The Bhagalpuri Saree: The Fabric of Eastern India
In the current age of fast fashion andrndisposable clothing, it is refreshing to see that some traditions have survivedrneven in the 21st century. One such tradition is the Bhagalpuri Saree, a uniquerntype of fabric that originated in eastern India as a response to socialrnupheaval. It can be identified by its distinct style and colors, which havernbeen in continuous production for more than 250 years now. Let's look at thisrnfascinating piece of Indian culture – its history, production methods, andrnsignificance today.
What is a Bhagalpuri Saree?rnrn
A Bhagalpuri Saree is a traditional piecernof textile woven from Bhagalpuri silk, a type of fabric that originated in thernvillage of Bhagalpur in eastern India. The Bhagalpuri Saree is a myriad ofrncolors held together by a black border woven into the fabric itself. Bhagalpuri silkrnis a natural fiber produced by the domesticated silkworm; the history of silkrnproduction in India can be traced back to the 6th century BC. This is the mostrnpopular silk fabric in eastern India – it is woven in various designs, colors,rnand patterns, but its black border always characterizes it. It is important tornnote that the Bhagalpuri Saree is not just one type of fabric but also a grouprnof products that will vary in quality and durability depending on thernsocio-economic status of the person wearing it. A Bhagalpuri Saree can berneither a single or double-stitched fabric, with the former being more luxuriousrnand expensive than the latter.
Why is the Bhagalpuri Saree sornimportant?rnrn
The traditional Bhagalpuri Sari has anrninteresting story behind it. The Bhagalpuri silkworms were originally importedrnfrom Japan to cater to India's demand for high-quality silk fabric. However,rnthe imported silkworms failed to thrive in the Indian environment, causing arnsignificant decline in silk production. In the late 18th century, a series ofrnsocial and political upheavals caused widespread famine in the eastern parts ofrnIndia. The people in this region were unable to sustain themselves and wererndriven to extreme measures to survive the famine. The weavers of the regionrnwere forced to use whatever was available to them to create new and cheaprnfabrics – an alternative to the high-quality silk that was no longer accessiblernto them. They used the cocoons of the local wild silkworms to create a fabricrnthat was cheap and accessible to all sections of society. This fabric is calledrnBhagalpuri silk, and it is still being produced in the same region to this day.rnWhat began as a necessity has evolved into a tradition that is over 250 yearsrnold.
The Tradition of the BhagalpurirnSareernrn
The Bhagalpuri Saree is worn in the easternrnparts of India, primarily in the states of Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, andrnOdisha. These saris are made from natural fiber, primarily silk and cotton, andrnfeature intricate hand-woven designs by artisans. The saris are known for theirrnvibrant colors, obtained using natural dyes, such as turmeric, indigo, andrnpomegranate. They are also known for weaving a black border into the fabric,rnwhich is thought to be a tradition that started during a famine. The saris arernprimarily worn by women during formal occasions and traditional ceremonies.
The Hand-weaving Process for arnBhagalpuri Sareernrn
The Bhagalpuri Saree is hand-woven fromrnBhagalpuri silk, which is a type of fabric that originated in the village ofrnBhagalpur in eastern India. Silk is one of the oldest fiber fabrics in thernworld, having been produced in China over 5,000 years ago. The production ofrnsilk fabrics in India dates back to the 6th century BC. Silk fabric is knownrnfor its luxurious sheen, smooth texture, and durability. Bhagalpuri silk isrnwoven with a black border, a tradition that started during a famine. The weavingrnprocess for the Bhagalpuri Saree starts with harvesting the silk cocoons. Theyrnare then boiled in lye and water to kill the worms inside the cocoons, afterrnwhich they are dried and combed to remove the silk filaments. The filaments arerndyed to obtain the desired color and woven with a black border. The finalrnproduct is a gorgeous silk sari that can be worn at special occasions orrnceremonies.
Celebration of Colour in thernBhagalpuri Sareernrn
The Bhagalpuri Saree has a long history andrnhas been used to produce textiles of varying types and qualities over thernyears. The fabric is hand-woven using natural dyes and dyed using organicrncolors like spinach, turmeric, pomegranate, and indigo. These natural dyesrnproduce vibrant colors, characteristic of the Bhagalpuri Sari. Bhagalpuri silkrnfeatures various colors, including purple, blue, pink, red, yellow, black, andrngreen. These colors are often combined to create intricate patterns, such asrnpaisleys and floral designs. The Bhagalpuri Sadee is also known for its use ofrngold and silver thread, which is used as a decorative element in certain partsrnof the sari.
The Bhagalpuri Saree is a tradition thatrnhas been around for over 250 years. The fabric is hand-wovenrnfrom Bhagalpuri silk and is known for its vibrant colors and intricaterndesigns. These saris are rich in tradition and history and have evolved tornbecome an essential part of eastern Indian culture. This can be identified byrnits distinct color palette, patterns, and black border, making it a trulyrnunique piece of textile.