Destinations Magazine

Allure of Handlooms: Elegance Aplenty

By Rashmi Gopal Rao

If you are a lover of all things natural and indigenous, the inimitable charm of handlooms is hard to resist.  Given India’s diversity, handlooms have been integral to our culture and heritage. From time immemorial, hand woven fabrics of our country symbolize grace, tradition and uniqueness.  A term that is generally used for a loom that is run sans electricity, handlooms are by and large exclusive and native to the region of their origin.  These fabrics are usually made using a pit or frame loom and are the products of highly talented craftsmen who deftly integrate the warp (length) and the weft (width) yarns.

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When it comes to handloom sarees there is no better place than India considering the sheer variety and superlative quality.  Here is a quick look at some of the gorgeous varieties you must consider if you want to pick up handloom sarees.

Chanderi handlooms

Native to the town of Chanderi in Madhya Pradesh, these light weight yet elegant sarees have been in existence since centuries.  Made from pure silk, cotton and cotton silk, Chanderi sarees are known for their fine colors, smooth texture and intricate embroidery.  Suitable for all occasions, Chanderis exude charm and are high on the style quotient.

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Banarsi handlooms

Synonymous with the magical city of Varanasi, Banarsi sarees are known for their elaborate zari work and bold colors.  Heavily embellished, these sarees are normally worn for weddings and festive occasions.  Made from fine silk, they are characterized by their detailed brocade work.  Do pick up a signature bridal red if you want to adorn a grand look for your next special occasion!

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Paithani handlooms

Named after the Paithan town in Aurangabad in Maharashtra, these are some of the richest handlooms of India.  Known for their shaded “pallus” that are achieved by weaving and intermixing two colors, Paithani sarees have intricate motifs.  The peacock is a symbol commonly used in the design of these sarees that are again made of pure soft silk.  Geometric, especially oblique patterns is another trademark feature of the Paithani saree.

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Kanjivaram handlooms

Originating from Kancheepuram in Tamil Nadu, Kanjivarm sarees are the epitome of grandeur and tradition.  Made from pure mulberry silk thread, these sarees are available in a vast range of designs, colors and contrasts.  Known for their elaborate borders, Kanjivaram sarees are intricately associated with the culture of South India and its festivities.  The sarees which are well known for their craftsmanship are equally popular in North Indian also.

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To read more on indigenous crafts and craftsmen of India, read my posts here and here.

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