Bengal is known for its gorgeous handwoven sarees &mdash from the lightweight tangail and dhaniakhali cottons to intricate jamdanis, kantha, baluchari and Murshidabad silks. Handloom, also known as tant in Bengal, is one of the richest textile hand weaving traditions in India. In Bengal, saree weaving was first documented in Shantipur in the 15th century. This village in Nadia district still gets visitors every year before Durga Puja who come here to buy sarees straight from the weavers.
There are many varieties of sarees in Bengal. Here are a few you can get familiar with before you go shopping. The Tangail saree is famous for its fine weave with extra-weft buits, and tiny repeated motifs. The name comes from the Tangail district in what is now Bangladesh. In Bengal the places which make the saree are - Shantipur, Dhaniakhali, Bagampur and Farasdanga. The Dhaniakhali saree is named after Dhaniakhali in Hooghly district. The saree was done in &lsquokora&rsquo or natural grey earlier, with a border in red ir black. The weaving centres are in Haripal, Rajbalhat Rasidpur, Dwarhata, Ramnagar, Gurap and Antpur area of Hooghly disitrict. The saree saw a resurgence in popularity as it has been the preferred choice of chief minister Mamata Banerjee. The Baluchari saree is an opulent one with depictions of mythological scenes on the pallu. It is mainly produced in Murshidabad. The Baluchari has been granted the status of the geographical indication in India.
Here are five places in Kolkata where you can pick up these handloom sarees made by Bengal craftspersons for your wardrobe.
This chain of handloom stores stocks a variety of different kinds of handloom sarees. The stores are present in Park Street and at Dakshinapan. The initiative is run by the state government and frequently collaborates with Kolkata artists and designers on their products.
Where You can find Biswa Bangla stores in several places such as the Dakshinapan complex in Dhakuria, and on Park Street
This boutique in South Kolkata's Hindustan Park area has a variety or rich handloom and handicraft products. They work with weavers in Bengal to create their signature handloom sarees - such as the famed Abir saris. While here, do not miss having some Bangla snacks with Darjeeling tea at the Byloom Canteen.
Where 58b, Hindustan Park Rd, Golpark, Hindustan Park, Gariahat, Kolkata, West Bengal 700029
Located on Russell Street, this is one of Kolkata&rsquos oldest and most popular saree stores. Their sarees are unique as they have their own handblock print units. Among their customers - prime minister Indira Gandhi and yesteryear actress Nargis. They have a range of exquisite cotton weaves like tangails, and printed silks, and dhaniakhalis.
Where Ground Floor, Queen's Mansion, 13, Russel St, opp. The Bengal Club, Park Street area, Kolkata, West Bengal 700071
Balaram Saha and RMCG Basak
Generations of women in Kolkata would swear by these saree shops in Gariahat which date back many decades. With several floors dedicated to specific kinds of sarees, you will find everything under one roof.
Where Gariahat and Rashbehari Avenue
ALSO READ Kolkata 5 Things To Do Around The Hooghly River