A Story of Sambalpuri Saree by Koshalicrafts Team

Sambalpuri Sarees

Authentic and traditional hand woven ikat sambalpuri sarees from Odisha state of India. The Tie-dye art reflected in the intricate weaves of sambalpuri silk sarees is a technique where the threads are first tie-dyed and later woven into a fabric. Also known as Sambalpuri Ikat, Sambalpuri sarees are produced in the Bargarh, Sonepur, Sambalpur, Balangir district and Boudh District of Odisha Made from 100% hand-woven fabric, these ikat sambalpuri sarees are known for their extra-ordinarily woven pallus and borders in contrasting colours and meaningful designs inspired from the temples of Odisha.

History and origin

It is said that the art of sambalpuri ikat migrated to Western Odisha with the Bhulia community who are believed to have fled Northern India after the fall of the ChouhanEmpire at the hands of the Mughals in the year 1192 AD. Since then and up to the year 1925, this art flourished in Western Odisha with just limited number of designs and consisted mostly of saris used by the womenfolk of Odisha that came in few standard vegetable colours. These saris were known as ‘Bhulia-Kapta’. The demand was restricted only to Odisha and the craftsmen lived in penury until in 1980’s, the then prime minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi popularized the weave throughout the country by wearing them.

Characteristics & Features:

Sambalpuri sarees reflect an original style of craft known as Baandha. Traditionally, craftsmen created Baandhas with images of flora or fauna or with geometrical patterns. Newer designs depicting portrait, land scape and flower pods are seen in recent creations by current generation Baandha weavers. Created using a tie & dye technique, the yarns of sambalpuri sarees are tied according to the desired patterns to prevent absorption of dyes, and then dyed. The unique feature of this form of designing is that the designs are reflected almost identically on both side of the saree.This versatile technique enables a craftsman to weave colourful designs, patterns and images into a saree capable of inspiring a thought or conveying a message.

Weaving Process:

Exclusivity of Sambalpuri sarees is in the way they are made. Yarns are tied and dyed manually. It is an arduous process which requires not only patience but fine skills. Created with the three shuttle weaving technique and the extra heald shaft design on primitive pit looms, it is a labor intensive product, and hence expensive. Bomkai saris combine bandha and supplementary thread work. This is called kapta jala, which refers to the dobby mechanism (jala).


Patterns, Colors and Motifs:

Ikat has many styles among the weavers of Orissa. The district of Sambalpur lends its name to the Sambalpuri weave. The Sambalpur Vichitrapuri sari has an extra warp pattern on the body and an extra weft pattern on the pallu, while the shakarapara designs of squares of different colours: white, red and black are in double ikat. The colour scheme for the weave is predetermined with extraordinary precision, so that when the dyed threads are woven together, the design appears in the finished textile, as if by magic.

Among the many flavors of Sambalpuri sareesBomkai sarees also known as Sonepuri sarees are extra-ordinarily woven in the pallu with several contrasting colours and designs.The traditional craftsmanship of the ‘Bandhakala’ is known for its incorporation of traditional motifs like shankha (shell), chakra (wheel), phula (flower), all of which have deep symbolism

Price Range:

Sambalpuri sarees are labour intensive and can range anywhere from 3000/- to 500000/-

How to Identify a Sambalpuri Saree:

The sambalpuri sari is extra-ordinarily woven in the end piece (pallu) with several contrasting colours and designs. The appearance of the sari is related to simplicity and has a tribal tinge in it. The sari is normally dyed to attain the red, black and white background colours. However, today one can find the sari in several designs and multiple colours while retaining their originality. The warps are suitably woven to produce multi coloured end piece. Several patterns are found in the sari which has different names like pestle (rukha), hour-glass shaped drum (dambaroo), small flowers (kanthi phoola), bitter gourd (karela), peacock (mayur/mayuri) and fish.

Wash & Care Guidelines:

  • Use a mild detergent after two or three plain washes. Do not keep the sari soaked in detergent for long.
  • Do not brush or lash a silk saree as it would lead to tearing of the silk or zari.
  • Wash pallu and border separately in the beginning.
  • Do not bundle it or keep it wet for a long time.
  • In case of stains, wash with cold water immediately.
  • For hard stains, get the sari dry cleaned.
  • Do not bundle the wet sari along with other garments liable to cause staining.
  • Chlorine bleach should never be used on silk as it damages the silk and causes it to yellow.