The “Telia Rumal” ….

I started this year with the idea that I must wear a Telia Rumal sari for my birthday. I fell in love with the design and the black-red-white combination. It was so stunning. I didn’t manage to get the sari in time for my birthday but got it in time for Krishnan’s birthday and it was special to wear it in Vizag the day we met with the Chegg India team (one of ShikshaDaan’s sponsors) and the Srujanavani team, one of ShikshaDaan’s partners in Vizag.

A little bit of history about the Telia Rumal – (Source –

Origin & History:

Telia Rumal literally means ‘ Oily handkerchief’. The craft has its origin in Andhra Pradesh and dates back to early 19th Century. Though it started in Chirala its currently practiced by a few weavers in Puttapaka village of Nalgonda district. The rectangular telia cloths were used as a veil/scarves by women and a multipurpose cloth by men ( turban,lungi, shoulder cloth ).

They were also exported to Asia Africa and other gulf countries. We are told that the printed replicas produced by Manchester textiles was the reason behind the decline of this craft. The technique was later adapted to create sarees and dupattas.

Process :

Telia rumal is a very intricate and laborious double ikat weave. As the name suggests the yarn is treated with oil The products used for the treatment of the yarn are sheep dung castor pod ashes and oil. The treated yarn which is used for the warp ( length ) and weft ( width ) is tied and dyed in accordance with a predetermined geometrical design.

Each of the warp and weft threads are individually positioned on the loom prior to weaving hence it’s crucial for the weaver to ensure perfection. Only 3 colors are traditionally used – red black and white in geometrical designs. Weaving a telia rumal needs a great amount of practice and perfection for the warp and weft to be meticulously converted to an artistic design. The number of motifs makes it more complex and difficult to weave.

Current scenario :

Puttapaka is a village in the Narayanpur mandal/samsthan of Nalgonda district of Andhra Pradesh . Its famous for its tie and dye sarees mainly the Telia Rumal. The community of weavers are known as the Puttapaka Padmashalis.

Only a couple of weavers from the Padmashali community are currently practicing this exquisite craft in the village of Puttapaka. Due to the laborious process of the oil treatment, it has been done away with and alizarin dyes are being used. It still takes over two months to weave a saree.

I didn’t get the Telia Rumal from Puttapaka, but I got it online on who probably sourced it from Puttapaka. Its also without the “tel” or oil, but its handwoven and my favourite chessboard motifs are on it. This is my first double ikat sari and I love it …. The following photographs are taken inside the hotel room at Vizag. The neckpiece is from Desh Maheshwari. The plan is to get the nine motif silk Telia next and Lakshmi is responsible for sourcing one because she got me hooked onto it by wearing hers :):). Do check out Lakshmi’s Facebook page – Kalpavastram to buy authentic handloom saris from all over India.

The Telia Rumal sarees are being revived by great handloom weavers like Shri Gajam Anjaiah. Read more about him here – Gajam Anjaiah. Whenever you buy saris, please buy atleast some handwoven saris and help in sustaining this art !


3 thoughts on “The “Telia Rumal” ….”

  1. Exquisite!
    Jai Ho to our weavers and people who are supporting the arts.


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