The state of Assam is one of the most striking regions of India. There is hardly any other state which has greater variety and color in its nature, culture and people. One of its most important rural industries is the weaving industry which has flourished here for many centuries. Weaving traditions in India revolve around sarees, which is an ethnic dress worn by the women in most parts of the country. Sarees are a wardrobe staple in India, with each region lending its unique essence to this ethnic garment. The culture of Assam is incomplete without traditional Assam silk sarees and silk weaving.
The state is famous for its silk handloom and the weavers’ expertise in various types of silk like Eri, Muga, Pat etc. The most prominent and prestigious of all is Muga silk, which is a golden silk found exclusively in this state. Muga silk is one of nature’s gifts to Assam. The word Muga is derived from an Assamese word which means yellowish. It is superior in every aspect from the normal white silk that is available all over the world. It has a fine look and lustrous feel, which is further enhanced by the distinctive way it is woven in Assam. Apart from Muga the other prominent forms of silk which comes from Assam are Pat and Eri. Pat silk is produced from the bombyx textor silkworm which feed on mulberry leaves and is usually brilliant white or off white in color. Eri silk has the unique distinction of being a non-violent silk (so named, due to the harmless nature of extracting silk from the worm’s cocoon).
Assam is home to different types of traditional sarees. The Makhela Chaddar, a traditional Assam silk saree, is made up of Muga or the golden silk fiber and is the finest version of Assam Muga silk sarees. It resembles a saree, yet it is not a saree. The distinction lies in the fact that this type of Assam saree is composed of two main pieces of cloth that are draped around the body, unlike a normal saree, which is a single piece of cloth. The bottom portion of the mekhala chadar is draped from the waist downwards and the upper portion has one end tucked at the waist while rest is draped around the upper-body. The mekhla is usually plain but sometimes strewn with small patterns called buta. The Chadar is usually decorated with sprays of flowers and elephant designs interspersed with leaves and sprigs, as well as numerous combinations of geometrical patterns.
Assam is also home to many other forms of traditional one piece Assam pattu sarees which are extremely elegant, with intricate embroidery and motifs. Assam handloom sarees are exceptionally well woven and feature exquisite embroidery. Handloom weaving is a way of life and intensely linked with Assamese culture and heritage. The handloom industry of Assam is known for its rich tradition of making handloom sarees with a focus on detail, embroidery and fabric weaving.
Apart from silk, cotton is also another major fabric used in making Assam sarees. Assam cotton sarees provide a perfect blend of style and comfort. Cotton is an evergreen fabric which can never lose its charm; and combined with the rich designs which are a part of Assam’s culture, it can be used to make the most elegant and comfortable form of clothing. The most exotic part of Assam is the weaving work which cannot be described in any other word except ‘marvelous.’ It doesn’t matter if the weaving is done on silk or cotton, both the fabrics are equally beautiful and unique.
Styling and Trends of Assam Saree
An Assam silk sari makes for an absolutely exquisite piece of clothing, suitable for all special occasions like weddings, parties, cultural festivals and all other kind of ceremonial events. There are a wide range of Assam saree designs and patterns which one can select depending upon the occasion or personal tastes and preferences. Accessorizing it with right trinkets is not that difficult either and when done right, it gives an absolutely stunning and ravishing look to the wearer. A trendy low cut blouse worn with traditional Assam silk saree provides the best combination of tradition and style. It can be dressed up or down according to the wearer’s comfort. Adding gold jewelry in the form of necklace and earrings with the saree adds to the glamour quotient of the wearer. The additional accessories comprising of high heel stilettos, a platinum wrist band and exquisite leather hand bag in elegant colors can complete the look. Otherwise accessories can also be kept at their minimal with just small diamond earrings and/or a pearl necklace; this will allow the stunning Assam silk saree to grab all the attention, which it rightfully deserves.