Among the treasures of Orissas vibrant craft tradition, the saris of Sambalpur occupy a unique place. In the 1980s and 90s, these saris, characterised by their distinctive weave and motifs, came into the spotlight and attracted an elite clientele, after the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi began wearing them during public occasions.
Crafted in the Baandha style, these saris are woven from yarn dyed in the tie and dye technique, wherein parts of the yarn are tied in accordance with the design to be created, to prevent absorption of dye, and then immersed in colour. This is translated into woven motifs by the weaver on his wooden hand loom.
To add a special dimension to the festive shopping experience for Deepavali, the Orissa Craft Fair features an exclusive collection of Sambalpuri sarees, dress materials, yardage, stoles and dupattas in silk, cotton and silk cotton, coloured in natural and vegetable dyes.
The pure silks come in lightweight (Rs. 3,600-7,000) and heavy (Rs. 9,000 onwards) varieties. The piece-de-resistance is a richly worked maroon brocade silk employing five different patterns, one each at the start, pleats, front, pallu and blouse.
Embellished with stately temple borders and typical pasapalli (rolling dice) checks, each sari has a distinct appeal. Used for blouses and kurtis, the running materials are in great demand. A woven or ikkat blouse makes a bold statement when contrasted with a plain sari.
The exhibition, which also offers pattachitra and traditional paintings, dhurries, carpets, semiprecious jewellery, embroidered kurthis and wooden artefacts, is on till November 12 at Sankara Hall, TTK Road, Alwarpet.