Handloom Sarees are traditional handwoven ikat saree which is produced in the western part of Odisha. The saree is a traditional female garment in India consisting of a strip of unstitched cloth ranging from four to nine metres in length. Sambalpuri sarees are known for their incorporation of traditional motifs like shankha (shell), chakra (wheel), phula (flower), all of which have deep symbolism, but the highpoint of these sarees is the traditional craftsmanship of the ‘Bandhakala’ and Sambalpuri “Ikat saree”.
In this technique, the threads are first tie-dyed and later woven into a fabric, with the entire process taking many weeks. These sarees first became popular outside the state when the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi started wearing them. In the 1980s and, 1990s they became popular across India. To provide protection to the weavers practicing this art, the handloom tussar silk sarees manufactured in Sambalpurand Berhampur (Berhampur Pattu) in Odisha were included in the Government of India’s Geographical Indications (GI) registry.
Sambalpuri fabrics reflect an original style of craft known as Baandha. Traditionally, craftsmen created Baandhas with images of flora or fauna or with geometrical patterns. More recently, new types of Baandha depicting portrait, landscape and flower pots are being designed. 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 are reflected almost identically on both side of the fabric. Once the frabic is dyed it can never be belached in to other colour. This versatile technique enables a craftsman to weave colourful designs, patterns and images into a fabric capable of inspiring a thought or conveying a message.