The Indian textile industry has a very diverse background. Long before the modernization of the country, before we fought for our independence before the ominous ships of the East-India Company reached the shores of this great country, India used to consist of a group of princely states. Trade flourished and we became the hub of a major economic belt. And with trade comes the exposure to various types of culture. The Chinese brought in their silk, the British brought their tea and the Persians brought in their artwork. One of the finest gifts the Persians brought with themselves is ‘Gara’, am exquisite Persian embroidery.
The Origin Story of Gara
We can trace this Parsi embroidery back to 650AD. According to the historians, when the Parsi men went to trade with China, they brought back with them yards of silk. The women then used colorful silk threads to weave beautiful designs and motifs depicting the beauty of the nature surrounding them. That is why you will find the ‘gara’ sarees have a wonderful depiction of flora and fauna in them. The motifs and the artworks are highly influenced by not only Chinese designs but also Indian and Zoroastrian works. Gara found its way into the Indian heritage around the 8th century. Around this time, a population of Parsi settled down in Gujrat and in and around the western part of the country.
The Designs, The Fabric and The Motifs
Gara is one of the finest weaving in the world. Its finess, neat needlework and depiction of nature make it a treat to look at. To be more precise, gara is a needle-work technique, an ode to nature. You can categorize them by their style- A traditional gara comes in three basic styles — a pallu with a border with small, intricate motifs weaved around it., the famous ‘jaal’ pattern and the borders which can be stitched into the saree.
Some of the most common motifs are ‘Cheena Cheeni’ depicting a Chinese couple, carrying lantern; polka-dotted motif called ‘kaanda papeta’, ‘Marga Margi’ and ‘Chakla Chakli’. The famous Cheena Cheeni motif goes extremely well with oxidised jewellery. Buy the best kinds from the authentic shops of Oxidised jewellery in Kolkata.
Gara embroidery is traditionally done using white or pastel threads on vibrant colored silk fabrics. The weavers create the motifs through satin stitches, tiny Chinese knots (kha kha), French knots and long and short stitches. The stitches are made in a very dense form making the motifs look seamless, almost as if it were a painting.
In conclusion, Parsi embroideries are a great example of the diverseness of Indian textile heritage. Not only India, Gara saree forms an important part of Kolkata Handloom Saree heritage too. We have a habit of taking the best styles from the outside world and making it our own.
If you are looking for a high-quality gara embroidery garment, visit the various Dakshinapan Saree shops. Some of the shops have the best collection of Persian saree.