Nabakothi Khandua Saree: Odisha’s Unique Tradition and Sacred Symbolism

Nabakothi Khandua saree
Nabakothi Khandua saree

Nabakothi Khandua saree, a remarkable and scarce tradition of Odisha, holds profound cultural and religious significance. This authentic piece of art showcases nine unique motifs, symbolizing the auspicious number 9, which is deeply connected to various aspects of human life and spirituality. The Nabakothi saree is a reflection of Odisha’s rich heritage and religious beliefs, making it an exceptional choice for various ceremonies and events. In this article, we will delve into the historical origins, traditional weaving techniques, symbolism, and diverse varieties of the Nabakothi Khandua saree.

The Origins of Nabakothi Khandua Saree:

The roots of the Nabakothi Khandua saree can be traced back to the 12th Century AD, making it a heritage textile with a history spanning centuries. These sarees are intricately woven using wooden looms, following the traditional hand weaving techniques. The village of Nuapatna is a hub for this art form, with around 10,000 weavers and approximately 6000 looms dedicated to preserving this ancient craft. The weavers meticulously create each saree, infusing it with the cultural essence of Odisha.

The Significance of the Number 9:

The number 9 holds immense significance in the cultural and spiritual fabric of Odisha. It is associated with various elements such as Navarasa, Navami, Navaratri, Nabagraha, and the nine incarnations of human life. The Nabakothi saree’s design comprises nine unique motifs, each carrying its own symbolism. These motifs include the tortoise (kaincha), peacock feather (mayurpankh), wheel (chakra), and several others like sakatpar, phula, shankha, padma, parrot, elephant, singha, peacock, gada, kalash, fish, prajapati, etc. Each motif represents a specific aspect of life and spirituality, adding depth and meaning to the saree.

Connection with Lord Jagannath Temple Rituals:

The Nabakothi Khandua saree is closely associated with the rituals of the famous Lord Jagannath Temple in Puri. It plays a vital role in various religious ceremonies and is considered a sacred offering to the deity. Devotees often wear these sarees as a mark of respect and devotion during temple visits and religious festivals. This association has contributed to the saree’s religious significance and has led to its popularity among devotees and tourists alike.

Weaving Tradition and Artistry:

Hand weaving is the primary method employed to create the Nabakothi saree. The skilled weavers of Nuapatna and Maniabandha meticulously weave each saree with utmost precision, passing on the craft from generation to generation. The process involves intricate calculations, precise placement of motifs, and skillful color combinations. The weavers use natural dyes to enhance the vibrancy of the saree. The labor-intensive process reflects the weavers’ dedication to preserving their cultural heritage and producing exquisite pieces of art.

The Diverse Varieties of Khandua Sarees:

Apart from the Nabakothi or Nabarangi saree, various other types of Khandua sarees are also woven in the region. These include Tarabali, Gitagobinda vastra, and Sambalpuri Double Ikat saree. Each variety boasts unique designs and motifs, reflecting the diverse artistic expressions of the weavers. These sarees exhibit intricate detailing, vibrant colors, and a fusion of traditional and contemporary patterns, catering to a wide range of preferences.

Versatility of the Khandua Fabric:

The Khandua fabric is not only revered for its historical significance but also for its exceptional quality. It is known for its durability, fine texture, and lightweight nature, making it an excellent choice for high-end garments and traditional wear. The saree’s intricate motifs and vibrant colors add an aura of elegance and charm, making it the perfect attire for various occasions such as weddings, festivals, and cultural events. With its traditional motifs and vibrant colors, the Nabakothi Khandua saree embodies the essence of the culture, making it an ideal choice for puja ceremonies, functions, and various other events.


The Nabakothi Khandua saree stands as a testament to Odisha’s rich cultural heritage and religious beliefs. Its sacred symbolism, intricate motifs, and skilled craftsmanship make it a unique and cherished tradition. The weavers of Nuapatna and Maniabandha continue to preserve this art form, ensuring that future generations can appreciate and embrace the beauty of the Nabakothi saree. By wearing this exceptional piece of art, one not only adorns themselves with a beautiful garment but also carries a piece of history and tradition with them. The Nabakothi Khandua saree truly embodies the essence of Odisha’s culture, making it a prized possession and a symbol of cultural identity.

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