Ikat is a weaving technique where the threads of the warp and/or weft are tied and pre-dyed before being woven. Ikats are normally of two types –single ikat, where only the warp is tie-dyed and interwoven with the weft, which is either uncoloured or has only one basic colour; and double ikats, where both warp and weft are tie-dyed and positioned in such a way that they work together to create the specific design with that signature bleed.
India has three main centres of Ikat weaving – Telangana , Orissa and Gujarat. Pochampally (Telangana) ikat uses double ikat technique and boasts of transferring the intricate design onto the fabric with nothing short of perfection. The colour of the fabric, like most ikat fabrics, is obtained from natural sources. The fabric itself alternates between cotton, silk and sico, which is a blend of silk and cotton. One of the most telling signs of a Pochampally silk sari is the intricate geometric design spread over the fabric.
Sambalpur (Orissa) Ikat uses a process called resist dyeing. Essentially, the core fabric materials used in the Orissa Ikat are silk or cotton. In this kind of Ikat, the weft or the warp yarn alone is dyed, hence it is called the single ikat.
The traditional Vichitrapuri sari has one of the oldest known designs recurring motifs of the deer, lion, elephant, geese, ducks in its end panel. The ikat textiles also served an important religious function.