The climatic condition of West Bengal is mainly humid and hot which is why the traditional sari fabric in this region is predominantly cotton. Cotton is an extremely breathable fabric which offers comfort to the wearer. The colours used are vibrant and bright and can be worn to any every occasion. The following lines describe the various sari fabrics and designs that present-day Bengali women wear.
The â€˜Tantâ€™ Sari:
Cotton saris in Bengal are generally referred to as â€˜Tantâ€™ sari. Earlier craftsmen would weave these saris but today majority of these saris are woven in machines. These apparels feature bright colours and have borders that are highly decorative.
The â€˜Tant Mugaâ€™:
This particular Bengali sari design is called â€˜Tassurâ€™ and is basically a mix of cotton. The sariâ€™s bottom lace is made out of â€˜Tassurâ€™ adding elegance to this traditional Bengali sari. Bengali women wear this sari to occasions like â€˜Durga Pujaâ€™ and other festivities.
The â€˜Jari Peta Paad Tantâ€™:
This is another variety of the â€˜Tantâ€™ sari which is famous owing to the style statement that it creates and is high comfort level. This â€˜Jari Peta Paadâ€™ incorporates broad â€˜gold laceâ€™ offering class to the sari. Some of them even have geometric shapes on them, making them unique in appearance.
The â€˜Dhonekhali Handloomâ€™ or â€˜Tant Dhoniakhaliâ€™:
These are famous owing to the hardiness and use of bold colours. Similar to the â€˜Tangailâ€™ sari, this sari is also ideal for summer months offering softness, comfort and style to the wearer. They are woven in â€˜Dhoniakhaliâ€™ of Hoogly district in West Bengal and their hardiness and bright colours make them popular among Bengali women.
The â€˜Tant Tangailâ€™:
They are cotton saris which have their origin in a place known as â€˜Tangailâ€™ in Dhaka city of Bangladesh. The cotton based saris are colourful and perfect for summer time in India.
The â€˜Daccai Jamdaniâ€™:
This sari type has originated in Bangladesh and owes its name to the capital city of Bangladesh-Dhaka. Egyptian cotton is usually woven to make these saris. They are in great demand in India and the original ones take up to a year to be woven. The drapes are supple and gentle.
This design in sari is common in Bengal and is unique owing to the temple borders that it features. Mostly muted shades of this sari are available in the market making it great to wear during daytime.
This sari has its roots in one village of Bhagirathiâ€™s banks in the district of Murshidabad. The weaves incorporated use â€˜independentâ€™ patterns. The sariâ€™s body has small â€˜butisâ€™ on it with floral designs along its edges. The most important decoration takes place in the â€˜palluâ€™ or the â€˜anchalâ€™.
This is another sari made from pure silk and the most famous in this variety is the â€˜white sari with red borderâ€™. The borders are intense with solid colours on them. Bengali women wear this sari mostly in festivals like â€˜Durga Pujaâ€™.
Zardosi Work Based Pure Silk:
The â€˜Zardosiâ€™ is royal embroidery which was started during the Mughal times when the craftsmen would use â€˜goldâ€™ threads to weave this design on the sari. Pure silk saris today use the same embroidery design through efforts of skilled craftsmen. The modern ones also use heavy â€˜stone workâ€™. This makes the sari exotic in their appeal and their richness makes them popular in weddings.
There is very little difference between this variety and the â€˜Korailâ€™ in therms of design. Although the main features are similar, the â€˜Garadâ€™ variety incorporates tiny â€˜floralâ€™ patterns in the white portion of the sari that has a red border.
The â€˜Pashminaâ€™ Silk Sari:
This silk sari is woven using fine threads of silk which are extracted from a mountain sheepâ€™s wool. This makes the fabric smooth and subtle. Some even say that the material is so soft that it can pass easily through a â€˜finger ringâ€™. Light colours are used to design this sari type and these lightweight saris are ideal for any important occasion.
These saris incorporate designs that are Mughal inspired which include intricate weaving of foliate and floral â€˜motifsâ€™, the â€˜belâ€™ and â€˜kalgaâ€™ with upright leaves in strings known as â€˜jhallarâ€™ bordering the outer edge. Gold work detailed designing and compact weaving like â€˜minaâ€™ work are other features of this sari variety.
The â€˜Tissueâ€™ Silk:
This silk type has distinctive features with uniform flexibility, structure and strength. They incorporate intricate weaving of silk and gold threads using fancy colours or prints. Bridal ceremonies in India involve this sari for the brides including Bengal. This sari variety can also be used in casual meetings and evening parties. The glossy sheen of the sari is evident because of the use of silver and/or gold â€˜zariâ€™ weft on the â€˜silk warpâ€™.
These are semi-transparent and highly popular even among Bengalis today. They are recent creations in sari design which many women in India favour owing to the attractive designs and use of colours.
The sturdiness and workmanship of â€˜Katanâ€™ makes it world famous. Around 5600 silk threads that are strong as wire form the sariâ€™s base. One of the popular varieties of this sari is â€˜Swarnachuriâ€™ and almost all the varieties use â€˜Benarasi Butidar Minakariâ€™ and â€˜Zardouziâ€™ works. These are the most durable of all silk saris available.
The â€˜Chanderiâ€™ Silk:
This variety is known for the use of â€˜hand wovenâ€™ designs which has grown over the years in â€˜Chanderiâ€™ town of Madhya Pradesh. This sari is counted among the royal apparels and has been patronized by most royal families owing to its fine quality, lightweight and the â€˜transparentâ€™ texture.
Apart from silk, georgette is one of the famed fabrics preferred by Bengali women. It is usually made from polyester or silk. The crepes are twisted making it more opaque in nature than chiffon. Its lightweight and attractive bright designs have popularized it for daily wear and special occasions.
The â€˜Faux Georgetteâ€™:
This is one of the newest types in georgette fabric which is made from nylon and polyester, have recently gained importance among the women in Bengal. The delicate and soft texture offers glamorous and stylish appearance along with comfort in wear. The drape is elegant and the patterns and designs used in this sari incorporate something from the tradition of India.
Crepe de Chine is another term for the crepe fabric. This particular fabric features â€˜crinkledâ€™ texture and is originally made out of silk yarns. This is a classic soft fabric with excellent â€˜drapeâ€™ features. Its lustrous appeal with glossy and soft effects makes it ideal for party wear in summer as well as winter times in Bengal.
This is a diaphanous light fabric made from materials like nylon and silk. It is transparent and light weight being woven with tightly twisted, fine yarns. The chiffon sari is glamorous in appeal but difficult to manage with â€˜bumpyâ€™ look. However, this sari can be worn to occasions and festivities in Bengal.
This is unique and royal in appearance because of the threads that are used to make this sari. Silver and gold based cotton or silk threads are used for making brocade saris. Unique patterns are created in the wefts to design a â€˜Zari brocadeâ€™ sari. This design also originated during the Mughal times and is presently worn only during exclusive occasions by Bengali women.
Brasso saris are sighted mostly during wedding times and its unique stylish design in lightweight material is why it grows in popularity. The fascinating finesse in the design of these saris are not easily available in regular saris. Prints can vary from something as simple as floral patterns to the complicated â€˜unconventionalâ€™ patterns for this sari variety.
The â€˜Polyester Cottonâ€™:
This sari combines the fibres of polyester and cotton. Both the materials have qualities like durability and strength which are displayed through this sari. This variety is also wear-and-tear resistant as well as breathable and light in weight. It is comfortable to wear in all the seasons of the year.
This â€˜batikâ€™ is basically a medium of art which is incorporated in making unique designs, mostly on cloth by using wax and dye. Many designs of batik in traditional colours like white, indigo and dark brown are used to make cotton based saris widely popular in Bengal. These saris are worn to cultural events and other special occasions in Bengal.
Thus, the above-mentioned designs and fabrics are popular among Bengali women. Many of the designs undergo changes to meet the fashion requirements of todayâ€™s Bengali women.
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