lighter and have simpler motifs. The cost of these sarees also differs due to the materials used and the intricacy of the design. However, both sarees are highly valued for their craftsmanship and are worn for special occasions such as weddings, pujas, and festivals.


After going through all the details about Katki and Sambalpuri sarees, it is evident that the two types of sarees have their unique features and are equally beautiful in their own way. While Katki sarees are less fine and weigh less than Sambalpuri sarees, the latter has more elaborate and dense patterns and uses a tie-dyeing process that takes several weeks to complete. However, when it comes to cost, Khandua/Katki sarees are generally less expensive compared to Sambalpuri sarees, although this also depends on the Ikat patterns used. Ultimately, the choice between the two types of sarees is a matter of personal preference, depending on factors such as the desired weight, design, and budget. Regardless of the choice made, both Katki and Sambalpuri sarees are unique, elegant, and a testament to the rich cultural heritage of Odisha.

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