Handloom Sarees of India

by Shatika, April 19, 2017

Reminiscing the rich cultural history of the country and keeping one connected with its roots are Indian Handloom Sarees that hold a special place in our hearts and our wardrobes even today. Portraying many unique aspects of these six-yard legacies are thousands of specialized weavers across the country who by employing millions of looms are weaving magnificent sarees in cotton, silk and other natural fibers.

Each weaving cluster focuses on one unique feature to bring out the beauty of these handloom saree to the fullest while the legendary Banarasi silk sarees showcase Mughal inspired designs in their motifs, the celebratory Kanjeevaram sarees draw inspiration from Dravidian heritage like the inscriptions on their temples the Baluchari silk sarees from the east depict stories from the epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata in threads and Patola sarees from the west indulge in age-old specialized dyeing technique to weave intricate designs. Together they make a fine repertoire of eminent handloom sarees of India whose talent, variety and fine craft are incomparable.

History and Origin of Handlooms:

The handloom industry rolls its carpet back to the ancient times. The very first fragment of Indian handloom was excavated from the parts of Egypt. After that, finely woven and dyed cotton fabrics were found in MohenjoDaro (Indus Valley Civilization). Indian floral prints, dating back to the 18th century A.D were discovered by Sir Aurel Stein in the icy waters of Central Asia. There were some more excavations that speak of the golden history of Indian handlooms. Even the Vedic literature has a mention of Indian weaving. In fact, all evidence show that of all the arts and crafts of India, traditional handloom textiles are probably the oldest.

Regional variants of weave of Indian Handloom Sarees:

There are as many varieties of weaves in India as there people here! The exhaustive list includes pure mulberry silks from Tamil Nadu, textured ahimsa silks from Bihar, ikats from Andhra and Orissa, tie and dye from Gujarat and Rajasthan, jacquards from Uttar Pradesh, Daccai from West Bengal, and phulkari from Punjab; while some weaves specialize in unique dyeing techniques like Bhagalpuri, Bomkai, Bandhej and Patola, some have mastered the art of fabric painting like kalamkari and madhubani, some others showcase their art through colorful threads as their medium like chikankari and kantha while the likes of Banarasi, Kanchipuram and Paithaniindulge in intricate and opulent zari motifs.

Indian handloom sarees from across the many states of the country, with their many varieties and flavors have collected a precious wealth of innovation and have been instrumental in emergence of India as the most richly cultured country.

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