The dots on this fabric are reminiscent of bor, a small, round fruit that grows well in Rajasthan's harsh, desert climate and is widely enjoyed there. The design is worn by married women of the Kumhar (potters) and Chaudhury (owners of small landholdings) communities. The dots are also said to represent the matkas, round vessels for storing drinking water, made by the Kumhars.
Tangaliya is 700 years old traditional hand weaving technique, Legend tells us that centuries ago, in the stark landscape of Saurashtra, a Bharwad man married a woman from the weaver community amidst great opposition from both sides. Nevertheless, it was a marriage that would forever influence the rich tapestry of Indian craft. The children born to them were known as Dangasia, born of shepherds and weavers, and they created the art of Tangaliya weaving.
A Banarasi sari is a sari made in Varanasi, the holy city of India which is also called Benares or Banaras. The saris are among the finest saris in India and known for their gold and silver brocade or zari, fine silk and opulent embroidery. The saris are made of finely woven silk and decorated with intricate design, and, because of these engravings, are relatively heavy.
The Baluchari Saree originated in West Bengal, and is mainly worn by the women of India and Bangladesh. It is a hand woven saree using richly dyed silk, with intricate motifs depicting Indian mythology woven onto its large ‘pallu’. Baluchari takes a week to be woven, and the craftsmen are largely centered in Murshidabad.
Venkatagiri Sarees are handwoven zari cotton sarees popular for their Jamdani style weaving pattern. Coming from the historic town of Venkatagiri in the state of Andhra Pradesh, Venkatagiri Sarees are one of the softest and most durable south sarees in India. They are usually of six yards and are suitable for all climates. The distinctive feature of a Venkatagiri saree is a big Jamdani motif of a peacock, parrot, swan, mango or leaf in the pallu. The fine weaving and unique zari designs of the sarees made them the preferred choice of royalty in Andhra Pradesh.
Sarees usually carry the name of the place of their origin, and the places where silk sarees are woven are indeed a great many in India! At other times the sarees are given names usually descriptive of their weave or appearance. Each state has its own time-tested traditions of sarees, carrying names in the vernacular, sometimes varying from village to village. This glossary is limited to a mere introduction to the more popular handwoven silk sarees.