Hosa Arambha Glossary


From the many oral and historic references of the weaving community the below myth about the origin of the Padmashali community has influenced the design pattern and technique in this phase of the Hosa Arambha project. Here we want to share a project related glossary that will help you understand the story behind the motifs woven on your saree.

Mythological Story of the Padmashali Community

‘The celestials came to Markendaya rishi to provide clothing to the gods. He performed a ‘Yagna’ (a fire sacrifice) to Indra (motif 01) and out of that emerged Bhavana Rishi who is also known as a Pancha Bhuta (motif 02) , or the one born from five elements. He used his body to build a loom (motif 03) and lotus thread that sprang from Vishnu’s navel (motif 04) to weave the garments for all the gods and goddesses. Subsequently he married Bhadravati, daughter of the sun (motif 05) and begat sons of which one hundred became the ancestors of the Padmashali’s (motif 06) and the remaining one the progenitor of the Pattushali’s. His sons are taken to Lord Vishnu to get blessing to carry on the weaving tradition that was begun by him and the Lord present each of the sons with a lotus seed and says that this seed will grow into a cotton bud and are given instructions by Lord Shiva (motif 07) on “how to draw this material of greater density into yarn” (Kwalra,2018 , pp.93 ). When the Padmashali’s ask why would they have to draw cotton thread rather than lotus thread, Shiva says “ My obedient students, in every ‘yuga’ (era) due to the indiscpline and faithlessness in the Vedas, rulers and their subjects will be dissatisfied with the qualities and merits of lotus thread for their future generation. They will prefer what they feel is more impervious material for weaving compared to lotus fibre which a somewhat diaphanous cloth. The myth goes on to say that in the present era humans and gods require clothing that is dense, rather than sheer, in order to cover their nudity” (Kwalra, 2018 , pp.93 ).


Kwalra (2018 ). We who wove with Lotus Thread. Hyderabad: Orient Blackswan Private Limited.


01. Yagna – This motif represents fire and is created from merging accents from Telugu script.

02. Panchabootha –By fusing 5 numbers of an accent from the Telugu script this motif represents the the five elements out of which Bhavana Rishi was born.

03. Maggam – This motif is a representation of a loom that was created by Bhavana Rishi from his body parts. “ From his head appears the cloth beam; from his arms the vertical pillars that hold the weaving frame together; from his chest are made headless, the warp separating mechanism; his spine forms the the overhead horizontal bar of the loom frame; and lastly from his legs and feet come the foot peddles or treadles” (Kwalra, 2018, pp.91). 

The motif is formed by fusing two Telugu accents representing the upper, mid and lower body.

04 Kamalam – The Kamalam motif is formed by fusing 2 numbers of a Telugu accent that represents fibres of  lotus stem that emerges from Vishu’s navel.

05  Vivaham – By combining the number two in Telugu, a motif is formed that represents the marriage between Bhavana Rishi and Bhadravati. It is a motif that signifies two people becoming one entity.


06. Pillalu – By merging the numbers one, zero and one in Telugu, this motif was created to represent the 101 children of Bhavana Rishi and Bhadravati.


07.  Vittanam – Two Telugu accents were vertically fused to represent a cotton plant growing out of a lotus seed.