The heart-warming vibrancy and diversity of India make it an extraordinarily special country. The soft textures and aesthetic appeal of Indian silks set them apart in a mesmerizing milieu of clothing styles and colorful attire. Textile manufacturers use fabric to create a variety of textiles that cater to the clothing needs of everyone, from the elderly to the young.
A material with a smooth texture and a shimmering appearance, silk has catered to Indians for centuries now. Thus, India now ranks as the country with the most consumers of this fabric. Additionally, the country produces the second-largest amount of silk in the world, after China.
The silk fabrics produced in India are as varied as the regions of the country. India has different types of natural silk that it uses to weave these fabrics. Here we discuss the types of raw silk found in India and silk fabrics made from them.
In India, there are various silk varieties.
Indian suppliers of natural silk produce four different kinds of silk for commercial use. There are four different types, Mulberry silk, Tasar silk, Muga silk, and Eri silk. Over 80% of the silk produced in Pakistan comes from the mulberry silk variety. Because of this, Indian silk comes in either mulberry silk or non-mulberry silk, consisting of the other three kinds.
First, let’s take a look at the silks that aren’t mulberry silk.
The Muga Silk
One of the rarest silks produced in the world is Muga silk, an exclusive specialty of Assam. Glossy and durable, it has an enticing shimmering appearance. Among these strands is silk from the larvae of silkworms named Assam silkmoths (Antheraea assamensis).
Silk from the Muganda plant is among the strongest natural fibers and has a distinctive natural yellowish-golden hue. There is extensive use for the production of mekhela chador (traditional Assamese dress), sarees, kurtas, stoles, etc. It is also the most expensive silk produced in the world.
Every Assamese woman has her heart set on Muga silk. Its beauty and demand stem from the traditional motifs and intricate patterns woven on its fabric. One of its most unique qualities is that the material improves with age and with every wash. The longevity of Muga silk also makes it a popular choice. Muga silk fabrics are often said to last longer than their wearers.
There are three types of silk produced by Assam. One of these varieties of silk is Eri silk, which is also known as Endi silk and Errandi silk. Silkworms are domesticated and grown in Assam, where they produce open-ended cocoons called Samia ricini and Philosamia ricini. Originally, Ahimsa silk served to prevent killing the silkworm. The silkworm does not die as a result of peace silk since it does not kill the silkworm. The Buddhist monks of India, China, Nepal, and Japan prefer silk that comes from nonviolent sources for this reason.
Silk from Eri is known for its characteristic dense and coarse texture, matte appearance, and dull golden yellow sheen. Silk Eri does not cost as much as those from other categories. It is also called the poor person’s silk because of its low price. These silks appear in shawls, quilts, wraps, bedspreads, etc., for their strength and thermally insulating qualities. Silk even makes its way into sarees these days.
It may also be called Kosa silk because of its Sanskrit name, Tussar silk, also spelled Tassar, Tussar, Tussah, Tussur, Tusser, or Tussore silk. The primary producers are West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra. Oak Tusar silk is a more finely tasseled variation of Tasar silk, also produced in India. The silk threads used for Tasar silk are made by the silkworm Antheraea mylitta that lives in wild forests. Silk has earned the name of “wild silk” due to this characteristic. Among the world’s Tasar silk producers, India is ranked second in production and produces Indian Tussar.
The rich texture and gold sheen of rate silk make it unique. Most commonly, these silks get fabricated for sarees. Nevertheless, they are effective for furnishings, dupattas, and dresses. There is a typical papery effect associated with the Tasar silk sarees of West Bengal. Tasar sari silk can also make well-known kinds of sarees, such as Bhagalpuri and Kosa.
The silk of Bhagalpuri
A small town near Patna, Bihar, is called the Silk City for its silk sarees. Bhagalpur is famous for these saris. I have to say that these sarees, in terms of their intrinsic artwork, are spectacular.
Silk by Kosa
Among the silk types produced in Chhattisgarh is Kosa silk, a variety of Tasar silk. In addition to their intricate patterns and decorative designs, Kosa silk sarees are popular for their tribal practices and natural techniques.
The mulberry silk produced in India stands out as the most prominent and renowned silk variety. Besides those states, South India’s Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Jammu, and Kashmir have produced this silk. Known as Bombyx mori, this silkworm produces silk from the silkworm hatchery.
Traditionally produced silk from Banaras
Known as Benarasi or Banarasi silk, this type of silk is one of the finest varieties produced in India. Decoratively embroidered with zari and brocade in gold and silver thread, this silk is found mostly in Varanasi or Banaras in Uttar Pradesh.
In Tamil Nadu, Kancheepuram silk or Kanjeevaram silk traces its origins to the town of Kancheepuram. Silk threads woven from pure mulberry silk are renowned for their lustrous luster, strength, and grandeur. Many silk sarees come from Kanjeevaram, but Kanjeevaram silk sarees are among the most popular in the world.
Assam produces three types of silk, including Pat silk or Paat silk. As a result of its brilliant shine and natural white hue, it is known for its brilliant shine.
Baluchari silk has become a trademark of West Bengal. More than 200 years ago, the Baluchari village in West Bengal gave this weaving tradition its name. Baluchari silk sarees exhibit an elaborately embroidered border and pallu with silk threads depicting mythological scenes.
India is known for its luxury quotient when it comes to silk. Throughout our ceremonies and auspicious occasions, silks add an air of elegance. The shiny fabric gives the wearer a regal appearance, adding to their elegant aura. All the guests and the couple getting married wear silk at our weddings, which is no less than a fashion show of silks. Other celebrations include silks. Our country is the largest consumer as well as producer of silk worldwide.