Baluchari from Bishnupur, West Bengal

Baluchari, a silk fabric may have originated in Baluchar a village of Murshidabad district, but it is associated more with Bishnupur district.

Baluchari from Bishnupur

There are looms in the lanes and by lanes of Bishnupur town and I could visit one where they permitted me to take pictures. Usually it is a family business kind of thing. Silk is procured, designs are planned and within the stipulated time the finished product is delivered. These sarees sell for more than double the price in open market compared to what the weaver gets.

Baluchari from Bishnupur

Silk threads that contrast the base color is used to weave stories and characters on the borders and aanchal (the part that is thrown over the shoulder) of the saree.

The Making of Baluchari Saree

The production process of Baluchari can be divided into several parts:-

Cultivation of cocoons:

Since the discovery so many years ago that the fiber or filament composing the cocoon of the silkworm can be constructed into a beautiful and durable fabric, silkworms have been bred for the sole purpose of producing raw silk.

Processing of yarns:

To make the yarn soft, it is boiled in a solution of soda and soap and then dyed in acid color. The yarn is stretched from both the sides in opposite directions putting some force with both palms. This process is needed to make the yarn crisper.

Motif making:

Making of the motifs for aanchal and other part of Baluchari is in itself an intricate process. The design is drawn on a graph paper, it is colored and punching is done using cards. After punching, these cards are sewed in order and fixed in the jacquard machine.

Weaving:

After jacquard loom has been introduced, weaving of a Baluchari saree takes five to six days to get completed. Two weavers work on it on shifting basis. Baluchari thus prepared becomes the sign of aristocracy, the attire of status. Maintenance of quality of Baluchari saree is taken care of precisely. The quality is checked from the stage of dyeing of the yarn to the packaging of the saree.

Every Bengali bride owns one. If you are ever there do take one for the woman in your life!

Souvenir Bankura Horse
Hansehswari Temple, Hooghly

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