Threads of Heritage: Contrasting Sambalpuri and Khandua Sarees

Sambalpuri Saree VS Khandua Saree

Sambalpuri and Khandua sarees are two iconic textile treasures from Odisha, India, renowned for their intricate craftsmanship and cultural significance. While these sarees share common roots, they possess distinct characteristics that set them apart. In this article, we will delve into the fascinating world of Sambalpuri and Khandua sarees, exploring their differences in terms of weaving techniques, motifs, cost, popularity, and the cultural significance they hold.

Weaving Techniques:

Sambalpuri Saree: Sambalpuri sarees are a testament to the skill and artistry of the weavers. The crafting process of these sarees involves employing a double ikat weaving technique, where the warp and weft threads undergo tie-dyeing prior to being woven together. The meticulous process begins with the tie-dyeing of individual threads in vibrant colors, creating elaborate and intricate ikat patterns. Each thread is carefully dyed according to the desired design, and then they are arranged on the loom to create the final fabric. This complex process requires great precision and can take several weeks to complete a single Sambalpuri saree.

Khandua Saree: Khandua sarees, also known as Nuapatna sarees, are another marvel of Odisha’s textile heritage. These sarees are woven using a single ikat technique on traditional wooden looms. The yarn used for Khandua sarees is usually of the highest quality, made from traditional silk or pure cotton. The sarees are dyed in vibrant hues of red, orange, or yellow, derived from the natural color obtained from the bark of the Shorea robusta (sal tree). The motifs and designs in Khandua sarees are carefully woven into the fabric, reflecting the rich cultural heritage of Odisha.

Motifs and Designs:

Sambalpuri Saree: Sambalpuri sarees are renowned for their captivating motifs and designs. The range of motifs found in Sambalpuri sarees is vast and diverse, each carrying its own symbolic significance. These motifs often depict traditional Odishan art forms, natural elements like flowers and birds, cultural symbols, and geometrical patterns. Some popular Sambalpuri saree varieties include Sonepuri, Pasapali, Barpali, and Bapta sarees. Each variety originates from a specific region and showcases unique motifs that reflect the local traditions and artistic expressions.

Khandua Saree: Khandua sarees boast their own distinctive motifs that represent the cultural heritage of Odisha. The most prominent motif in Khandua sarees is the auspicious elephant, which is often depicted surrounded by a trailing vine with peacocks. This elephant motif symbolizes Lord Buddha and is considered highly auspicious. Another unique motif found in Khandua sarees is the Nabagunjara, a mystical creature from Odisha folklore. The motifs are intricately woven into the fabric, showcasing the skill and creativity of the weavers. Khandua sarees also feature plain and temple borders, adding to their elegance and charm. Some popular Khandua saree varieties include Nabakothi Saree and Sachipar Saree.

Cost and Popularity:

Sambalpuri sarees are known for their intricate and elaborate ikat patterns, which require intensive labor and skill. The intricate tie-dyeing process involved in creating Sambalpuri sarees contributes to their relatively higher cost compared to Khandua sarees. The craftsmanship and time invested in creating each Sambalpuri saree make them more expensive and sought-after by saree connoisseurs.

Khandua sarees, on the other hand, are relatively more affordable. Despite their lower cost, Khandua sarees exude elegance and sophistication, making them a popular choice among saree enthusiasts. It is worth noting that Khandua sarees are sometimes mistaken for Sambalpuri sarees due to their similar appearance. However, they have their own distinct weaving techniques and motifs that set them apart.


Sambalpuri and Khandua sarees are two exquisite textile marvels from Odisha, each possessing its own unique characteristics. Sambalpuri sarees captivate with their elaborate double ikat patterns and a wide range of motifs, showcasing the skill and artistry of the weavers. On the other hand, Khandua sarees enchant with their single ikat weaving technique, featuring the auspicious elephant motif and the Nabagunjara, reflecting the cultural heritage of Odisha.

Understanding the differences between these sarees allows us to appreciate the rich heritage and craftsmanship associated with Odisha’s traditional textiles. Whether it’s the intricate patterns of Sambalpuri sarees or the cultural significance woven into Khandua sarees, both these sarees symbolize the beauty and timeless appeal of Odisha’s rich textile traditions.

Major Differences between Sambalpuri and Khandua Sarees

Feature Sambalpuri Saree Khandua Saree
Weaving Technique Double Ikat Single Ikat
Motifs Various traditional designs Elephant, Nabagunjara, etc.
Cost Relatively more expensive Relatively more affordable
Popularity Known for intricate patterns Often mistaken for Sambalpuri

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