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Striking And Sensational Handloom Fabrics – The Sambalpuris
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Sambalpuri sarees are India’s heritage and a contribution from the State of Orissa. These sarees are famous for the ikkat style of weaving that once used geometrical patterns and themes of flora and fauna, but today include landscapes, nature, and sometimes religious subjects as themes are also hand painted on these handloom fabrics.
Shanka, chakra, or floral pattern motifs may be seen on the base fabric, with designer colours and patterns chosen to provide the traditionally woven ‘Bhulia Kapta’ saree, the modern look.
Ikkat is a technique which involves applying bindings, which resist dye penetration to the threads in pre-determined patterns, and then dyeing the threads. These dyed threads are then woven to produce the desired pattern. Within the ikkat style are variants of single-ikkat and double-ikkat.
Alternately the tie-die method of weaving and then dyeing, known as ‘bandha kala’ is also used. Here the threads are first woven and the resist bindings then applied to the fabric before dyeing it
There are varieties to the Sambalpuri with names given based on the place of their Sambalpuri weaves. Bararh, Sonepur, Sambalpur, Bolangir (district), Boudh (district) are locations that weave the traditional Sambalpuris. Sonepuri, Pasapali, Bomkai, Bapta are the variety names for the different types of Sambalpuris.
The Sambalpuri Bomkai especially is a brilliant variant that appeals on account of its splendid depictions of nature, flora and fauna on its fabrics. It is very much preferred for grand and exclusive occasions such as religious functions, festivals and weddings.
Themes such as Krishna Raas Lila (Lord Krishna and his dance with the Gopis), Ayodhya Vijay (Ram’s conquest of Ayodhya after felling the Demon King Raavan, chosen as subjects and finely detailed using organic dyes on these sarees have been so exquisite that they are a class apart.
Sambalpuri cotton sarees find preference for daily-wear as well as for casual occasions and generally housewives and college-goers choose to wear them.
Late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi used to wear the Sambalpuris in the 80s and brought it to the nation’s gaze.
A fabric that had seen bad days the traditional ‘Bandhakala’, has recovered its lost glory and is shining once more, thanks to the painstaking toil and devoted efforts of Sri Radheshyam Meher, known for his invention of the handloom that first wove textiles of ninety inches width, and a string of like-minded souls who followed.
Every year there are textile exhibitions in the state held in his honour.
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