Maheshwari Saree is a type of saree prepared using pure silk and cotton fabric. They are available in a wide variety of designs that are woven using brocade or zari. These designs could be checks, stripes, floral borders, and so on. Having originated from the small town of Maheshwar in Madhya Pradesh, this fabric is not just used for crafting sarees but also salwar material and dupattas. Due to the popularity of these sarees, they are easily available in any good saree retailers in Kolkata.
Origin and History
The date of origin of the Maheshwari saree can be traced back to 18th century in Madhya Pradesh. Initially, these sarees were made out of pure silk, but with course of time, cotton also came to be used for producing these elegantly designed clothing.
An interesting story behind the origin of these sarees is that a famous queen had once ordered a large number of artisans and craftsmen from Surat and Malwa to design a unique saree of 9 yards, later termed as the Maheshwari saree. These cloth pieces were used as special gifts for the royal guests of the palace.
A unique feature of the Maheshwari saree is that each has a specific name of its own, which indicates its distinctness. The sarees may be plain at the center and have neatly designed borders, or they may have different variations of stripes and checks. The sarees fall under 5 broad categories namely Chandratara, Chandrakala, Beli, Baingani Chandrakala and Parbi. The Baingani Chandrakala and Chandrakala are plain ones, while the Beli, Chandratara, and Parbi come with stripes or checks.
In spite of their understated grace, these pieces are cherished by women for their polished finish and light weight. Although initially they were only done in silk, Maheshwari sarees are currently available in silk cotton, cotton, and even wool. This light fabric is considered the best choice for women all through the year. If you are in West Bengal, you can purchase one from any good maheshwari saree retailers in Kolkata.
Present day scenario
The craft and style of these sarees faced a huge decline in terms of popularity and productivity after independence. However, with the help of several NGOs, they have been able to revive their reputation to a great extent. It also underwent great renewal. In the beginning, these sarees were made in earthy colours like red, maroon, purple, green, and black. Only natural dyes were used by weavers for the yarn.