Silken Sambalpuri Saga

The intricate art of bandhai and bomkai is brought alive by shatika, retelling the saga of sambalpuri sarees from the villages of orissa.

Authentic and traditional handwoven ikat saree where the warp and the weft are tie-dyed before weaving, Sambalpuri silk sarees are produced in the Bargarh, Sonepur, Sambalpur, Balangir district and Boudh District of Odisha. Known for their incorporation of traditional motifs like shankha (shell), chakra (wheel), phula (flower), all of which have deep symbolism, the highpoint of these sarees is the traditional craftsmanship of the ‘Bandhakala’. Also known as Sambalpuri Ikkat, the Tie-dye art reflected in their intricate weaves is a technique where the threads are first tie-dyed and later woven into a fabric. Among the many flavors of Sambalpuri saree, Bomkai sari, also known as Sonepuri sari is uniquelywoven sari which hails from the western part of Odisha. The sari is extra-ordinarily woven in the pallu with several contrasting colours and designs. While mostly the design of fish is seen in the sari border as it is believed to be a sign of success and affluence, the most charming part of a Bomkai saree is its handwoven thread work in the designs of the border and the pallu with a tribal tinge in it. Meant for the kings and monarchs in earlier days, Bomkai silk saris are a preferred wear on ceremonies and sacred occasions.

History of Sambalpuri Sarees

Sambalpuri sarees reflect the original style of craft of Baandha that depict images of flora or fauna and geometrical patterns. The recent trends in Baandha depict portrait, landscape and flower pods in their designs. Uniqueness of Sambalpuri silk sarees is that they feature designs that are reflected almost identically on both sides of the saree. A marvel in handlooms, this is due to the fact that the yarns of these sarees from Sambalpur are first dyed and then weaved such that the colors do not bleach enabling a weaver to weave colorful designs, patterns and images into the saree capable of inspiring a thought or conveying a message. Considered a renowned ancient art, making of sambalpuri sarees is believed to have migrated to Western Odisha along through the Bhulia community who fled Northern India in the year 1192 AD after the fall of the Chouhan empire at the hands of the Mughals. Since then and up to the year 1925 it flourished in Western Odisha though it was restricted to limited designs and in typical vegetable dyes and consisted mostly of cotton sarees used by the womenfolk of Odisha known as ‘Bhulia-Kapta’ then. Today, these sarees are popular in silk as well as cotton and are popular world over owing to the pioneering efforts of Sri Radhashyam Meher, who brought about a radical improvement in the skills of the craftsmen and the quality of the products.