Nabakothi Khandua Saree: The Exquisite Weave of Odisha

Nabakothi Khandua saree
Nabakothi Khandua saree

The Nabakothi Khandua saree, a cherished treasure of Odisha, holds profound religious significance and authenticity. This exquisite silk saree features nine unique motifs, symbolizing the auspicious number nine and associated with various cultural and spiritual aspects. This article unveils the enchanting story behind the Nabakothi saree, delving into its historical roots, intricate motifs, and the traditional hand-weaving techniques employed by the skilled artisans of Odisha.

The Significance of Nabakothi Saree

The Nabakothi saree embodies the sacred power of the number nine, representing Navarasa, Navami, Navaratri, Nabagraha, and the nine incarnations of human life. This traditional saree features nine motifs called “Kothi,” which are horizontally arranged across the fabric. The Nabakothi Khandua saree boasts an array of captivating motifs that add a touch of allure and cultural significance. Among these motifs are the kaincha, inspired by the tortoise, mayurpankh, which mirrors the grace of peacock feathers, and the chakra, drawing inspiration from the iconic Konark wheel. Other motifs include sakatpar, phula, shankha, padma, parrot, elephant, singha, peacock, gada, kalash, fish, prajapati, and many more. These motifs, meticulously woven into the fabric, create a mesmerizing tapestry that tells the story of Odisha’s heritage and spirituality.

The Origin and Heritage of Khandua (Nabakothi)

The roots of Khandua (Nabakothi) can be traced back to the 12th century AD, and it is intricately connected with the rituals of the renowned Lord Jagannath Temple in Puri. These sarees are meticulously handwoven using traditional wooden looms, employing techniques passed down through generations. The village of Nuapatna stands as a dedicated hub for this traditional form of weaving, housing approximately 10,000 weavers and 6,000 looms. Other remarkable varieties, such as Tarabali and Gitagobinda vastra, are also woven in this region.

Weaving Techniques: Nuapatna and Maniabandha

Nuapatna, known for its vibrant handloom industry, serves as the primary hub for producing Nabakothi sarees. The weavers in Nuapatna employ traditional hand-weaving techniques, ensuring each saree is crafted with precision and artistry. The motifs are intricately woven into the fabric, creating a stunning tapestry of colors and patterns. Just 3 kilometers away from Nuapatna lies Maniabandha, a region renowned for its distinct weaving style. With a population of 3,500 and 384 looms, Maniabandha also contributes to the creation of Nabakothi sarees.

Evolution: From Manabandh Single Ikat to Sambalpuri Double Ikat Saree

The Nabakothi or Nabarangi theme, originating in the realm of Manabandh Single Ikat sarees, has transcended boundaries and found its way into the realm of Sambalpuri Double Ikat sarees. This evolution has broadened the horizons of the Nabakothi tradition, allowing its captivating motifs to be beautifully incorporated into both weaving styles. Whether it adorns a Single Ikat or graces a Double Ikat saree, the Nabakothi theme continues to flourish, captivating hearts with its timeless charm and exquisite craftsmanship. This transition has allowed the motifs of Nabakothi to be incorporated into both weaving styles, enhancing the versatility and popularity of these traditional sarees. Whether it’s the classic elegance of the Single Ikat or the intricate craftsmanship of the Double Ikat, both variations preserve the authentic essence of the Nabakothi tradition.

Cultural Significance and Symbolism

The Nabakothi Khandua saree showcases the richness of Odisha’s cultural heritage. The motifs and vibrant colors pay homage to the state’s traditions, making it an ideal choice for religious ceremonies, festivals, and other significant events. The saree’s distinctive charm and sacred symbolism make it a cherished possession for Odisha’s residents and a symbol of the region’s identity.

Beyond Tradition: The Versatility of Khandua

While Khandua sarees are deeply rooted in tradition, they are not limited to solely being heritage pieces. These fine silk fabrics have gained popularity beyond their historical significance, finding their way into high-end fashion. Designers and fashion enthusiasts appreciate the exquisite craftsmanship and the symbolic motifs of the Khandua saree, integrating them into contemporary designs and garments.


The Nabakothi Khandua saree stands as a rare gem, reflecting the cultural and religious beliefs of Odisha. Its association with the auspicious number nine and the meticulous craftsmanship involved in its creation make it an exceptional work of art. From the weavers’ hands in Nuapatna and Maniabandha to the hearts of those who wear it, the Nabakothi saree embodies the essence of Odisha’s heritage. This remarkable tradition, passed down through generations, continues to thrive, weaving together the threads of spirituality, craftsmanship, and cultural pride.

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