Indian Silk industry is an integral part of the Indian Textile Industry. Silk industry is also among the oldest industries in India. Indian silk industry produces basically four types of silks namely Mulburry, Muga, Tussore, and Eri silk. Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Jammu & Kashmir and West Bengal are the major hubs of Indian silk industry . The traditional silk sarees like the Kanjeevaram sarees, Banarasi sarees, Konrad sarees, Mysore silk sarees, Pochampally Ikat sarees, Chanderi sarees, Paithani sarees, Patola sarees, Baluchari sarees, Bomkai sarees, Tussar sarees etc are the exclusive creations of the artisans who use silk as the base material for these sarees. Among non-mulberry silks, Tussar is mostly produced by tribal people settled in different parts and regions of India. Tussar silk and eri silk is produced in abundance in India. India has an unique distinction of producing different varieties of silk. Indian sarees are basically made of pure silks that are produced in abundance in the Indian silk industry.
Traditional Silk Sarees in India
Kancheepuram silk sarees
The uniqueness of the Kancheepuram silk saree lies in its color contrasts. Pyramidical temple borders, checks, stripes and floral “buttas” are traditional designs you will find in a traditional Kancheepuram saree. In a genuine Kancheepuram saree, the border, body and pallav are woven separately and then interlocked together. The joint is woven very strongly and the pallav (or border) never detaches form the saree.
Mysore Silk Sarees
Mysore is the location which is famous for silk buying as here the silk is quite popular and available at lower prices. These silk materials are also used in the “Dhotis” made for religious ceremonies. This type is quite appraised by the local people.
Konrad Silk Saree
The konrad or the temple saree is also a specialty item from Tamil Nadu. These sarees were originally woven for temple deities. Konrad are wide bordered sarees and are characterized by wedding related motifs such as peacocks and elephants symbolizing water, fertility and creativity. Browns, gray and off-whites arethe traditional colors of these sarees.
Thanchoi Silk Saree
This is a method of weaving very similar to Benaras. In these form of sarees silk fabric is woven to create a raised effect (brocade). These sarees do not have a border, however the pallav or the border is distinctly different. Traditionally, the designs are created using floral motifs.
Ikkat and Patola Silk Saree
Ikkat,also known as patola in Orissa, is created using the tie and dye method. The difference is that the method is applied to the yarn prior to weaving. This is a very complex procedure. There are two methods -one where the method is applied to the warp only, and the other where it is done on both the warp and weft. In the latter, the fabric can be used on either side. Gujrat, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa are the main centers for this kind of silk work.
Speciality of Gujrat and Rajasthan, Bandhni is produced following an ancient method called “bandhej” or tie and dye method. Designs are created on natural colour cloth by tightly winding thread around certain areas. The cloth is then dipped in dye. The thread is removed and the areas covered by the thread retain their original color. So the name tie and dye is being given to the procedure. Multiple color designs are created by repeating this process.
Paithani Silk Saree
This saree is named after a village near Aurangabad in Maharashtra. These sarees use an enormous amount of labor, skill and sheer expanse of material for preparation. Distinctive motifs such as parrots, trees and plants are woven into the saree. The shades vary from magenta, peacock greens and purples. The base of the pallav or border is in gold and the pattern is done in silk, giving the whole saree an embossed look.
Chanderi and Maheshwari Silk Saree
The Chanderi are traditional sarees from Madhya Pradesh. These types of sarees are light and meant for Indian summers. It is made in silk or fine cotton with patterns taken from the Chanderi temples. The Maheshwari sarees are also made both in cotton and silk, usually green or purple with a zari border.
Baluchari Silk Sarees
This traditional saree from Bengal is usually five yards in length and 42” wide in flam. These sarees are usually red, purple and deep blue in color. The field of these sarees are covered with small butis with beautiful floral design running across the edges. The anchal has the main decoration depicting narrative motifs. Taingals and kanthas are other specialty items from Bengal.
Tussar Silk Saree
Tussar silk or Kosa silk is valued for its texture and purity as it is naturally available in shades of honey, tawny, gold-pale, cream, dark beige, etc. traditional Tussar silk saris are considered to be auspicious. The fabric comes in a range of colors and is designed with a variety of natural motifs. Tussar silk fabric is of five different types, and usually with a tussar warp and mixed tussar-cotton weft. Mixed tussar-cotton and plain tussar are the two types of tussar sari that are woven today. The traditional block-printed tussar can also be found in contemporary designs nowadays.