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Santipuri Sarees - A flavour of Bengal

by Sundari Silks 16 Sep 2021
Santipuri Sarees - A flavour of Bengal

Bengal has a rich tradition of handloom weaving as a part of its cultural history. It is one among the few states that increased handloom production post Independence to support the livelihood of weavers. The beauty of these sarees is the fascinating design lexicon which consists of loom-embroidered sheer textiles woven across Santipur, Bengapur, Kamalnagar and Katwa. One of the most popular textiles is the Santipuri sarees woven with intricate motifs and colourful pallus which are indeed a sight to behold.

Santipuri sarees are praised for their fineness of texture and ornate floral borders. This weave stands out from the crowd because of its creative composition and strategic use of gold zari. Originally these sarees were woven only in cotton, but now they are also available in mulberry and tussar silk.

The weaving of a Santipuri saree on a pit loom using jacquard techniques usually takes around 2-3 days because of the intricate nature of the motifs. A traditional Santipuri saree has a white background and a black border. A unique aspect of this saree is to integrate the body with the contrasting border. Hence the pallu is made of alternating thick and thin stripes along with fine Jalchuri lines adjoining them at the border.

The Santipuri sarees are most famous for their elaborate border designs. The various traditional borders woven are as follows:

Anspar - They resemble fish scales and are woven in zari.

Rajmahal - They are diamond-twill-shape designs where smaller diamonds are woven inside bigger ones.

Benkiterch - Zig-zig lines woven vertically on the border.

Chandmala - Circular motifs resembling the moon.

Bhomra - Small diamond motifs are woven throughout the border which looks like a honeycomb.

Nilambari - The ground warp and weft yarns are dyed in indigo colour, resembling the dark blue night sky.

Ganga-Jamuna - Different colours are used in the border.

Brindabanimor par - Two peacocks facing each other and sitting on a tree.

The other common designs seen are florals, leaves, human figures, checks and stripes. Depending on the complexity of the pattern, each traditional border takes the weaver 3-10 hours to finish. Every member of the family takes part in the weaving process. Another distinguishing element of these sarees is the use of a popped rice paste both before and after the weaving process.

Bengal sarees have been highly regarded around the world, with the Santipuri and Baluchari Butidar sarees being the most popular ones. Even today, around 40,000 families are involved in weaving sarees, dhotis and dress materials throughout Bengal.

Inspired by India's diverse traditions and cultures, we seek to bring forth the country's handloom heritage to the world, through the finest fabrics from across the land and the magical hands that work the looms. As you gain insight into these delightful drapes, you can simultaneously browse through the specially crafted collection of our beautiful drapes with the right blend of classic and contemporary styles.

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