India is popular for its hand loom among many others. August 7 is celebrated as a national hand loom day every year. But, the popularity and the demand for hand looms have dwindled rapidly. The ancient art of making saris might vanish if we do not revive it. Indian hand loom caters to everyone’s taste, it ranges from extravagant zari to simple ikkat. Let us acquaint ourselves with the wonderful fabrics of India.
When you speak about Indian hand looms the first thing that pops up in your mind, is the elegant and vibrant Kanjivaram silk sari. These saris originate from Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu. The saris are woven using pure mulberry silk and boast beautiful zari borders. The technique used in this type of weaving is unique. Kanjivaram saris can be bought all over India, but the original ones can only be bought in Tamil Nadu where the weavers can also weave custom made saris. You know what to buy the next time you visit Tamil Nadu.
This hand loom originates from the beautiful state of Sikkim. This fabric is woven using cotton and wool but traditionally it was woven using yarn produced from stinging nettle. Vegetable dyes and synthetic colors are used in this fabric. This fabric is mainly woven by the Lepcha tribe from Sikkim. This fabric is used for making handbags, bed sheets, table mats, etc.
The gold and cream fabric that is always associated with Kerala, is called as Kasavu. This is traditionally worn by Malayali women during festivities. Zari has also been incorporated to give it an ethereal look. The zari has gold and copper plated threads. The cream part of the sari is woven mainly using cotton. These exquisite saris are woven mainly in Kuthampally in Thrissur, Kerala.
Assam gets the credit for introducing muga silk to the world. Muga refers to yellow in Assamese, this fabric has a slight gold sheen to it. It was so exquisite that it was reserved for the royalty many years back. It said to be one of the rarest silk available in the world as it is woven only in Assam. It is used for making saris, chadors, etc.
Jamdani fabric is found in the eastern state of West Bengal. It is crafted using a muslin cloth and beautiful motifs are printed on them. Like the Kasavu, this fabric also uses gold threads with a combination of cotton. It consists of elaborate geometric, floral and plant motifs. Like muga silk, this fabric too was reserved for the royalty until a few decades ago.
There are so many more fabric to be acquainted with, but these are some of the unique among them. Handwoven fabrics are slowly coming into the mainstream market, because many people are trying very hard to revive them. Let us chip in a little by identifying the traditional hand looms from our region and supporting them. Stay Safe.