Maheshwar is an ancient town in Madhya Pradesh made famous by a benevolent queen who once ruled over that territory and designed the first saree.
The Maheshwari Saree, usually woven in cotton, is characterised by its simplicity yet, with a few singular touches takes on an irresistible charm. The body is plain or has stripes or checks, which have several variations. The plain ones are known as chandrakala, midnight blue and baingani chandrakala, woven with a blackish violet warp and a chocolate weft. Chandratara, the moon and star design, has lengthwise stripes of two shades and the pattern is arranged with four stripes of one shade alternated by one stripe of another shade.
A speciality of Maheshwari is its reversible border, so either side can be worn which is locally known as bugdi and consists of lifting of warp threads and passing the weft threads between these for making a particular design. Maheshwari Pallu is also distinctive, with five stripes, three coloured and two white alternating, running along the width and in each of the white, four lines of the same colour are inserted. These sarees are now made in cotton and artificial silk mixed, and a few in pure silk.