Pride of Bengal, the Baluchari saree is known for its silk brocade designs, attractive motifs and colour harmony. A Baluchari Sari once worn only by women from the upper class during festive occasions and weddings is today widely worn in all strata of society.
Appeal of the Baluchari saree
Baluchari Saris are made from silk. The appeal of the Baluchari lies in its colour harmony and not contrast, of pattern colours with the colour of the body fabric. Preferred Colours are red, green, yellow, blue and their shades. It is appreciated for its magnificent weave, attractive motifs, brilliant colours and thematic pallus. One of the major themes that adorn the Pallav or Pallu of the Baluchari Saree are mythological stories depicted on the walls of the terra cotta temples that the Malla rulers had built and are located in present day Bengal.
The journey of the Baluchari sari
Historically, with its roots in Bangladesh, one of the Nawabs of Bengal fascinated by the extraordinary craftsmanship of the Baluchar Sari, brought the rudiments of the weaving form from Dhaka(Bangladesh) to Murshidabad (West Bengal) in the eighteenth century. Baluchar village in the district, prominent in its devotion to the practise of this weaving art, flourished, and the Saree got its name. Though patronized by the Malla Dynasty rulers for the continuation of this art, it was affected later by the apathy of the British. Suffering a tremendous decline the Baluchar art almost died. Post-independence revival by a person named Subho Thakur, through the weaving skills of Das, a weaver from Bishnupur and knowledgeable in this art form, restored the glory of this fine weave once again.
The process of making the Baluchari saree
The Baluchar sari making process is intricate. Silkworms bred for the purpose yield the raw material. The yarn processing involves dipping the yarn in a solution of soda and soap, boiling and then dyeing it accordingly. The yarn is stretched in opposite directions to make the yarn crisper. Weaving takes place on jacquard looms with intricate design motifs prepared with the Jacquard arrangement. Quality checks at every step in the various stages of the process have ensured retention in quality of the Baluchari Saree. Fineness, shine and durability have been and remain the hallmarks of the Baluchari Saree. Modern Day trend of the increasing use of organic materials, has found its way into the experimental manufacture of the Baluchari Organic Sari. Fine blends of cotton with both banana fibres and bamboo shoots replace the silk yarn, while acidic dyes have been substituted with dyes made from extracts of fruits, vegetables, leaves, turmeric etc.
The appeal of the Baluchari saree
The Baluchari sari has won the Presidential award on two occasions for its weaving style and has been prominently displayed in international trade fairs. Baluchari Sarees are preferred as soft and comfortable wear, for their fine weave and stylish looks. Some popular themes of today as flower bunches, animals, court scenes of an earlier era, boat etc. adorning the Baluchari Saree make them most attractive and apt for a variety of occasions; be it wedding ceremonies, parties, grand functions, social gatherings or as corporate wear.
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