Indian Textiles

India is globally acclaimed for its diverse and rich textile tradition that has existed since time immemorial. Indian textile is one of the leading textile industries in world and also the oldest sectors in Indian economies besides being one of the largest contributors to India's export and per capita Income. There is a close linkage of textile industry to agriculture, tradition and culture of India. This makes Indian textile sector unique in comparison to industries of other country.

The textile traditions in India have been determined on many factors which include the geography, climate, local cultures, social customs, availability etc. of that local place. Cotton and silk weaving dominates the weaving traditions in India. There are several centers in India which specialize in cotton and silk weaving.

There is variety of raw material available in India like cotton, silk, wool, jute for creating fabric. Indian fabrics are popular all around the world and this is the reason why India is termed as the ultimate shopping paradise.

Let's throw a glimpse at some of the major textile hubs within India…

Rajasthan is heartland of hand-block printing. Embroidery is lavishly used in bridal and formal costumes which include Zari and Gota. Metallic thread embroidery is done on saris and cushion covers to beautify it. The fabrics of Rajasthan are quintessentially decorated with wonderful designs and vibrant colors. The ancient art of textiles in Rajasthan uses fibers like cotton, silk and wool to make attractive designs and textures. Tie and dye textile, called bandhej or bandhani are an important form of Rajasthani craft. The best bandhani work comes from Jodhpur and Sikar, while Jaipur, Bikaner, Pali, Udaipur are other centers. Mirror work is also seen on fabrics which further enhances the beauty of the fabric.

Gujarat, a state which is popularly termed as Indian textile state, has one of the most flourishing textiles in the country. Bandhej, a name to reckon with is the nomenclature used fortie and dye fabric of Jamnagar. Well known for its typical design and patterns, bandhej is often used in wedding outfits. The maximum concentration of bandhej dyeing is in Kuch. It would be unfair if we don't make a mention of the iconic Patola silk sarees from patan which is very popular and one of the largest selling fabric in country. Gujarat Patola manufactured primarily in Surat exhibits a passion for color and a deep sense for design and form, which truly conveys a message to the world about Gujarat's rich cultural heritage. Another popular textile variant which is popular in Gujarat and is a tribute to the divine mother Goddess Durga is Matani, popularly known as matanipechedi or mata-ni-pechedi.

Uttar Pradesh
Chikan work or chikankari is delicate and fine Indian embroidery done with white cotton threads on plain muslin cloth. The mesmerizing designs depend on variety of stiches used, different grades of thread used to form patterns. The most beautiful part of chikan work is the open work ground. Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh is globally acclaimed for this type of textile. Similarly, Varanasi is most well-known for fine woven brocades of precious metals that include gold, silver and silk threads. Three persons are required to carry out brocade weaving. Butidars design, scroll patterns and Mughal designs are the common motifs, and other designs are of flowers, birds, animals. There are four major varieties of Banarasi sarees namely, pure silk, organza (kora) with zari and silk, georgette and shatter. Banarsi sarees are often a part of every Indian bride's wardrobe.

The state of Punjab is synonymous with lively and social attitude of the locals. The people here are extremely fond of enjoying their rich cuisine and like to dress well too. In short Punjabis are always high in spirits.

The fabric well acclaimed in Punjab is known as Phulkaris. The main characteristics of Phulkari embroidery includes the use of darn stitch on the wrong side of coarse cotton cloth with colored silken thread. The embroidery is done with floss silk thread on coarse hand woven cotton fabric. Geometrical patterns are usually embroidered on the Phulkaris. Phulkaris and Baghsare a delight during marriage festivals and other joyous occasions. The most favored color is red and its shades, as it goes synonymous with marriage and other festive occasions.

The beautiful state of Kashmir which is in Himalayas is known as "heaven on earth". It offers a lot in form of local art and craft which include the famous embroidered shawls and other textile crafts. The most famous of all being the Pashmina shawls which are the epitome of weaver ship, as a whole shawl can pass smoothly through a normal ring. Kashmiri Tweed is another feather in the cap as its International quality is famous all across the world. Kashmiri carpets too have a special place on global map as their mind-blowing craftsmanship is much vouched across continents.

A beautiful state named Orissa is well irrigated by perennial rivers and thus offers landscape rising up from historic temples and towns of its coast. This state is a yet another heritage state that reflects the artistic capabilities and craftsmanship of the locals. Handlooms of Orissa are mainly available in cotton and silk. Orissa's cotton handlooms and textiles have formations that represent the famous Ikat style weaving. Another style called the Bomkai features ornate and heavily bordered embroidered drapes. Orissa silk handlooms and textiles are handspun fabric with metallic luster. Tussar silk is another member of Orissa's famed textile heritage.

West Bengal's capital Kolkata, also known as City of joy is most famous for its famous Bengali culture truly and most tastefully amalgamated with time and witnessing the diversities. Kolkata offers its silk in Internationally acclaimed variants namely Tussar and Bishnupuri silk. These fabrics have subtle sheet and smooth feel and are beautiful to drape. The other famous fabric offered by Kolkata is in form of cotton sarees or the Bangladesh's famous Dhakai sarees. For a typical Bengali look a woman is dressed in a white saree with red borders commonly known as Lalpaar saree, which is most commonly worn during traditional and religious events within the family.

Tamil Nadu
The Southern State of Tamil Nadu is well acclaimed for its Chettinads and Coimbatore cottons. They come in stripes and checks with traditional borders that give a rich and aristocratic appearance. The Chettinad sarees are mainly mustard, red brick and black in color. They reach only till calves which allow women to show their anklets thus offering a sensuous feel. The world famous Kanchipuram saris come from the town of Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu. These Kanchipuram sarees in south Indian style typically have their pallav and/or borders which are in contrast to color of the main field of the sari.

North east
The North-east sector of India offers the Seven Sister states– Arunachal, Assam, Mizoram, Nagaland, Manipur, Tripura and Meghalaya. Across these it's more like a variegated patch-work quilt. A multiplicity of tribes and tribal groups each with its own distinct culture inhabit this region. In Manipur, different embroideries are made for the warriors by the kings as a mark of distinction. Temple designs are made on the borders of chaddars and sarees. Assam is home to several types of silk, the most prominent and prestigious one is Muga silk. The designs and motifs of Assamese fabrics are inspired from nature and the familiar objects that surround them. Arunachal Pradesh is a state with exotic collection of socio-cultural life that blends various traditions and cultures. Here skirts, lungis, wraps, shawls are favourite fashion trends. Truly mesmeric!

And the journey continues…