History of Indian saree
Saree is the most graceful attire that an Indian woman can wear. Indian saree has been existing for more than 5000 years now and it has made it one of the ancient clothes in the world that is still being used. The mention of Indian saree is also found in the Vedic literature. With the growth of civilization, the style of wrapping a saree has also evolved, but from fashion shows to traditional weddings, saree has always succeeded to set a unique style statement. Every region of India takes pride in weaving their own kind of saree but they have altogether created the glorious history of Indian saree.
The origin of Jamdani or Dhakai saree lies in Narayanganj district of Bangladesh where the clothing industry flourished for centuries, but it suffered a lot due to industrialization and British colonization. In spite of all the obstacles in the past, it has been able to maintain its beauty, quality and heritage till now and it has been also given the prestigious title of an intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. The word, Jamdani is a combination of two words ‘Jam’ and ‘Dani’. The word is taken from the Persian language which signifies its cross-cultural history. The Jamdani saree was originally known as Dhakai Saree but with the coming of Mughal dynasty in India, the term Jamdani started to be used for this saree, as it was a part of Mughal Royal Court Language.
The sarees were woven using the technique of loom brocade with supplementary weft. Though they have lost their fancied fineness because of the colonial oppression during the pre-independence era, they have still managed to sustain as independent industries, because after the partition of India, some of the artisans took shelter in places like Samudragarh and Fulia of West Bengal. A handloom woven cotton fabric is used to make these sarees and the skill required for creating the delicate floral motifs and designs is intricate. It can take from one month to one year for weaving one saree.
The presence of silk sari can be traced even during the Vedic times. The Jataka and Pali texts inform us about the blooming trade of clothes in Kashi on the banks of the Ganges. Undoubtedly, Banaras was the chief centre for weaving these silk sarees since the ancient times and thus, the Banarasi silk came into existence. The silk was popularized all across India due to the patronage of Mughal emperor Akbar. He was such as admirer of this silk that he decorated his palaces with carpets and wall hangings made of Banarasi silk. Even his wives used to wrap this silk which added an imperial glory to it.
The motifs were crafted with zari threads and the rest of the saree used to be made of dyed silk of various colours. The present-day craftsmanship of Banarasi Saree is under serious threat as it takes much time to be woven and the price is quite high. Most of the weavers have been forced to change their career and unfortunately, the market has several types of fake products.
Baluchari sarees originated from a village called Baluchar in Murshidabad in Bengal. The then Nawab Murshidkuli Khan got along this technique from Dhaka in now Bangladesh. The weavers used to focus on making these sarees for the royalties at the initial stage. Due to a flood in the Ganges, the village was submerged and the industry was shifted to Bishnupur in Bankura. The industry began to flourish there but the immense oppression of British power ruined its development. Again, in the late twentieth century, the craftsmanship of weaving these sarees was rejuvenated with a new technique called Jacquard weaving which is less time-consuming.
Originally, Baluchari sarees used to be woven in jala looms of Murshidabad but in the revival era, the technique is quite different and the motifs used on these sarees are mainly the figures of Hindu mythology and culture.
Bishnupur has been the abode of fine silk sarees for a long time. In the 18th century, the Baluchari saree industry was also shifted to Bishnupur. The increasing tax on these sarees by the British Empire affected both these industries. Later, in the 20th century, the art has revived with efforts of artisans like Subho Thakur. Using the new Jacquard weaving, the sarees are available in block, batik and acid prints. The comfort and beauty of the sarees have made them popular among modern women.
Bolpur in Bengal is the birthplace of the embroidery style called ‘Kantha’. The meaning of the word Kantha is embroidered quilts. In Kantha sarees, the quilts are embroidered with vibrant coloured threads, making them aesthetically beautiful and artistic. Due to its intricate motifs and colourful designs, it was primarily called Nakshi Kantha. Today, this pattern of stitching is popularly used in ethnic and traditional Indian attires.
Tant is a historically rich handloom industry of Bengal. The art of weaving these sarees was nourished by the Mughals during 16th and 17th century but the British colonizers took its toll on this industry. It started to be produced again in the post independence era by Hindu weavers in Fulia, Hoogly and Burdwan areas. Tant is comfortable and suitable for Indian summer.
Indian Silk has always been an exquisite cloth. Patola is one of the silk sarees which is woven in double ikat. The silk originated from Patan in Gujarat. The saree was once worn by only royalties as it is quite expensive.
The Vama Sarees is the perfect place for a modern woman to buy trendy and traditional sarees of her choice. The rich collection of Jamdani, Kantha, Handloom, Tant and Khesh Sarees has made it one of the best online stores for purchasing ethnic and beautiful sarees. The price is quite affordable according to the quality of the products. It is most suitable for comfortable and easy shopping.