Varanasi , also known as Benares, is a North Indian city on the banks of the Ganges in Uttar Pradesh, Varanasi is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. The spiritual capital of India, it is the holiest of the seven sacred cities (Sapta Puri) in Hinduism and Jainism, and played an important role in the development of Buddhism. Varanasi grew as an important industrial centre, famous for its muslin and silk fabrics, perfumes, ivory works, and sculpture. Buddha is believed to have founded Buddhism here around 528 BC when he gave his first sermon, "The Setting in Motion of the Wheel of Dharma", at nearby
Silk weaving is the dominant manufacturing industry in Varanasi. Varanasi is known throughout India for its production of very fine silk and Banarasi saris, which are often used for weddings and special occasions. Many of Varanasi's Muslims belong to a weaver community that known by the name of Ansari, which means "helper" in Arabic. For generations they have passed on their craft from father to son, hand-weaving silk on room-sized foot-powered looms.
Vanarasi brocades are one of the finest fabrics that India has to offer. It is a specialty of Varanasi, formerly known as Banaras, from which the fabric derives its name. Throughout history, brocade was a fabric of luxury worn by nobility in various cultures, from India to Korea. Brocade is a heavy fabric similar to jacquard with a raised pattern or floral design. Traditionally the pattern was produced with gold or silver thread said to be of such superb quality that they could be woven into fabric of pure gold and silver. There is evidence of different textured brocades since the Rig Vedic period c. 1750-500 BCE, including fabric of gold known as Hiranya Vastra. Silkora, a mixture of silk and cotton, is a modern textile innovation of Banarasi brocade.
Bhagalpur is a city and a Municipal corporation situated on the southern bank of the Ganges in the Indian state of Bihar. It is the third largest city in Bihar and the largest city in Eastern Bihar. The silk industry in the city is hundreds of years old producing Tussar Silk and Tussar Saree, and Bhagalpur is known in India as the "Silk City". The Silk Institute and Agricultural University are located in the town. Gaya is another major weaving centre. There are strong, traditional handloom clusters in the districts of Bhagalpur, Gaya, Nalanda, Darbhanga, Madhubani, Siwan, Patna. More than a century old, Tussar silk weaving industry in Bhagalpur has about 30,000 handloom weavers working on some 25,000 handlooms.
The finest texture of Silk springing out from the essence of nature and known as the ‘Queen of all fabrics’, Bhagalpuri Silk is very well known for its unique and striking resilience and superior quality. This intrinsic artwork showcases the original essence of Bhagalpur in its purest and flawless form. It is filled with every slice of Indian cultural aspects which are drawn from the intricacies of the natural surroundings and which are symbolic in its own right. There are many specialties and varieties that enhance and spread out the beauty of this artwork to a greater extent. Varieties like Katia, Giccha, Eri, Mulberry and various varieties of Tussar silk yarn facilitate in giving this fabric a pastoral look and provide an essence of delicateness to its texture. These varieties are known to give the fabric a rich and a royal outlook and retaining the enchanting designs and motifs imprinted in them. Tussar silk also known as (Sanskrit) Kosa Silk, is produced from larvae of several species of silk worms belonging to the moth genus Antheraea. These silkworms live in the wild forest in trees as well as other food plants like Asan, Arjun, Jamun and Oak found in South Asia, eating off the leaves of the trees they live on. Tussar is valued for its rich texture and natural deep gold colour.
Apart from the Silk fabrics from Bhagalpur , there are a lot of different varieties of cotton blended fabrics that are very famous from Bhagalpur , Cotton linen / cotton silk / cotton viscose are all handwoven in Bhagalpur.
FROM ANDHRA PRADDESH
Andhra Pradesh is one of the 29 states of India , situated on the southeastern coast of the country . The state is the 8th largest state in India , the state is the 10th largest by population , has one of the longest coast lines running along the Bay of Bengal , is the powerhouse of immense deposits of minerals and is very rich in agriculture and textiles .
The main fabrics from Andhra Pradesh are : Pochampally, Dharmavaram, Narayanpet, Jamdani/uppada, Venkatagiri, Bandarulanka, Bandar , Mangalagiri, Gadwal, Chirala, Madhavaram.
These are all types of cotton fand come in a wide range of counts from light weights to heavy coarse fabrics and specialises in solid and yarndyeds. Read below for more information on Mangalgiri and Ikat.
Mangalgiri is a densily woven fabric with a fine count of 80s cotton combed yarn and is woven in the Mangalgiri area of Guntur District.
Located at a distance of 12 kms from Vijayawada, Mangalgiri in Krishna district, is a famous pilgrimage center in Andhra Pradesh. Mangalgiri is popular not only for its temple, but also for its elegant cotton sarees and dress material. The dress material, woven in pure cotton is a rage all over India. It comes in plain colours, stripes, checks and with zari and thread borders. The zari border is usually referred to as the "Nizam Zari Border". The sarees come in vibrant colours wth different types of borders. Of late, the concept of "missing checks" has been introduced in the Mangalagiri weave. It is similar to the Kota saree which has an airy and fluffy feel to it and makes the saree very light to wear. Trying to keep with the increasing demand, Mangalagiri weavers have started weaving sarees in pure silk as well as in silk cotton. An ideal fabric for the tropical climate of South India, Mangalagiris can be worn through the year.
Ikat is "a style of weaving that uses a resist dyeing process similar to tie-dye on either the warp or weft before the threads are woven to create a pattern or design." Ikat originated in Nalgonda district and is the art of weaving randomly dyed yarn in natural zigzag or geometric patterns. This art of weaving has been recognized throughout the world. In the present day, Ikat weaving is practiced in the villages like Puttapaka, Pochampalli, Koyyelagudem and Choutuppal. Exclusive to Andhra Pradesh, Ikat technique of weaving is extremely popular throughout India. It finds echoes in similar but more intricate weaves of Orissa and Gujarat. The Sambalpuri & Vichitrapuri sarees are usually in the Ikat weave but done with more intricacy and eye for detail. Most of them are in what is called "double ikkat weave". A double ikkat is both when the warp and the weft are tie - dyed before weaving. So are the Rajkot Patolas. Ikkat is also found in Asian countries like Indonesia and Malaysia.The yarn is tied and then dyed in the desired colours and then hand woven into beautiful yardage, sarees, dupattas, stoles and bedsheets. A very fascinating process to watch.
Cotton Muslin from Bengal
Bengali Muslin is very well known cotton fabric which is woven in the villages of Bengal , Muslin is a cotton fabric of plain weave and a wide variety of range of weights. It can be woven from very sheer to coarse sheeting , it gets its name from the port town of Masulipatnam . Early Indian Muslin was handwoven of uncommonly delicate handspun yarn , especially in the region of what today is Bangladesh and Indian state of west Bengal .
Jamdani is one of the finest textiles of Bengal in india and Bangladesh for centuries . Jamdani was an art of textile weaving was promoted during the Mughal emperors rule .
The traditional art of weaving Jamdani has been declared by UNESCO a intangible cultural heritage of Humanity .The word Jamdani is of Persian origin , deriving from Jam meaning flower and Dani a vase or a container .The Jamdani weaving tradition is of Bengali origin , it is one of the most time and labour intensive loom weaving , this is a supplementary weft technique of weaving where the artistic motifs are produced by a non structural weft , the standard weft creates a fine sheer fabric while the supplementary weft with the thicker threads adds the intricate patterns to it . Each supplementary weft motif is added separately by hand by interlacing the weft threads into the warp with bamboo sticks using individual spools of thread . The result is a myriad of vibrant patterns that appear to foot on a shimmering surface . the weaving technique is that the pattern is not sketched or outlined on the fabric it is drawn on a graph paper and placed underneath the warp .
Jamdani patterns are mostly of geometric, plant, and floral designs and are said to have originated thousands of years ago. Due to the exquisite painstaking methodology required, only aristocrats and royal families were able to afford such luxuries.