Silk is the personification of opulence and grandeur. This coveted textile with a satin smooth texture and luster has been used by humans for making various products like bedcovers, robes and dresses for decades. However, bringing life to this luscious fabric is quite a meticulous process.
The grandeur of silk sarees
Silk sarees of India are famous for their lustrous beauty, vibrant colors and beautiful designs. These luxurious and lavish sarees are an important part of Indian weddings and celebrations. These gorgeous sarees elicit feelings of luxury and richness in our minds. A variety of traditionally rich silk sarees are manufactured in different parts of the country.
What makes silk sarees so expensive?
Real silk sarees are very expensive as the process of producing silk is very meticulous and time consuming. It takes about 10000 cocoons to make just 2kg of silk. The most expensive kind of silk is obtained from the Bombyx Mori moth, which is a native of China. These silk moths feed on the leaves of mulberry plants. Mulberry silk is the highest quality silk available for purchase. It is also the most expensive type of silk. Other costs associated with the production, such as the exclusive feel of the fabric, converting it into a workable material makes it so expensive.
The production of a silk saree involves many stages, processes and efforts. The completion of one silk saree takes approximately one week for the weavers and that too depends upon the weather condition. Due to all the factors, the grand silk sarees come with a hefty price tag.
The most popular silk sarees of India
Silk Sarees are well known for their grandeur and inevitable charm. They are a symbol of India's rich textile heritage, feminism and muliebrity. These sarees play a dominant role in the ethnic wardrobe of every Indian woman. Here are the different types of silk sarees which have always been favored by women of India.
Assam Paat Saree
Pat Silk sarees are the finest version of Munga silk. Pat silk is produced by silkworms known as Bombyx Mori which feed on mulberry leaves. These sarees are lightweight and delicate in texture .They are very popular among the Assamese brides and are known for their durability.
Banarasi Silk Sarees
Banarasi silk sarees are the true embodiment of grandeur and richness. These stunning silk sarees are very popular and are an integral part of Indian weddings and functions.
The Banarasi silk saree features brocade work done with silver or gold threads. The compact weaving, and figures with small details, metallic visual effects, jaal, and mina work add to the charm of these exquisite sarees.
Baluchari Silk Sarees
Originally woven in the Murshidabad district of West Bengal, and today in Bishnupur, Balucharis are rich silk sarees characterized by intricate weaving in the pallav and borders, depicting stories from epics, historical and religious texts. The grandeur of a baluchari is further enhanced when the weaving is in gold colour, giving it the name ‘Swarnachari’. The opulence of Baluchari sarees make them apt for wearing at festivals & weddings.
Bhagalpur silk sarees
Bhagalpur silk sarees are also known known as Tussar silk Sarees. These sarees have their origin in the Bhagalpur region of Bihar, which is famous as the silk city of India. These sarees came into existence during the Industrial Revolution. Made from the cocoons of Antheraea phaphia silkworms, the fabric of these sarees is much cheaper than silk .This silk is more wearable at hotter parts of the country due to its cool nature.
Chanderi silk sarees
The traditional Chanderi handloom sarees hail from the state of Madhya Pradesh. They are light weight sarees are made of soft cotton with a silky texture. These sarees look extremely graceful. The narrow border and booti designs add to the beauty of these sarees.
Kanjeevaram silk sarees
The origin of these majestic sarees is the Kanchipuram region of Tamil Nadu. This grand silk saree is considered the queen of all the handloom sarees. Woven with Pure mulberry silk, it is mostly worn by the brides of South India for a special occasion.
Kota silk sarees
Kota silk sarees, popularly known as ‘Kota-Masuria’ are produced in Rajasthan. These Sarees are very light weight and easy to handle.
Garad Silk sarees
The quintessential Bengali saree, Garad or Gorod is distinguished by a plain red border on a white or off-white silk body, and is among the most popular sarees from Bengal. Variations of the traditional garad saree come with striped borders and fine motifs along the body. The red borders and pallav are often replaced by other colours, giving rise to a much wider range of garad silks. These pristine sarees are usually worn for pujas and religious ceremonies.
Silk sarees are the true epitome of luxury. No wedding is complete without these opulent and expensive sarees. With proper care you can enhance the longevity of these sarees. If you don’t store them properly then the fabric will deteriorate as time passes.
How to determine the purity of silk sarees
- Genuine silk sarees have a smooth touch with minute variations in evenness of texture.
- They come with a hefty price tag.
- You can hear a crunching sound if you scrunch them up.
- A touch test can help you tell a real silk saree. Rub the silk saree with your hands. If you feel warmth on rubbing it, then the silk is genuine.
- Extract 2 – 3 threads from the fabric and ignite them with a lighter. Observe the burning pattern and smell. A genuine silk fiber smells like burnt human hair, because both silk and hair are made of protein, and the ash produced is brittle. Whereas an artificial silk thread smells like burnt plastic and no ash is produced
- Take special care while washing a silk saree.
- Avoid washing your silk sarees frequently as frequent washing can damage the fabric.
- The first wash should be done in salt water. This will prevent bleeding of color.
- Use mild detergents such as Ezee for subsequent washes.
- Don’t wring and squeeze your saree excessively to remove water.
- Wash one saree at a time.
- Rinsing your saree with white vinegar leaves the silk fabric lustrous.
- Hang it in a shady area and let it air dry.
How to remove food and oil stains from silk sarees
A fresh stain can be removed by gently blotting it up with a damp cloth. You can try sprinkling some talcum powder on oil stains and leave it for some time. Talcum powder will absorb the oil. Dust it off and wash the stain with a gentle detergent. Avoid scrubbing the fabric.
Store your precious silk sarees carefully
- Don’t hang your silk sarees on metal hangers as metal can react with the fabric and leave those pesky rust stains.
- Fold your sarees properly and wrap them in a muslin cloth.
- Store them in a cool dry place
- Use silica gel to ward off fungal growth on your sarees.
- Refold zari base work based sarees regularly. This will prevent the tearing of the fabric in between the fold lines