Bomkai Saree: A Fusion of Ikat, Embroidery, and Elegance

Bomkai saree
Bomkai saree with Ikat Pallu

Introduction to Bomkai Saree

Woven on a pit loom, Bomkai saree, also known as Sonepuri, is a remarkable fabric that emerges from the convergence of two beloved components of the Odisha textile industry. It combines the intricate art of Ikat weaving with the beauty of embroidery. Bomkai sarees boast borders adorned with contrasting colors, while the pallus are embellished with intricate threadwork. Inspired by nature and tribal art, the motifs on Bomkai sarees give them a fascinating look, making them a favorite choice for those seeking elegance and sophistication. Bomkai sarees can be found in a range of fabrics, including both cotton and silk varieties.

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The Historical Significance of Bomkai

Bomkai saree holds historical significance as one of the traditional gems of Odisha’s textile heritage. Originating in the southern coastal parts of Odisha, particularly in Sonepur, this embroidered cloth is a testament to the rich ensembles that originated on the shores. Today, Bomkai sarees are highly regarded not only in Odisha but also in other parts of the country. Traditionally worn by Brahmins of the South during rituals, Bomkai or Sonepuri has become an illustrious attire that showcases the craftsmanship of the artisans.

The Artistry of Bomkai Weaving

Bomkai sarees exhibit exquisite artistry, combining the techniques of Ikat and embroidery. These sarees are handwoven on pit looms, allowing the weavers to create intricate patterns and designs. The extra weft technique employed in Bomkai weaving results in stunning motifs that reflect the beauty of nature and tribal art. The weavers’ skillful hands bring life to the fabric, creating a visual treat for the eyes. The southern coastal areas of Odisha, especially Sonepur, are renowned for producing some of the most beautiful Bomkai sarees.

Innovative Additions: Zari Thread Work

The introduction of zari thread work stands out as a captivating innovation in the evolution of Bomkai sarees. While the traditional motifs on the pallus used to be created through angular discontinuance, shimmering zari has now become the new base for these patterns. This addition of zari thread work has given Bomkai sarees a fresh appeal without compromising the essence of the fabric. The blend of traditional weaving techniques with modern elements has contributed to the popularity and timeless beauty of Bomkai sarees.

Bomkai and its Association with Kathak Dancers

Beyond its cultural significance, Bomkai sarees have also found their place in the world of performing arts. Odishi dancers around the world often choose to adorn themselves with the elegance of Bomkai sarees during their performances. The graceful drape, intricate designs, and vibrant colors of Bomkai sarees perfectly complement the dynamic movements and expressions of the dancers. This association has further enhanced the reputation of Bomkai sarees as a symbol of grace and artistic expression.

Bomkai’s Presence in World Fairs and High-profile Events

The allure of Bomkai sarees extends beyond the borders of India. These exquisite sarees have become a major attraction in world fairs dedicated to fabrics, textiles, and attires. Their unique blend of Ikat, embroidery, and rich cultural heritage captivates visitors from around the globe. Bomkai sarees have also made appearances in high-profile events, such as the wedding of Bollywood celebrities Abhishek Bachhan and Aishwarya Rai. These events highlight the global recognition and admiration for the beauty and craftsmanship of Bomkai sarees.


Bomkai saree, with its fusion of Ikat and embroidery, represents the pinnacle of artistic excellence in the Odisha textile industry. Its historical significance, intricate designs, and association with performing arts have made it an illustrious attire both in Odisha and beyond. The innovations, such as the addition of zari thread work, have kept Bomkai sarees relevant and appealing to contemporary fashion sensibilities. Whether worn by Odishi dancers or showcased in world fairs, Bomkai sarees continue to enchant with their timeless beauty and cultural significance.

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