Odisha is well known for many things as its art and culture, architecture, temples, cuisine, dance, literature, and handloom. And talking about handloom we have a wide range of authentic handloom like sambalpuri , bomkai, Berhampuri, khandua, kotpad, habaspuri, saktapar or pasapali. Textile of Odisha is  reflection of its culture ethos with intricate weaves giving it a distinctive personality. The thread work, motifs and vibrant colours makes them rich and desirable that can turn heads.

Sarees are always considered as the showstopper in every Indian woman’s wardrobe in India or abroad. And for me, Sambalpuri sarees will always be my first choice for any occasion whether it’s college’s annual day function, ethnic day in office, my traditional wedding ceremonies, a wedding to attend or any ethnic function here in Malaysia. These sarees are just apt on any of the occasion. I won’t leave a chance to showcase my love for Sambalpuri saree wherever I can. I still cherish my childhood memory that whenever my mother gets ready wearing a saree for any function or event I would cry out loud and obstinate strongly to get draped in a Sambalpuri saree from my mother’s closet and to look as radiant as her. So sometimes she would drape me a Sambalpuri dupatta of her which I won’t skip a chance to flaunt in front of others and flutter like a butterfly.

Sambalpuri saree is a traditional ikat or handloom and are produced in western Odisha, mainly in Sambalpur, Sonepur, Bargarh, Balangir & Boudh district of Odisha. Each and every thread of sambalpuri sarees are handwoven and the the whole process is carried out manually and no machine is used in any of the steps of the making of the saree. The specialty of Sambalpuri sarees lies in its tie-and-dye method of weaving that protects the glaze of the fabric even after a decade. In the tie & die process, the threads are first tied and then later woven into a fabric which is being used in many forms like sarees,salwar suits, kurta, jacket, bedsheets , towels, curtains, etc. whether its about the soft shimmering silk to the gorgeous rustle of cotton will leave you awestruck with its uniqueness. They weave with the finest of the cotton and silk thread which is not only comfortable for skin but also effortless to treasure for years to come. These sarees are well known for their intricate work and combination of different motifs like shankha (shell), phula(flower), chakra (wheel), mayur (peacock), ratha (chariot) all of which has deep symbolism but the best part of these sarees are the traditional craftsmanship of the “bandhakala” which is tough and special in its way.

I am blown away by the grace of sambalpuri saree since childhood as these
sarees are weaved in my hometown Sambalpur, the westernmost district of
Orissa and about 250 km from the capital Bhubaneswar and now it became the toast of the upper crust for its hand-woven sambalpuri sarees. I have seen my mother, grandmother, neighboring aunties, teachers all draped in the six yards of grace in every festival or special days. Whether it’s a wedding or something little to celebrate, ladies would choose to be draped in these sarees.Sambalpuri sarees are something that is being passed on by mothers to their next generations. It is considered as one of the best tokens of love to gift a bride, your mother, wife, sister or any other woman. And nowadays it is taken as a souvenir for people who are not local to the place.

These sarees became popular outside of Odisha when Indira Gandhi wore them and then later in the 1980s and 1990s these sarees held the grip across India. And nowadays many leading fashion brands and boutiques are using Sambalpuri handloom to showcase their statement outfits giving a new shape and texture to it. But seeing the new era of creativity and modernity, I am afraid the weavers shouldn’t be left behind or ignored as all the credits goes to them for their traditional idea of the patterns and the weeks of hard work in weaving them.

As opposed to the hustle and bustle of metropolitan concrete jungles, Odisha comes as a sigh of relief to the one seeking the peace of mind and soul. So next time when you are visiting Odisha or if Odisha is in your Wishlist then don’t forget to get yourself or for your dear ones a priceless Odisha handloom. 🙂

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