Updated: May 28
Named after the city of Ahmedabad, once known as Ashaval, which has been a brocade and silk weaving centre since at least the fifteenth century, the Ashavali is therefore also known as the Amdavadi or Amdavadi zari saree.
Ashavali brocade silk sarees are known for Gujarat's rich textiles that weaves its stories around birds singing, animals dancing and flowers blooming. In the early fifteenth century when Ahmed Shah took over the region now called Ahmedabad, named after the Bhil tribal king who ruled that region. There were around 200 weavers in Ashaval. However, over the centuries, industrialization, lack of demand for such fabrics because of changes in lifestyle, availability of less expensive fabric and migration of weavers to the other states of India, led to its decline up to the level of extinction.
But Somabhai Patel, one of the master weavers, did not let this textile go into oblivion. He continued weaving in his home at Ridrol village and gradually, with the support of his son, Vishnubhai Patel, the cluster was developed from one loom to 100 looms.
The saree looks characteristically like a Benarasi Brocade, and is even called an Ahmedabadi Brocade at times. The difference lies in the way the butis of the Ashavali look embossed, giving it a three-dimensional effect. Ashavali sarees are distinguished by the enamelled look of the border—which are sometimes woven onto Patola sarees—and the interwoven designs.