Handloom enthusiasts flocked in on the first day of Dastakari Haat Samiti’s exhibition hosted by the Registry of Sarees at its Domlur Layout store Areev.
Bengali Tant, Chanderi, Kota and other weaves from across the country were among the roughly 240 saris the two-day pop-up store featured.
Among the highlights were Gajendragarh’s pattada anchu and the Bengali gamchha, each with a fascinating story behind it. “The pattada anchu sari from northern Karnataka had disappeared a century or two ago,” said Ahalya Matthan, co-founder of Registry of Sarees. “A PhD student helped revive it.”
As for gamchha, it belongs to a traditional household fabric of Bengal. “The patterns are typical of a small towel worn around the neck,” Ahalya added. “Representatives of Dastakari Haat went to the village and got them to weave check saris instead of towels, which increased the weavers’ daily income from Rs 30 to Rs 150.”
Freelance artist Chaitra Suresh was excited to have picked up a deep blue and white batik print piece. “But there were so many other beautiful ones — the Kanjivaram cottons and the Bengali white-and-reds stood out,” she said.
Research assistant Vidya Moola took home a green and yellow Maheshwari cotton-silk that many ladies had eyed, among two others.
“I actually came for an Indigo sari. The prints are beautiful but they just didn’t look great on me.”
Some visitors had come by to see the variety of six-yard weaves rather than make purchases, including Indiranagar resident Nirmala Swamy who describes herself as a “fan of saris”.
“A lot of work has gone into every piece but I think the Kanjivaram cotton is particularly exquisite,” she said. She wishes she could have picked one up to pass on to a great granddaughter. “But they are all in America, and don’t wear ethnic clothes,” she rued.
Counsellor Padma Fernandes and homemaker Suman Eapen came to do some window shopping, but ended up picking up a sari between them. “Curiosity brought us, but we gave into temptation,” said Padma, with a smile.
Banana silk and Bhagalpur linen were also among the fast moving varieties. “The former, I would say, are collectors’ treasures. And Bhagalpur is known for its silks, but the samiti has got the weavers to produce soft linen saris (mostly in pastel shades),” explained Ahalya. The pop-up store is on till September 24.