Khada dupatta, the very word, conjures images of Hyderabadi royalty and is a prized possession passed down generations in many households. Though it was part of the Nizami attire once, it is now mostly worn at weddings. Also, the khada dupatta is being experimented upon by new-age fashion designers without changing the basic concept.
According to lores, it was Mughal empress Noorjehan who invited Turkish and Persian artists to make a dress for her. Later, the begums of the Nizam adapted the same, and it has become part of the traditional attire in Hyderabadi households.
The earlier khada dupattas were made of pure gold and silver threads and were known to be worn by Shahzada Begum, wife of Mir Osman Ali Khan, and Sahabzada Fazlika Fatima, the great-granddaughter of the Nizam. However, later to make them easy to wear on a daily basis, the royal household modified the khada dupatta using cotton and karga net.
The jewelry worn with it includes a tikka, chintaak, karan phool, bazu band, paizeb made out of Basra pearls, gold, and almaas. Grandson of the last Nizam of Hyderabad Mir Najaf Ali Khan says he hasn’t seen any big change in the attire itself, though he says it is now worn exclusively for weddings.
Fareeha Anjum of Anjum Designs, Aaliya Deeba of IDeebs London in Banjara Hills, and Zara Khan of Aarz boutique have all added their unique touch to make the khada dupatta appeal to the contemporary generation. A lot of Benarasi silks, tissues, flowy tulle, georgettes, crepes, and chiffon are being used, while the present-day brides are opting for Pakistani designs on their khada dupattas.