Tales from the land of the Sun

Many people are fond of pointing out that the handloom industry is at the edge of its grave waiting for one strong gust of wind from the powerloom. Despite these rather vivid claims, several handloom societies in the country claim that business has never been better.

“Look, it’s like Ayurveda. When ‘English medicine’ came to India, everyone thought it was the end of Ayurveda. But that’s not true, is it? People who believe in Ayurveda still swear by the herbs. People who prefer Paracetamol go to hospitals. If you look at it as a percentage, sure, Ayurveda was not as popular as it was 100 years ago. But our country’s population was not at a billion a hundred years ago”

The Bargarh handloom cluster from Orissa seems like living proofs. The cooperative society that markets this cluster claims that despite all the challenges, they have not faced a slump in business till date. Bargarh cluster, famous for its ikat tie and dye cotton Sambalpuri sarees, has been passing down a rich history of art and heritage for centuries. One sees a generous use of intricate ancient motifs in these sarees. Since most of the finished pieces emerging from this cluster are naturally dyed, they work with a limited colour palate. But with the penetration of designers and in increasing demand for variety, the weavers are now experimenting with vat colours wherever a natural colour is unavailable.

The weavers of Bargarh have remained loyal to their local history and nature. This is reflected in their motifs and designs. There are innumerable motifs an each of them are classified in special categories. Each pattern, each design, and each motif is given a name before it is implemented into the saree. A saree from this cluster is rarely seen as impersonal. They all carry a story in their weaves.

The biggest challenge faced by this cluster (other than the constantly fluctuating prices of the raw materials) is the marketability. Even though they cater to an international market, sarees from this region do not enjoy a national audience the way the Banarasi sarees do.

GoCoop bring to you exclusive sarees from the Bargarh cluster. You can now make these memorable sarees a part of your wardrobe no matter which part of the country you live in. After all, why should such rich tradition be limited to a select few?

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