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In the heart of India, on the banks of Maa Rewa (Narmada River) lies the beautiful town of Maheshwar. This hidden gem of Madhya Pradesh, 91 kms from Indore, epitomizes everything that India is known for : history, culture, temples, forts, royalty, hospitality and a legacy of handwoven sarees – the regal Maheshwaris.


I was invited to visit Maheshwar, in January this year, by REHWA Society, to experience the town through their sarees and vice-versa. I spent three days in the quaint town, soaking in its old world charm, its stunning simplicity, its inspiring history and rich weaving heritage, while wearing some beautiful Maheshwari sarees from REHWA’s spring collection – Jashn, that I dubbed Jashn-e-Basant. I didn’t just wear the sarees and pose, at the breathtakingly beautiful Ahilya Fort, REHWA gave me an opportunity to see how and where they are woven and who weaves them.


REHWA’s unit, housed inside a heritage structure with a courtyard, is located right on the ghats of Narmada. It is run by solar energy.


Most weavers here are women. I have always believed that the first step towards empowering women is to make them financially independent. Fair wages/equal pay and safe work environments are critical to ensure this, REHWA is providing both to its women weavers.

The weavers feel at home here because they work in good conditions, their children get good education at the Ahilya School, that is funded by sales of the sarees they weave. They are paid well and their names get featured on product tags.  

A look at the tags will tell you how transparent they are about their product details too. It was such a reassuring experience for me to meet the weavers of REHWA. Especially, one of their oldest, the adorable Chandrabai.

Chandrabai told me that she comes to work even at this age because it helps her stay healthy and financially sound. She can’t weave sarees anymore but she still weaves beautiful Maheshwari stoles.

She, to me, is a truly empowered woman, earning her living respectfully and happily. It was a pleasure seeing how Chandrabai is revered like a बुज़ुर्ग । Buzurg (elder) here.



I was fascinated to see how the town itself is the inspiration for the sarees and how subtly the inspirations are reflected in them, only through their borders. The simple yet bold borders like the Narmada, Lehar and Chatai define the Maheshwaris. My favourite amongst them was the Diya border especially the one in combination with the Lehar and the ghats.


All the REHWA sarees are dyed in ‘azo-free’ chemical dyes and the water is released in the garden. They have also come up with a range of naturally-dyed products called ‘Prakriti’. This saree from the Prakriti collection has been naturally-dyed in Sappanwood or Indian Redwood.

REHWA collaborates with other craft clusters and supports them too. For instance, this saree was hand-block printed in Kutch in the authentic Ajrakh style.

I was amazed to see the work REHWA is doing. It made me believe that it isn’t impossible to build a green, ethical, sustainable brand that is preserving a heritage craft yet has such reasonably-priced products.

As I attended the simple, endearing Narmada Arti on the ghats, on my last evening there, I wondered –Maheshwar is exactly how I imagine India in my dreams! Clean, safe, welcoming with well-preserved architectural as well as craft heritage. It looked like a living dream! I really hope someday I can do something like this for the heritage, crafts and artisans of my city, Lucknow.

Thank you team REHWA for this experience of a lifetime

About the Author
Isha Priya Singh is a blogger, ethical & sustainable fashion enthusiast based in Dubai, UAE. According to her, she is a proud Hindustani, Lucknavi and in love with all things desi & drapy.
To read more blog posts by Isha, please visit desidrapes.wordpress.com
You can also follow her on Instagram @desidrapes


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