As promised, I am back with some more Khada Dupatta news for you all!
For this post, I had a little chat with someone whose family has been in the karchob and dupatta making business for more than seven decades now, Arif Mia Karchobwale. He has been designing and making clothes for my family for years. If I have to give him a name I would call him a ‘karchob magician’. Seriously, his craftsmanship is simply flawless. He was so kind to patiently take me through the entire journey of making a khada dupatta and also gave me an insight into his business.
As we started discussing the regal khada dupatta, Arif Mia corrected me and said it was originally called ‘Chohashiya’ and that those in his line of work still maintain the same name for it today.
Arif Mia recalled, “my father Afzal Mia Karchobwale has been in the business for close to seventy to seventy-five years now. Although he has taken a backseat from the day-to-day activities, he is still around, giving us his expertise, but I have taken over his business now. We have had the privilege of making outfits for all the Nawabi families (aristocrats/nobles) of Hyderabad including princess Esra and women of the Pataudi’s family, among the other elitists. We still cater to them.”
Moving on, Arif Mia told me a little more about the different khada dupattas – the sancha (with real silver thread embroidery) and the non-sancha, or the regular dupatta.
The entire process of making a khada dupatta, or ‘chohashiya’, in itself is a time-consuming activity. But if one wants to opt for a sancha dupatta, then you have to start making it well in advance.
According to Arif Mia, in the olden days, the real silver thread was easily available as it was used quite extensively for making clothes and for other embroidery activities. However, now he sadly states that the use of the thread has become very rare and only a handful of people are opting for this fabric as it is extremely expensive given the craftsmen who make this thread have become very sparse.
He says “We were making a lot of sancha dupattas till about a decade or so ago. But now it has become very rare. The reason is mainly because the number of craftsmen who make this thread and fabric have diminished. This has caused the prices of these dupattas to soar. This is another reason people are discouraged from opting for one. Also we need at least six to eight months to make a sancha dupatta, although it depends on the amount of karchob or embroidery the client wants on their dupatta and nowadays people don’t have so much time or patience. Hence the sancha dupattas are becoming very rare.”
Red georgette khada dupatta with intricate karchob, all done with pure silver thread. This sancha dupatta was made in the 1940s and was first worn by my great grandmother. Now, I am the proud owner of this elegant chohasiya that I wore in 2014. It still looks as dazzling as ever!
The Khada dupatta directory
As I pointed out, my first choice will always be Arif Mia Karchobwale.
You can find his store at the Laad Bazaar in the old city of Hyderabad. His store goes by the name – “Afzal Mia Karchobwale”.
If you are tempted to get a gorgeous chohasiya made for yourself or even just a traditional Indian dress, give him a buzz on +91 74165 80170 for order enquiries.
There are a few other Karchobwalas or boutiques in Hyderabad who undertake orders for the khada dupattas including A.H Zariwale, Adaa boutique and Hafiz Zari Art to name a few store options.
Behind the scenes: Khada Dupattas in the making at Arif Mia’s Kaarkhaana (workshop)
Readymade Khada Dupattas-Helpful for some last minute shopping
Incase you are short of time and need an outfit urgently, a lot of shops have opened up that sell ready-made khada dupattas for quite a reasonable price in the old city areas of Hyderabad, among other locations in the city. That said, you might have to compromise with the superiority of the karchob work and the quality of the fabric as the embroidery and borders are all done by machine as opposed to the hand and intricate zardozi work done by the fine kaarchob masters.
The Karchobwalas are of the opinion that these ready made outfits lack the richness and elegance of the made to order ones. Nevertheless, you might be lucky to find a good one on the streets of the Land Bazaar and the old city which might be as per your taste!
Future of the Khada Dupatta
In my opinion, the royal Chohasiya or the Khada dupatta is dying a slow death.
It is an outfit that has stayed continuous only with Hyderbadis and has remained conspicuously absent from the fashion scene of rest of the India. In-fact, no known Indian designer has ever showcased this outfit as part of their collections or tried to revive it, this is also leading to the fading appearance of the khada dupattas at Indian weddings in and outside India as not many Indians living outside Hyderabad ever get to learn about the elegant Chohasiyas.
Well, I am hopeful my blog post will enlighten readers about the royal Hyderabadi fashion and make it popular among the non-Hyderabadis as well.
My pink bridal khada dupatta