The saree is the common form of elegant expression for an Indian woman, and has been a symbol of the culture for thousands of years. However, not all sarees are created the same, and some hold more prestige than others do.
One of these is the Bhagalpuri silk sarees, which have been a longtime favourite for many Indian women because of their quality. They stand out as one of the best textured silks that are fine to the touch, as well as their grandeur and sheen that bring out the magnificence of a saree.
Even though you might find them easily, even on online stores such as Stylecaret, you might not know much about them. Here are some interesting facts about these sarees.
Their popularity has been in fluctuation over the years
The Bhagalpuri silk variety is old – in fact, its development traces back to the Vedic age, around 1500 to 500 BCE. However, it began to gain many admirers starting from the years of the Maurya Empire in 320 BCE.
Its history involves many entanglements with governmental authorities and the societies, leading to decreases in its popularity. That all changed though about two hundred years ago, when the artwork began to resurface in the town of Bhagalpur, leading to its present form. This town is also known as the ‘Silk City’.
Today, both Non-Governmental organizations as well as the government through various agencies, have the enthusiasm to revamp the popularity of this silk form. Many initiatives have therefore been made to ‘restore’ it to the public eye and increase its demand throughout the world, even where the Indian diaspora communities are found.
Also known as ‘peace silk’
This variety of silk happens to be environmentally friendly and has been for thousands of years. This is because the silk worms that are used to make the material are not as many as other forms of silk. In fact, the Sanskrit name of the sarees is Kosa silk sarees, and the worms used to make it are bred on wild forest trees instead of mulberry trees.
There are several varieties present
You can find Bhagalpuri silk in a variety of types, depending on what exactly you are looking for. These types include Katia, Eri, Mulberry and Giccha, among others, all which give the texture and interesting feel. If you are considering getting the best of both worlds though, you always have the choice of blended fabrics (these are blends of the silk and cotton to give them a stronger quality).
In addition, you can find them in different hues, not just the off-white version. Whether you would like lighter tones like honey and gold, or darker hues such as oranges, greens and maroons, there is always an option available for you to select. There are also dual toned sarees (where the blouse and pallu are of different colours) giving your look interesting contrasts.
India is the second-largest manufacturer
India happens to be the second biggest manufacturer of this silk type after China, and it is not difficult to see why – the silk is highly valued due to its sheen and rich texture.
The manufacturing process has more of a traditional feel
This is among the more ancient oriented art forms of making sarees, and many people find it appealing. Many skilled craftsmen have also been drawn to the art form, including in spinning the yarn and other processes of weaving the artwork on the fabric.
The process of making the silk Is a labour intensive one, so the people involved in the craftsmanship are highly trained. In fact, the women who participate in making the cloth itself can produce at least ten metres of it in three days, while the minimum sarees they have to finish in a month are ten. Every saree is sold for Rs. 3000 to 3500 – the reason it happens to be a more affordable variety compared to other silk sarees is due to the production process.
Not the most durable
Don’t get us wrong – Bhagalpuri silk is great in terms of its sheen and quality of fabric. However, the shorter fibres it has compared to mulberry silk varieties make it less durable, even though it is more textured.
The good news is that the fabric is more porous than most silk varieties out there, so that alone makes it a great choice when considering something to wear during the summer months. You also need to take care of them because of their delicate nature; when washing them, they must only be dry cleaned after every three months. To allow them to breathe, it is also good to store them in muslin bags.
In addition, you need to prevent it from getting stains, which will discolour the fabric and make it look bad.
Great for weddings
Silk sarees are generally a great choice for weddings – however, the Bhagalpuri saree is even more so. Because their natural colour is a dull gold, they lend themselves very well to this use (probably you might want a different silk variety if you are the bride and want brighter colours).
In addition, depending on your body type, many Bhagalpuri sarees will look great on you. Note that if you are tall, the draping length of the saree is an important factor to consider, but you will rarely go wrong. Shorter brides have more options, and a petite woman can wear heavier sarees that are more embellished.
The designs that you find on these sarees will vary, although they mostly feature nature motifs like flowers or plants. This was not always the case though, as the beginnings of this saree (and many other saree types by extension) were limited in their designs – they could only put gold dots or some conservative stripes. Things changed later though, and the saree began to feature other designs and other motifs in its art.
The beauty of Bhagalpuri silk is not to be underestimated, as the fabric is rising in its popularity – both in India and throughout the world.