The beauty of handloom

The beauty of handloom

The beauty of handloom

Apart from language, food and culture, handloom is something that’s unique to each and every state of India. It speaks volumes about the culture and tradition of each state.

Odisha sarees are one among the famous handlooms of India. These sarees have a long history and the presiding deity of Puri, Lord Jagannath, is always dressed up in them. Historical records at the JagannathTemple in Puri indicate that shlokas from the Gita were woven into cloth and donated to the temple.

These traditional sarees, made in both cotton and silk, are locally known as Ikat sarees and sport temple borders with flowers, conch, fish and wheel that are symbolic of the Jagannath temple. They are made using the tie-and-dye technique, which is locally known as bandha. The threads are dyed in desired colours before the process of weaving begins. The tie-and-dye process is a tedious one which cannot be done by a single person. A number of families are involved in the process of dyeing, weaving and designing the sarees.

Most of the designs on the sarees are created by the weaver himself, and it is said that each and every design conveys some kind of message. Since the process of saree making is quite time consuming, only about six cotton sarees and about two silk sarees can be made in a month. Colour is again a dominant factor in this handloom, which
predominantly employs red, yellow and black.

These unique sarees are woven in different parts of Odisha, including Sambalpur, Bargarh, Boudh, Koraput and Rengali. Most of these sarees owe their name to the place of their origin. The price also varies accordingly.

While Pasapalli sarees, woven in Sonepur, Barpali and Baunshri, are distinctive with their black and white squares that resemble a chess board, Bomkai sarees, woven in Bomkai, have a heavily designed pallu, generally made using different coloured threads, and Sambalpuri sarees, woven in and around Sambalpur district, are known for the temple patterns on their borders.

It is customary for brides in Odisha to wear Sambalpuri or Bomkai sarees. According to the Sambalpuri Bastralaya Handloom Society, after agriculture, it is handloom that provides the maximum employment in Odisha with over one lakh people engaging themselves in the handloom sector in Odisha.

Apart from sarees, these Ikat handlooms are also available as bedsheets, pillow covers, table cloths, dress materials and stoles.