For Bengalis, perhaps, there’s no fabric that evokes as much nostalgia as a Baluchari sari. As you trace the elaborately woven motifs on your family’s prized possession, take a walk down memory lane to appreciate its opulence.
1. It all began, in the 18th century,when the capital of undivided Bengal shifted from Dacca to Murshidabad.And the artisans shifted too, setting base in a village namedBaluchar.The tradition goes such that the Baluchari sari was the artisans’ canvas to showcase their patrons’ lives. Back then, the themes revolved around the Nawabs. From women smoking hookah to the Nawabs riding horse carriages, the Baluchari’spallav was a beautifully woven expression of the times.
2. After a flooding forced the artists to move to Bishnupur, the saris’ art was now influenced by the Terracotta temples and episodes from the myths. At this juncture, the prospects of theBalucharitook a hit as the British strengthened their hold over our country. Economic sanctions and multiple famines crippled the industry.
3. And eventually there remained just one weaver from Baluchar -Dubraj Das. The saris he weaved were a statement of pride. Even today, his work can be found in Bengali households, passed down over generations. Post his death, the art of the Balucharisari was headed foroblivion. That was until Shubho Thakur emerged. He contributed greatly to the revival of the Baluchari sari, and he is credited for its existence even today.
4. The exquisite stories woven into the pallavhave changed over the times. But one thing that hasn’t is the treasured position a Baluchari sari still holds in every Bengali woman’s wardrobe.