Bhagalpuri Silk

Attended a seminar today in a Bhagalpuri silk kurta and dupatta that I’d purchased a couple of years ago in an exhibition, directly from a weaver. He had lots of fabric in different ethnic colours and designs, and very elegant dupattas. This variety of silk is very beautiful yet affordable, and even their saris are very nice.

Bhagalpur is the third largest city in Bihar, situated on the Ganges, and is also called the “silk city”. It has been associated with the silk industry for hundreds of years, and is famous all over India for its “Tussar” Silk & Bhagalpuri Saris. Tussar silk (also known as Kosa silk) is produced from the larvae of silkworms belonging to the genus “Antheraea”, it’s valued for it’s rich texture and natural deep gold colour.

This silk is distinct because of it’s texture, unique dyeing techniques using vegetable dyes, and traditional motifs and designs. Do try to incorporate this beautiful variety of silk into your wardrobe. It’s great for daily wear.

Still remember the long chat I had with the weaver. He told me about how they were trying to preserve their business by innovating and coming up with new designs and techniques. They had started making linen fabric etc. He also turned out to be very generous, because at the end of my purchase, he gifted me two free dupattas 🙂 🙂 Also have a Bhagalpuri sari that I still have to wear and click pics in someday…..

References:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tussar_silk
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhagalpur

Vanishing Tribes – Lambadis

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As the world is getting more and more globalized, it’s also becoming more homogenized, and it’s believed that many indigenous languages and cultures are disappearing at an alarmingly rapid rate. The Earth’s population of seven billion people speaks roughly 7,000 languages (source: National Geographic), but roughly one language is dying every 14 days!! Along with the language an entire culture will also disappear  😦  😦

This is because urbanization and modernization are destroying traditional habitat, and ways of living. A clear example in India are the “Lambadis” – a well-known tribe of Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. They originated from Rajasthan, are nomads and can be found in the outskirts of cities, selling fruits and handicrafts. They have strikingly colorful, unique and bright attire (with intricate embroidery and attached silver coins) and jewelry made of silver and ivory. Like most other tribes, they don’t have a written script, and only have a spoken dialect.

The Lambadis managed to preserve their own language, cultural identity and social structure for many centuries by staying in close knit groups, and not mingling much with outsiders. However, rampant urbanization appears to have had a significant impact on the community. In Hyderabad, the upscale Banjara Hills locality was once rich with forests, and home to this nomadic tribe. With this habitat now occupied by settlers, they have moved to smaller slums.

They’re also slowly giving up their old traditions, costumes and language and being forced to merge into the mainstream. This is happening to many tribes all over India and it’s a common phenomena all over the world. The loss associated with these dying cultures is immeasurable. Alongwith the culture, their handicrafts, beliefs, stories and unique heritage is also disappearing.

A few NGO’s are trying to help these tribes and preserve their unique skills like embroidery and jewelry making, by helping them market the items. Purchased this colorful embroidered top from an NGO helping Lambadis in Hyderabad. It was 3-4 years ago – so don’t remember the name of the organization.

Paired it with silver filigree earrings purchased in Odisha (very famous and commonly found there), and a traditional silver bracelet from Himachal Pradesh. Hope you “like” it  🙂

Reference: http://www.thealternative.in/…/lambadis-gypsies-of-the-dec…/

 

On Batik

This is an earthy looking Khadi (Indian home-spun) Batik silk sari that I purchased in the Khadi store in Hazratgunj, Lucknow. Wore it for the first time today and was very pleased because it’s light and easy to drape (was very affordable too). Had purchased some authentic tribal brass jewelry in the “Museum of Tribal Arts & Artifacts” in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, long ago, wore them with this sari  😉

Batik is a technique of wax-resist dyeing applied to cloth. A tradition of making batik is found in various countries, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Nigeria; however, Indonesian Batik is the best-known.

The last time I went to Singapore, I purchased some Indonesian Batik (in Mustafas in Little India, that has an amazing collection), and got them tailored into pants.

If you would like to know more about it, check https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batik

Kashmiri Embroidery

 

Since winter is already here or around the corner, decided to do a post on Kashmir! Put together a few pics in dresses with the traditional Kashmiri embroidery.

Purchased them at various exhibitions from Kashmiri traders, and they’re very comfortable and great for winters. We can also find beautiful coats, shawls and stoles in the same stalls. Hope you “like” them!  🙂

PS: Also posting a pic of the coldest winter I’ve experienced – in the USA. Haven’t visited Kashmir yet….so no pics from there….

Souvenirs from Lucknow, India

Visited Lucknow two years ago and loved the city, and the “Chikankari” there. “Chikankari” is a delicate and artfully done hand embroidery – traditional to Lucknow. Ended up checking out quite a bit and also buying many.

There’s nothing more exhilarating or exonerating than being able to convert a vice into a virtue 🙂 🙂  Hence am very elated to be posting pics of myself in all my Lucknow shopping extravaganza. Also went berserk at the Khadi (home-spun) store there because they were having a “50% discount”, and purchased many saris – even though I hardly wear saris! 😦 Donated quite a few of them to friends and family, but still have a few left. Plan to do a post on Khadi saris sometime soon…….

On a more serious note, Chikankari is an extremely beautiful embroidery art form and it’s great that there are some co-operatives helping the artisans and preserving it.

Here are a few “chic” 😉 pics I’ve selected (You can find more on my FB page). Hope they’re evidence that traditional stuff need not be old fashioned or fuddy duddy 🙂 🙂

Souvenirs from Odisha, India

 

Posted this on my FB page http://www.facebook.com/Aparnablog today 🙂 🙂

“Hope you’re having a Great Tuesday! Decided to check in briefly to do a fast and easy post with old pics.

This post is about something that I’m very passionate about – Indian #handlooms and #textiles. Whenever I travel around India, always visit the handloom emporiums and purchase something authentic from the area. For example, my favorite places to shop/window shop are Shilparamam (a great place where you can purchase directly from weavers) in Hyderabad, Baba Khadak Singh Marg (has emporiums from all states of India) and Dillihaat in New Delhi. And whenever, I’m window shopping in the US and come across some exquisite designer apparel and check the label, more often than not I find “Made in India” written on it or mentioned that the fabric was sourced from #India! 🙂 🙂

However, it’s unfortunate that many of our weavers who are the custodians of this rich and precious heritage are suffering, and not receiving as much support and appreciation as they should. So I’m planning to do my bit by posting on our handlooms. Apart from being interesting it would also help me get some skeletons out of my cupboard 😉

When I visited Odisha two years ago, purchased quite a few beautiful handloom kurtas, dresses and saris from Utkalika and Boyanika there, especially because there was a great discount going on. They had many ready-made shirts and kurtas for men as well! These are photos in all cotton ones. Hope you “like” them! 🙂 🙂
#WearHandloom #Handloom #Khadi