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Traditional Saris from Odisha

A sari is a primary component of an Odisha woman’s wardrobe. The drape varies from 5 to 9 yards in length and 2 to 4 feet in breadth. It is typically wrapped around the waist, with one end draped over the shoulder. It is considered a fundamental cultural icon. Odisha enriches in varied saris in vibrant colours. Some of the traditional ones are :-

  1. Sambalpuri silk and cotton sari –

It is a traditional handloom handwoven sari and is a delicate weave of different techniques. The rich colour is never fading because the threads are tie-dyed before being weaved.

Produced in Sambalpur, it reflects the originality of craft presenting beautiful patterns and sari ornamentation in elegant styles. It displays awesome embroidery patterns in combination with terracotta jewellery.

It is perfect for festive occassions and are the comfort feast to every Odia matron. It is a common wear in Bargarh, Sonepur, Sambalpur, Balangir and Boudh districts of Odisha.

These saris have an incorporation of traditional motifs such as sankha, chakra and phula. All of them have deep symbolism. The traditional craftsmanship of the Bandhakala, the tie-dye showcased in their intricate weaves makes it all the more demanding.

The entire process of fabrication takes many weeks. To render protection to the weavers who practise this art, Sambalpuri silk saris manufactured in Sambalpur and Berhampur were assimilated in the Government of India’s geographical indications registry.

It became widely famous throughout India when late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi started wearing them.

Affluent handloom weavers form a bastion of these Sambalpuri saris and are from Barpali, Tarbha, Bijepur, Patnagarh, Bargarh and Sonepur.

2) Bomkai sari –

It is another excellent handwoven sari and is a blow from the state of Odisha. These are crafted with breathtaking weaves and looks great when accompanied with contemporary gold jewellery.

They are produced by Bhulia community of Subarnapur district. It is an artistic piece with ikat, embroidery and intricate thread work, all woven into this marvellous wonder.

It is mainly available in silk and cotton and is a good festive drapery. It is popularly addressed as Sonepuri silk and it originated from Bomkai village in Ganjam district.

Sonepur handloom saris and Sonepuri pattas are popularly showcased at various fashion shows. It is an extraordinary fabric that resulted from the confluence of two well-known components of the Odisha textile industry, namely, ikat and embroidery interwoven into each other.

It is explicable as an extra weft technique on a pit loom. The borders are outlined in deep contrasting colours and pallus have a mark of sophisticated threadwork.

Motifs on Bomkai are inspired from nature and tribal art, giving it a fascinating, aristocratic look. The embroidered cloth was first crafted in southern coastal regions of Odisha.

The fabric carries an essence which resembles shore origination. Sonepur defines the prettiest facade of fabricated Bomkai saris. Bomkai is a magnificent innovation which has given a global push to textile industry.

It is counted as the highest thought of attire in the state and an illustrious sought-out outfit in other Indian states. It is unlike other forms of designs and is distinctive. The motifs and designs portray past mythology.

Bomkai sprang from the roots of Odisha folklore and culture and forms the heart of southern Odisha’s textile industry. It, however, doesn’t ignore the inspiration from nature which is offered to everyone free of cost.

Designs in the sari are exhilarated from environmental offerings such as bitter gourd, atasi flower, kanthi phul, macchi, rui macchi, koincha, padma, mayura and charai.

A significant part of the finishing can be attributed to the borders and pallavs. Few examples of featured border motifs are Mitkta Panjia, Kumbha, Rudraksha and Floral.

The pallav is usually double-shaped, providing a reflection of royal lustre. The border exhibits lattice work which shapes tiny diamond-like structures. It makes use of both weft and warp techniques and are woven on a low count of cotton yarn. The technique is called Jaalas.

Main steps in the manufacturing involves dyeing, dressing of the loom and weaving. Materials used in the process are pit loom, thread, dye vats and cotton or silk. The creation retains the original flavour of the craft combining modern day mechanization.

The modifying face of the industry doesn’t interfere in the love that people have for Bomkai. Popular Bomkai varieties in southern Odisha are Sonepuri, Pasapali, Barpali and Bapta saris. Bomkai saris first introduced zari threadwork weaving.

The pallav makes use of a new base called glistening zari. It is largely worn by Kathak dancers around the world. It is a major attraction in world fairs owing to its fabrics and textiles.

It became famous when Bollywood celebs like Aishwaraya Rai wore it in her grand wedding. The kind of Bomkai she wore was called Radhakunja.

3) Kotpad Patta Sari –

They are cotton saris with solid border and Pata Anchal. These traditional handloom saris are woven by tribal weavers of Mirgan community of Kotpad village in Koraput district of Odisha.

Kotpad tussar silk saris with flourishing tribal art and Kotpad handloom fabrics with natural colours add to its specialty.

The Mirgan community is renowned for their exquisite organic dyed textile and commonly weave this textile for Bhotada, Dharua and other motifs, derived from ideas of their neighbouring tribal communities.

Gobardhan Panika, a weaver who has mastered this craft, was honoured with the fourth highest civilian honour of Padma Shri by the Government of India in 2018.

4) Khandua silk and cotton sari –

Khandua is a traditional bandha or ikat sari worn by Odisha women. It is also referred as Maniabandi or Kataki sari.

This traditional drape is popular during wedding and a special type of its kind is worn by Lord Jagannath. The deity’s cloth is called Kenduli Khandua, an exceptional form of Khandua having 12 feet by 2 kani.

It has stanzas and illustrations from Gita Govinda encrypted in them. Weaver communities of Nuapatana and Maniabandha weave this kind of traditional pata.

Saris are fabricated and transported to Gajapati king of Jagannath temple. It is normally red or orange in colour.

The design motif consists of an auspicious elephant representing Buddha, surrounded by trailing vine with peacocks and a large petaled flower. Khandua has plain borders unlike other ikat from the state.

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