This is my "Mekhala" Sari from the State of Assam also famous for it's Music,the 2 horned Rhino and the River Brahmaputra or "Lohit" as the locals call it.The eastern State of Assam is famous for it's Silk--- specially the regal "Pat" Silk in Cream or White and the beautiful Gold coloured "Mugaa" Silk.Both are used to make the "Mekhala" and "Chaddar"---the traditional wear of Assamese women.The Mekhala is a Sarong style base tied around the waist while a Blouse covers the upper body.The "Chaddar" is draped over the Blouse and this set of 3 pieces is woven at home by the women of Assam.Each Bride weaves her own "Mekhala Chaddar" and thus creates a unique pattern woven with her dreams and aspirations!!These are difficult to get hold of but I have been lucky enough to buy a "Mekhala" Sari which is a single piece 6 yards long in the traditional Creamy White "Pat" Silk with Red and Gold Mugaa Silk Motifs!!
From Assam we come to the eastern State of West Bengal---and my favourite!!!I own so many of these exclusive Saries--my "Dhakai Jaamdaanis" and "Balucharies"are the talk of my circle of Friends!!Besides these there are beautiful "Kanthas","Tangails","Dhaniakhalis" ,"Tussars"and "Tants" and best of all most are in very fine spun Cotton Thread!!!Very regal and sophisticated---as well as Comfort personified!!
My"Jaamdaanis" and "Dhakai Jaamdaanis" are pictured below.I love the all over weaving of the pattern on White,Cream or different coloured backgrounds.
Each of these is a work of precision as the patterns of Birds and Flowers are retained in the mind--not on Paper---andthese are woven so beautifully that often the right and the wrong side of the fabric is almost impossible to discern!!
The "Baluchari" tells a Story with Legendary Figures woven in various Colours on it.The "Pallu" is very long--starting from the waist up and thickly woven with myrthical Motifs---an extremely Artistic piece to own!! Originally from Bishnupur,it is now manufactured in many other places too---though Bishnupur still retains it's supremacy!!
The Motifs are beautifully woven by hand and are perfect in every detail.
I just adore the "Ikat" way of weaving and own many of these.These Saries are woven from Pure Silk thread dyed in 5,7 or 9 shades---the patterns emerge from the way the Yarn is dyed.There are beautiful double and single Ikat styles---Saries from Patan in the State of Gujerat in Western India are called "Paatola" and are a must in every Bride's Trousseau!!Similarly the eastern State of Orissa too has it's own way of weaving Ikat which is very distinctive from the Patola--the South Eastern State of Andhra Pradesh produces a very bold Ikat in Pochampalli--a town that has lent it's name to Ikat--these are called "Pochampallis"!!
This is "Ikat" from the eastern State of Orissa---one of the most expensive Silk Saries of India.These are of medium weight and make with exclusively woven Borders----giving a very different look to the Sari.
This is the fabulous Gujarati "Patola"---beautifully woven and a must in every Gujarati Bride's Trousseau.These too are very fine Silk and of medium weight---besides being expensive and exclusive!!
This is the extremely vibrant "Pochampalli" Ikat!!!Colourful and bright it is woven in various Geometrical and Animal Motifs reflecting the "Joie de Vivre" of the People.The "Double Woven" Pochampalli at the top belongs to me---a gift from Sudhir for one of my Birthdays!!!
My Wedding Sari was a beautiful Brocade from Benaras in heavy Gold and Purple like the first Picture here---only still heavier with Gold!!I still have it carefully wrapped in soft Cotton Muslin.Even today the shine of it's Gold Thread is undimmed---unfortunately I don't know how to upload Photos from the Camera---hence another Photo similar to my Sari has to suffice!!
The craft of weaving "Paithani" Saries of Maharashtra is over 2000 years old.These are still handwoven with pure Gold plated Silver and Silk Threads and have small all over Motifs or "Butties" interspersed over the body of the Sarie with heavy Borders and intricately woven heavy Gold and Silk "Pallus" or the upper end of the Sari.The Pallus sport a variety of Flowers or Birds---sometimes even both!!
This is my Paithani which I bought to wear for my Lotta's Wedding.Both Sayali and she too own Paithanies--Sayali's is a deep Royal Purple which shimmers with a green tinge while Lottas is a Pink with deeper Pink shimmer!!
These are examples of beautiful Karnataki "Kasuti" Kashida from the State of Karnataka.This is a very difficult Art---based as it is on counting the Threads forming both the warp and the weft of the Fabric.Today it is being revived but even so the people who do this are few.It is a very delicate and beautiful way of embellishing Traditional Saries and I am the proud owner of 2 such works of Art!!
These are the beautiful and colourful examples of Kutchi Embroidery often embellished with Mirror Work from Kutch Region of the State of Gujarat.I love wearing these Motifs----specially when embroidered on the Yokes of our long Tops we call "Kurtas".In fact I have two pairs of White Indian Pants or "Salwars" which sport this embroidery on the legs as high as thigh length!!
This is an example of the Rabari Work also from the same region.
This is an example of the Tribal Embroidery from the State of Karnataka.
Each and every State has it's own unique form of decorating Cloth with intricate Stitches and these are held in very high esteem---and passed down as Heirlooms!!