From the Antiquities: Tracing the Origins of Berhampuri Saree
Berhampuri Saree, with its timeless beauty, carries a history that dates back 200 years. This stunning weaving pattern was introduced in the 14th century by the Mohuri King, a ruler of the Mohuri kingdom located between the Rushikulya and Bahuda rivers in present-day Odisha, India. It is believed that the Mohuri King invited skilled weavers from Rajahmundry in Andhra Pradesh to settle in his kingdom. These weavers, known as Debangas, brought with them the intricate art of Berhampuri saree weaving. Berhampuri Silk Sarees, named after the silk city of Berhampur, soon captivated hearts and began their journey as an export to various South Asian countries. Today, these handlooms hold a Geographical Indication (GI) tag, testifying to their cultural significance and craftsmanship.
The Exclusive Designs on the Fabric: Exquisite Embroideries and Vibrant Colors
Berhampuri Pata Saree is renowned for its versatility, exquisite embroideries, and eye-catching colors. Each masterpiece requires 20 days of intricate work, with two weavers engaged on a throw shuttle pit loom to weave the iconic Phoda Kumbha on the borders. The Phoda Kumbha motifs represent temple spires and add a distinct charm to these sarees. Furthermore, the intricate Ikat technique is used to create the Badhi Kumbha motif, featuring captivating zigzag lines. The combination of these designs, along with a wide range of vibrant colors, makes Berhampuri Sarees truly mesmerizing.
Odissi and Berhampuri Saree: A Harmonious Connection
The allure of Berhampuri Saree extends beyond its stunning appearance. These handloom sarees are not only worn by women but are also an integral part of the Odissi dance tradition. Odissi, one of the classical dance forms of India, has a distinct style of draping sarees. The men’s attire, known as joda, perfectly complements the women’s saree. The joda consists of two parts: one is draped around the lower part of the body, and the other is worn around the shoulder. This typical Odissi draping style showcases the beauty of Berhampuri Silk Sarees in the realm of performing arts, further highlighting their cultural significance.
Adorning the Divine: Berhampuri Saree in the Jagannath Temple
Berhampuri handloom sarees hold immense religious importance as well. These beautiful and auspicious sarees are draped around the idols of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, and Devi Subhadra in the famous Jagannath temple of Puri, Odisha. The tradition of adorning the deities with Berhampuri Silk Sarees further reinforces their spiritual and cultural significance. It is a sight to behold as devotees witness the ethereal beauty of these handcrafted sarees, adding an extra layer of reverence to the divine idols.
Revival and Recognition: The Journey to GI Tag
In recent years, there has been a concerted effort to preserve and promote the legacy of Berhampuri Saree. The recognition of its exceptional craftsmanship led to the attainment of a Geographical Indication (GI) tag. This prestigious recognition protects the traditional weaving techniques and ensures that only sarees woven in the Berhampur region can bear the label of authenticity. The GI tag has not only safeguarded the heritage of Berhampuri Saree but also provided economic opportunities for the weavers and artisans involved.
Berhampuri Saree: A Fashion Statement with Global Appeal
Beyond its cultural and historical significance, Berhampuri Saree has also made its mark in the world of fashion. Renowned designers and fashion enthusiasts have recognized the timeless elegance and exquisite craftsmanship of these sarees. The combination of traditional techniques with contemporary designs has attracted a global audience. From runways to red carpets, Berhampuri Sarees have become a symbol of refined taste and Indian heritage.
Sustaining the Legacy: Supporting the Berhampuri Weavers
To ensure the continuity of this magnificent craft, it is crucial to support the Berhampuri weavers and their communities. Organizations and government initiatives are working towards empowering the weavers, providing them with better livelihood opportunities, and preserving their traditional skills. By encouraging the demand for Berhampuri Sarees and raising awareness about their cultural significance, we can contribute to the sustainability of this art form and help the weavers thrive.
Berhampuri Saree is a true embodiment of culture and heritage. With its centuries-old knitting pattern, Odissi style of weaving, and iconic Phoda Kumbha design, it continues to captivate hearts and mesmerize the world. The intricate craftsmanship and vibrant colors make every Berhampuri Silk Saree a work of art. Whether adorning dancers or deities, these handloom sarees embody the essence of Indian traditions and showcase the rich cultural heritage of the silk city of Berhampur. Through preservation, recognition, and support, we can ensure that this legacy of artistry and craftsmanship endures for generations to come.