When I started exploring fashion trends of Bengal, I was really surprised to see the hidden treasure of Bengal. With the change of colors in various parts of Bengal, it’s tradition, culture and people changes and along with them, fashion gets change. Incredible isn’t it! I was surprised to know the types of Bengal sarees we are having in here. Honestly, like any other person, I have a thought that sarees are only traditional and not in trend with regular fashion. It’s not easy to maintain and hard to carry. But no! Bengal has variety of sarees which are not only more than trending but also has our culture crafted in it. And to mention it’s maintainability, it’s absolutely no hassle.
In last few days I have been to many corners of Bengal to explore what new we are having and the list is pretty long. I would love to mention few of them here for the sake of sharing my little knowledge what I gathered in last few days. So let’s have a look.
I came across many of the weavers and try to know what kinds of sarees they are making and how they sell them. One of them took me to his home to introduce me to his family. He showed me his loom and all the types of sarees he used to make. I never had such experience and I was overwhelmed by his nature and his hospitality. I got a great knowledge from him about making of handloom sarees.
Usually it takes almost 2-3 days of work to make complete saree. After the yarn is being chosen, the process of tying the yarn in a bundle starts. The threads are separately mounted on the reeling machine, for the warp the yarn is rolled on a shuttle and for weft, it is firstly mounted on a charka and then rolled on the bobbin. The most complicated part of the whole process is weaving, where the sari is woven on a handloom. The warp, the longitudinal threads, are held in tension on the loom and lifted up where the weft, the latitudinal threads, are placed in a shuttle. As the shuttle moves back and forth, the warp and weft threads are interwoven. Amazing!
From him I got to know about one more place and two special types of sarees which are weaved there. The place is Shantiniketan and the sarees are Khesh and Kantha sarees. So my next destination was finalized and I reached there on a Saturday noon. On each Saturday, they used to have an open-air market on the bank of Kopai, it’s known as ‘Sonajhurir haat’. This market had blown my mind with its beauty. The baul dance, songs, colorful sarees, kurtis, painters with their paintings and many more. The overall environment was so mesmerizing that it took me out of the world. I talked to many weavers there and they told me about the heritage and culture of their sarees. They told me how the khesh sarees are made, how the village women make kantha sarees with great patience.
The process of making khesh sarees is very simple. Basically khesh is a recycled product. The wrap is with new yarn and weft is with strips of thin cloth obtained by tearing old sarees. The end result is so beautiful and trendy. On the other hand, making kantha stitch saree, requires great amount of patience and time. It is generally done on silk sarees (tussar, Bangalore silk etc which are imported). But now they have started doing it on artificial silk as well. Kantha stitch is nothing but simple running stitch along the edges. The colorful patterns and designs that are embroidered on the sarees resulted in the name "Nakshi Kantha", which was derived from the Bengali word "naksha", which refers to artistic patterns.
My journey has just started and I have a lot more place to explore in West Bengal.