You are currently viewing Double Cloth Sarees from West Bengal. The Handloom Trail.

Double Cloth Sarees from West Bengal. The Handloom Trail.

Handloom Trail for Double Cloth Saree

Exotic West Bengal- Santipur & Phulia handloom trail! 

Santipur‌ and Phulia (also spelled as Fulia) a small town in West Bengal’s Nadia district, ‌are known for excellent skilled‌ ‌weavers‌ ‌and‌ ‌national‌ ‌award‌ ‌winners!‌ ‌

 Santipur‌ has been the weaving hub of handlooms for over 500 years! Churning out beautiful tangails with vibrant colour combos. Phulia came into existence only after the partition in 1947 and ‌got ‌branded‌ ‌as‌ ‌the‌ ‌hub‌ ‌for‌ ‌beautiful‌ ‌handloom‌ ‌sarees!‌ ‌It was naturally ‌surprising, and after inquiring ‌further ‌ learned ‌ that ‌ the “Basak” Community, who had migrated to Phulia, came from Mymensingh District in East Pakistan. With that came the outstanding weaving technique of Jamdani. The master weavers from the Basak community combined the jamdani weaving with the tangail sarees, a beautiful contribution to the weaving community of West Bengal. Santipur and Phulia are now on par with the intricacies of this weaving technique.

The Story

Walking‌ ‌down‌ ‌the‌ ‌streets‌ ‌of‌ ‌these‌ ‌small‌ ‌villages,‌ ‌one‌ ‌can‌ ‌hear‌ ‌the‌ ‌click-clack‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌handlooms‌ ‌and‌ ‌the‌ ‌aggressive‌ ‌power‌ ‌looms.‌ ‌It is quite a task if you can not differentiate ‌a‌ ‌handloom‌ ‌from‌ ‌a‌ ‌power‌ loom, then you could‌ ‌land‌ ‌up‌ ‌buying‌ ‌a‌ ‌power‌ loom‌ ‌at‌ ‌the‌ ‌price‌ ‌of‌ ‌a‌ ‌handloom!‌ ‌Both‌ ‌co-existing‌ ‌side‌ ‌by‌ ‌side.‌ ‌I‌ ‌hear‌ ‌people‌ ‌taking‌ ‌a‌ ‌lot‌ ‌of‌ ‌pride‌ ‌in‌ ‌voicing‌ ‌out‌ ‌-‌ ‌you‌ ‌get‌ ‌the‌ ‌best‌ ‌and‌ ‌the‌ ‌cheapest‌ ‌sarees‌ ‌in‌ ‌Bengal, ‌how‌ ‌very‌ ‌true. I‌ ‌need‌ not ‌spell‌ ‌out‌ ‌why?

‌I‌ ‌was‌ ‌hunting‌ ‌for‌ ‌the‌ ‌exact location of‌ ‌the‌ ‌weaver‌ ‌on‌ ‌my‌ ‌last‌ ‌day‌ ‌of‌ ‌travel. ‌With ‌just a‌ ‌couple‌ ‌of‌ ‌hours‌ ‌to‌ ‌close‌ ‌the‌ ‌trail,‌ going ‌from‌ ‌pillar‌ ‌to‌ ‌post‌, ‌we could not locate‌ ‌the‌ ‌address‌ ‌listed‌ ‌with‌ ‌me. My cab driver‌ ‌was getting worried and almost lost patience‌ ‌as he‌ ‌had‌ ‌a‌ ‌long‌ ‌way‌ ‌to‌ ‌drive‌ ‌me‌ ‌back‌ ‌to‌ ‌Kolkata‌ ‌airport, and I was not giving up! ‌I‌ ‌‌did‌ ‌not‌ ‌want‌ ‌to‌ ‌tire‌ ‌him‌ ‌out‌-  ‌it‌ ‌would‌ ‌be‌ ‌nightfall‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌way‌ ‌back.‌ ‌We‌ ‌halted‌ ‌at‌ ‌a‌ ‌small‌ ‌local‌ ‌tea‌ ‌shop‌ ‌before‌ ‌giving‌ ‌up, grumbling‌ ‌to‌ ‌myself‌ ‌and‌ ‌my‌ ‌local‌ ‌connections,‌ ‌naming‌ ‌the‌ ‌weaver‌ ‌aloud‌, and‌ ‌mentioning‌ ‌that‌ ‌I‌ ‌will‌ ‌have‌ ‌to‌ ‌pursue this task ‌again‌ ‌on‌ ‌my‌ ‌next‌ ‌trip whenever‌ ‌that‌ ‌might‌ ‌be. A miracle happened, at the tea stall, someone ‌overheard‌ ‌us‌ ‌and‌ came forward saying ‌he‌ ‌knows‌ ‌him.‌ ‌Excited, we ‌rushed‌ ‌in‌ ‌that‌ ‌direction,‌ ‌and‌ ‌I‌ ‌discovered‌ ‌one‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌treasures‌ ‌of‌ ‌Bengal. The‌ ‌award-winning‌  ‌double cloth, or call it a ‌ ‌ ‌reversible‌ ‌saree.‌ ‌You can wear either side of the saree, a two-in-one saree! 

The Weave

The weave looks very simple, but it is technically a very complex procedure on the looms! ‌Reversible‌ ‌double-woven‌ ‌cloth‌ ‌has multiple‌ ‌plain‌ ‌weaves.‌ ‌‌Woven‌ ‌in‌ ‌two‌ ‌layers,‌ ‌which‌ ‌may‌ be‌ ‌completely‌ ‌independent,‌ ‌may‌ be‌ ‌joined ‌at‌ ‌one‌ ‌or‌ ‌both‌ ‌selvages,‌ ‌may‌ be‌ ‌held‌ ‌together‌ ‌along‌ ‌the‌ ‌edges‌ ‌of‌ ‌a‌ ‌pattern,‌ ‌or‌ ‌maybe‌ ‌united‌ ‌by‌ ‌a‌ ‌separate‌ ‌binding‌ ‌weft.‌ ‌Double‌ ‌cloth‌ ‌weaves‌ ‌are‌ ‌generally‌ ‌heavy-weight ‌fabrics,‌ ‌but‌ ‌our‌ ‌weavers‌ ‌from‌ ‌exotic‌ ‌Bengal‌ ‌managed‌ ‌to‌ ‌create‌ ‌a‌ ‌beautiful,‌ ‌soft‌ ‌weave‌ ‌from‌ ‌100‌s ‌count‌ ‌yarn!‌ (lower the yarn count like 40s, 60s coarser the quality of the fabric, and higher the count, finer the quality). The‌ ‌weaver‌ won the award from the President of India for his creativity and innovation. He had only‌ ‌four ‌sarees, which I grabbed without giving it a second thought. Check out the new stock – Black and Beige, Red & Blue, Scarlet Red & Beige & Navy Blue & Red.

If you visit Phulia to buy sarees – do check out the Phulia Tangail Shari Bayan Silpa Samabay Samity Ltd. It is an enterprise run by the weavers. The sarees are reasonably priced/the right price. Without dropping names, you have all the big wigs of the handloom industry getting their designer sarees woven from the samity office. The quality systems are excellent and on par with the export standards. If you are lucky, you may land up with some exclusive designer sarees developed as samples. I picked up the plain cotton sarees and got them hand block printed with designer blocks made by the National award winner from Andhra Pradesh. This diversity is what I love about Our India, enormous room for growth, and with a little bit of innovative thinking, one can create a niche in the market! 

Linens, Reshams, blends of Linen, Matka Silks, Tangils, and different kinds of cotton are the main varieties from Santipur and Phulia.

You can browse our collections from Bengal here and the beautiful block printed sarees here. The Linens and Matka silk Sarees are linked here .

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.