Kota Doria, also called Kota Dori, is a distinctive woven fabric with a unique square-checked pattern crafted on fine silk, cotton or a blend of these two fibres. The cotton provides strength to the fabric, while silk makes it more lustrous and lends it a softer touch.
The name Kota Doria itself indicates the origin of the craft. Kota, a town situated in southern parts of Rajasthan, hosts several clusters, which have been weaving delicate muslin saris, called Kota Doria or Kota Masuria. The word ‘Dori’ literally translated from Hindi, means ‘threads’.
Though the saris found in Rajasthan have a high yarn count, Kota is famous for its fine weaves and low yarn count, primarily due to the presence of Chambar, a perennial river, which makes the air moisture-laden. The greenery present in the otherwise dry state and the presence of black soil also contributes the cultivation of excellent quality cotton in the area. Kota has the distinction of being one of the three fine count cotton producing regions in the northern part of India, the other two being Chanderi and Maheshwar.
The fabric is made up of square checks in a variety of sizes and colours. Gold zari is also used to make the weave more exquisite and therefore desirable. Various fancy yarns can also be inserted for the sake of variety. Different beating of cotton and silk yarns results in a characteristic Kota Doria look. A square comprising 14 yarns – eight of cotton and six of silk – makes the most common Kota Doria, referred to as ‘khat’. Alternative looks can be created by varying this khat size according to the requirements.
Kota Doria has also been deemed as a Geographical Indication (GI) for its uniqueness and its connection to the traditions and customs of the people of the region.