Odisha is a hub of handloom and amongst the collection, Sambalpuri holds a special place. Sambalpuri Handloom belongs to the place of Maa Samaleswari which reflects the devotion and humility of people working to make the handloom. This Odisha handloom is admired throughout India. These handwoven sarees of India were also the favorite of Late Prime Minister Mrs Indira Gandhi and she wore this acclaimed handloom quite often. The threads of Sambalpuri Ikat Sarees are repeatedly tied and dyed in various colours and the simple weaving of the threads materializes the design. The patterns and motifs of this Odisha handloom bring extraordinary craftsmanship from ordinary life. This exclusiveness of the handloom also bought a GI tag. These Sambalpuri Ikat Sarees have a beautiful history and a delicate process of weaving to know.
The Origin of Sambalpuri Saree
The motifs of Ikat sarees are seen on the beautiful sculptures in Konark Temple and the attractively patterned drapes resembling the ikat fabric at the Chandi Mandir in Saintala. The motifs of these Sambalpuri Ikat Sarees are inspired by the sculptures of Konark and other temples of Odisha. The origin of Sambalpuri Sarees dates back to the 18th century when the "Bhulia”community migrated from Madhya Pradesh to Odisha and brought the Ikat craft to the state inspired by Gujarat Patola Ikat. The community is often referred to as torchbearers of the“Bandhakala”craft.
The Bandhkala Saree was a gorgeous craft but got its fame with the innovative efforts of Sri Radhashyam Meher. Padmashree Kailash Chandra Meher, Padmashree Kunja Bihari Meher, Padmashree Chatrubhuja Meher, and Padmashree Krutharth Acharya are the master craftsman who has contributed greatly to the handloom of Odisha and given a good source of income to the weavers.
The Sambalburi Textile Weaving Process
Sambalpuri Sarees are extremely intricate work which involves Raw Yarn degumming, Dyeing, Wrap or Weft and lastly the intricate Weaving.
Pure Cotton materials are all used for all the products which are brought from the local dealers of Orissa. The Original style of craft famously known as “Bandha” is done on the handloom sarees which is created using a tie and dye technique.
The colours on the Sambalpuri Sarees were all dyed naturally from the colours such as leaves, fruits, stems, roots, muds and outer cover of a tree. They use mud for brown colour, red for teak wood and mango nut for black colour and now few synthetic dyes are also used colour variance. Sambalpuri Ikat sarees are famous for their geometrical motifs and sober colours.
The yarns used in this Odisha handloom are winded with the help of traditional charka. The yarns are tied to colour a particular part and boiled in soap water to give the handloom flexibility and texture. After the dying is done, the Sambalpuri Ikat Sarees are dried for some time. The required size of the yarns is then cut from the charka and undergo a process called warp and weft where the threads are measured to the needed length of the fabric to be woven. After all these processes, the weaving begins on a shuttle-pit loom that is made of ropes, wooden beams and poles. The shuttles are thrown from side- to side by the weaver and the other weavers use a fly-shuttle loom which can produce different types of patterns.
Varieties of the Sambalpuri Saree Include
Pasapalli- The sarees are inspired by the famous chess board game Pasa. The motifs are squares of the chessboard which has reference to the famous epic Mahabharat.
Nabakothi- The saree represents nine houses or kothi placed linearly. The number 9 is considered auspicious and indicates nabagraha or navratri or the nine incarnations of life.
Utkal Laxmi- The saree has the flower motifs in multicolour and the border has the rudraksha motif. Utkal is another name for Odisha and Lakshmi is a reference to Goddess Lakshmi.
Tribal Theme- This theme of saree represents the tribal world of the state. The themes are inspired by the different tribal arts like Sarua.
Bichitrapuri- The Sarees of this kind have a lot of bandhakala involved and there is weft work of Gold and Silk threads. The sarees also have pasapalli themes to give them an elaborate look.
Boita- This theme relates to the famous boat festival of Odisha i.e. Boita (boat)Bandhana. This is the maritime tradition that celebrates the maritime trade history of Kalinga.
Jungle Theme- The theme shows the jungle and its elements on the saree. The motifs include little animals like squirrels to large animals like elephants along with the trees.
The Usual Cost of Sambalpuri Sarees
The Sarees include a lot of intricate work and dedication of the artisans. One piece of simple Sambalpur Saree takes more than 1.5 months of dedicated work. The sarees can be also personalized for customers which may take half a year to weave. Sambalpuri handlooms elevate the value from the other sarees. The artisans work dedicatedly to make the finest piece of Odisha handloom. Every penny you pay for the saree counts and the saree will surely give a regal and classy look. The range of the Saree differs from the type of fabric and the type of themes and designs. Cotton sarees range from 2k to 40k and Silk Sambalpuri Sarees start from 12k and go up to 1lakh.
Why are Sambalpuri Ikat Saree So Expensive?
These are the most celebrated form of Odisha handloom and hold many reasons for their price. There are many reasons which make Sambalpuri Sarees so expensive. With the long history and the crown of the GI tag, the price elevates as per the value. Besides these Sambalpuri sarees are made of pure silk and the time that is put into the weaving process. Every step of the saree designing involves a lot of time and work. Tie-Dye takes 1 month to 6 months depending upon the design. Besides this weaving takes a lot of time which depends upon the intricacy of the design. The Raw materials are also pricey which increases the price of Sambalpuri handloom. The artisans put a lot of effort into making this handloom lo look classy and adorable. With the popularity of sarees, the value of the style, design, and workmanship adds to the sarees.
These beautiful handlooms of Odisha are marketed by IndianVillèz to bring more popularity and money to the pockets of the artisans. We are working closely with national and state awardees artists and young artisans to bring these gorgeous handlooms to the market. IndianVillèz has been putting efforts to bring the masterpieces and contemporary designs, motifs and new age colour combinations and marketing them to make them globally popular. We have been a bridge for Sambalpuri Saree artisans who work dedicatedly to bring out these beautiful Sambalpuri handlooms to the market.