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Sambalpuri Sari: Living tradition
The Sambalpuri saris are made from fabric woven on a handloom, and is popular throughout India. Varieties of the Sambalpuri saris include Sonepuri, Pasapali, Bomkai, Barpali, Bapta saris which have substantial demand.
SAMBALPURI SARIS are some of the most beautiful saris in India. These saris are an incomparable. The saris come in a variety of designs and colours to suit every taste and pocket. The Sambalpuri saris are made from fabric woven on a handloom, and are popular throughout India. Varieties of the Sambalpuri saris include Sonepuri, Pasapali, Bomkai, Barpali, Bapta saris which have substantial demand. Most of them have been named after the places of their origin, and are popularly known as Pata. Paintings of the Tussar saris depicting Mathura Vijay, Raslila and Ayodhya Vijay owe their origin to Raghurajpur Patta Paintings.

Sambalpuri fabrics have their original style of crafts known as Baandha. Traditionally, craftsman created Baandhas with images of flora and fauna or with geometrical patterns. Most recently, new types of Baandha depicting portrait, landscape and flower pods are in vogue. Baandha fabric is created using a tie-dye technique. The yarns are tied according to the desired patterns to prevent absorption of dyes, and then dyed. The yarns or set of yarns so produced is called ’Baandha’. The unique feature of this form of designing is that the designs get reflected almost identically on both side of the fabric. This versatile technique enables a craftsman to weave colourful designs, patterns and images into a fabric capable of inspiring a thought or convey a message. Thus Baandha can be defined as "A length of systematically arranged yarn, dyed according to a preconceived design in such a manner so as to enable a weaver to portray the design when the yarn is converted to a fabric through the process of weaving". It is believed that this art came to Western Orissa along with the Bhulia community who fled Northern India in the year 1192AD after the fall of the Chouhan Empire at the hands of the Mughals. Since then up to the year 1925 it flourished in Western Orissa in a limited number of designs and in vegetable colours and consisted mostly of saris used by the womenfolk of the Kosal region. These saris were known as ’Bhulia-Kapta’.

The master craftsmen who contributed to the development of Sambalpuri textiles were Padmashree Kunja Bihari Meher, Padmashree Chatrubhuja Meher and Padmashree Krutharth Acharya. Sambalpur textiles today include furnishing materials, dress materials and saris in silk, cotton and mercerized cotton in a variety of colours and many different designs. Baandha craftsmen are also masters of the ’extra warp’ and ’extra weft’ style of designing which can be seen in almost all forms of Baandha textiles. Radhashyam Meher also produced Khadi textiles using the Baandha art.

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