Whenever a group of women sit together to gossip about the traditional sarees they’ve hoarded up, they mostly talk about the south Indian silks or about the Benarasi silks—but never about the Bengali silk and cotton sarees, which are equally fascinating and unique. However, thanks to designers like Sabyasachi, Bengali sarees did make a comeback in the fashion-arena, but definitely that’s not enough. So, let’s know the traditional sarees from Kolkata a little better.
Whenever we think of any Bengali saree, we visualize someone wearing crisp cotton, white sari with red border. Well, that traditional saree is none other than our good-old taant sarees — of course; the color palette doesn’t stick to the monotonous red and white combo.
These saris bear different pattern and motifs with the floral, “buti” and “gamcha” designs dominating the scene. However, nowadays, due to the designers championing tant, geometric and quirky patterns have also become quite famous. Light, bright and transparent, these saris are the most preferable ones in Bengal’s hot and humid climate.
Due to their vivid designs, color palettes and lightness, it can be carried off very easily by everyone—its simplicity will definitely bring out the best in you, without you having to go through any discomfort. And, if you want to go ethnic, just choose a “buti” design sari in duotone, with a hint of zari in the border and pallu, and accentuate it with simple gold earrings and a long gold chain—you’re sure to set the any traditional party on fire!
If you’re in Bengal to purchase Taant, ask for saris from Phulia, Shantipur, Tangail and Dhonekhali—these places make some exquisite taants.
4. Dhakai Jamdani
Originally made in Dhaka before partition, this saree is one of the favorite saris of Bengals in all occasions—be it wedding parties, any Puja and even college farewells!
In other words, there’s a jamdani for every one of all ages. Dhakai derives its nomenclature from Dhaka, where it was originally spun, and “jamdani” refers to the typical design that the sari adorns. However, the “korat” design is famous as well, and is more preferred than the former one by the youngsters.
The sari is typically transparent and is woven with cotton and resham-threads. If you want to go for a traditional look yet keep in terms with the modern times, we advise you to go for this sari.
3. Murshidabad Silk Saris
After pondering over cotton saris, let’s turn our eye towards the silk saris of Bengal—yes, for those who are unaware, Bengal, too, make some of the best silk saris in India. The history of silk saris in Murshidabad dates back to the 18th century when the East India Company set up two factories to produce silk.
The silk manufactured here is referred to as pure silk since it’s totally handloom sans the addition of any other chemical to enhance its shine or durability or anything else. It’s also very light and mostly comes in vibrant colors and myriad designs: from floral to stripes to geometrical and quirky pattern.
These silk saris can be worn everywhere—even on daily basis; such is the charisma of these saris. If you’re working somewhere where you’ve sari as the dress-code, this one’s apt for you. You needn’t team gold jewelries with it, simple chunky stuff or statement pieces just go apt with it. These saris make you look smart; in every inch, a woman of today sans taking away that traditional charm!
2. Baluchari Saris
These saris get their nomenclature from Baluchar village in Murshidabad from where it originated. However, later, due to some geographical mishaps, the industry shifted from the silk-Mecca of east India to Bishnupur in the Bankura district of West Bengal.
These silk saris, made from pure silk or tussar-silk, are much durable than the other famous silk sarees in India. Unlike the other saris of Bengal, the Baluchari saris stick to a monotonous motif: they depict scenes and chapters from Ramayana and Mahabharata—this makes the sari look much more aristocratic, elegant and exquisite than its rivals.
If you want to go traditional, just ditch that Benarasi or Kanjivaram for a while, and settle for the Balucharis in beautiful colors—their lightness will ward off all your discomforts while the elaborate but neat design (depicting scenes from the epics) will make you stand apart in the crowd. Just make it a point not to pleat up your pallu!
1. Tussar silks
Although Tussar is produced in numerous areas in India, more than 40% of it is produced in the Malda district of West Bengal. Tussar silk, a more textured one than the “cultured” mulberry silk, aids in the making of numerous types of saris in Bengal. In fact, Baluchari saris are more often made with tussar silks than pure silk. However, apart from Balucharis, simple Tussar silks, in traditional Bengali “buti” and “pata” design is famous among women of all ages.
Besides these, the tussar saris are renowned for being a great canvas for the “kantha” stitch as well. Although we would love you to see in every kind of tussar saris, we would recommend the kantha-stitched tussar to you—add a backless, long sleeved blouse and adorn yourself with chunky, oxidized jewelries, and you’re ready to grab the limelight in any kind of function. And, if you want to go plainer, then go ahead with a plain tussar silk sari with a contrast blouse and blow-dried hair—you can set any stage on fire without giving up on that coy-traditional feel!