Grand drapes with elaborately woven pallus and borders – which have scenes and motifs, inspired from the nature, ancient temples and kingdoms, and more importantly, the great epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata – are the iconic Baluchari sarees. Belonging to the rich textiles and weaving heritage of Bengal, Baluchari is a rich craft that requires great skill and effort. Authentic Baluchari Sarees are gems to own, as their thread weaving is quite compact and designs quite exquisite and fine.
Made from a process that’s as painstakingly intense as Jamdani and Brocade weaving, Baluchari is characterised by threads that are visible at the back-side/ wrong-side of the designs/ motifs. Weaving is largely done using silk and tussar silk yarns, though with changing times, silk-cotton or sico yarns are also used for weaving Baluchari saris. Earlier these sarees were only woven by the women of the rich classes, like the one belonging to the landlord/ Zamindar and merchant families in Bengal.
Polished after they are woven, the regal Baluchari Sarees have a beautiful sheen, and the detail of their motifs and scenes depicted is really enchanting. Although, with a plenty of mechanisation and commercialization, Baluchari or imitations are made at many places, they are authentically made in Bengal’s Murshidabad district. They get their name from the small town of Balucchar or Baluchara in Murshiadabd, where they were initially instated by the Nawab of Bengal (bringing it in from a small village from Dhaka – now in Bangladesh)
Sadly, Baluchari weaving started flailing, during the British rule. It is the efforts of artist Subho Thakur that revived this dying art and made it popular once again. It was in Bishnupur that the dying art of baluchari silk saree regained its respect, which is why you can see a plenty of influence of these places’ temples and traditions in these drapes.
Characteristic large squares with motifs and scenes are unique to Balucharis. In the times of Mughals, when these saris first gained prominence, the designs were inspired by Persian motifs like Paisleys and vines. Later, these also included scenes from the lives of emperors and Nawabs – and the general life at that time, including the interactions with/ presence of foreigners, especially the British.
Usually the thread used in Baluchari saree motifs is in 1 or 2 hues only, which are slightly contrasting to the silken base. Meenakari Baluchari sarees and Swarnachari are other innovations of this drape. The former uses Meenakari (enamel) work effect, in between the usual thread weaving with 1-2 colors, while the latter is the name given to the most dazzling Balucharis, which have motifs made using gold colored or metallic hued yarns.
The heavier versions of Baluchari saris can be worn for all sorts of occasions, functions and even day wedding ceremonies. Swarnachari is perfect for bridal-wear, where the bride can wear this saree for her wedding reception or for other important rituals. Lighter variants of Baluchari saris are also available, which can be worn for corporate events and formal work meetings. These look extremely elegant and graceful. Women of a certain age and class look really charming in neutral based Balucharis like the ones in grey, beige, brown, henna green and even black.
You can buy all sorts of Baluchari sarees, sourced from weavers as well as major design houses/ manufacturers, from Saree.com. This online shopping destination is a perfect choice for ensuring that all kinds of authentic, trendy and latest sarees and Indian ethnic outfits are delivered to your home, anywhere in the world. You can also choose stylish traditional imitation jewellery to go with your beautiful garments. Get all your sarees ready to wear and finished; you can even ask for custom stitching of your blouses. Happy Shopping!