SARIS of SUALKUCHI Assam

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1. Sualkuchi is a large weaving village (town) i.e. about 32 kms from Guwahati. We left at 7 am and reached by 8.15 ish. This album covers shows how saris are made & displays products of two shops, one saris and two Assamese Mekhla. In between is the local Satra (monastery) and Shiv Mandir. Blue colour sari made of Mulberry silk.

2. First lot of pics are at workshop of Assam Silk Bhandar, High School road, Sualkuchi. These are looms. Hand operated looms are called taatxaal. It is no longer commercially viable to dye the silks before weaving here so Mulberry silk comes from Bangalore, the Chinese silk has strength and glazing. Some silk comes from Vietnam too.

3. Lady weaving sari. Labour in their units is mostly Bodo. Sualkuchi is called the Manchester of Assam.

4. Peacock colour sari made of Mulberry silk. As a silk weaving village it was established in the 17th century by Momai Tamuli Barbarua, a great administrator of the Ahom king during reign of King Swargadeo Pratap Singha (1603-1641). Silk weaving in Sualkuchi goes back to the 10-11th centuries.

5. Butterfly design made of Muga silk. The crisp, bright, gold muga silk, exclusive to Assam, is of superior quality and very costly. The village finds reference in Kautilya’s Artharashtra and is referred to with name Suvarnakudya of ancient Kamrupa, where the best quality of Patrona (Pat) was produced around the 4th century BC.

6. Muga Colour sari made of Mulbery silk. Till the 1930’s weaving was limited to the Tanti community. Later on other communities got involved. Am not an expert-any errors write back. Some caption info taken from this site http://gaatha.com/the-silk-village-sualkuchi-aasam/

7. Merum black made from Mulberry silk. Making style is Tana Bana i.e. Tana warp is 2 ply and Bana is 3 ply.

8. Miri design made from Tussar silk. Another type of silk is Eri silk also called Ahimsa silk because the silk worm is not stifled or killed while in the cocoon. Eri is quite similar to Tussar.

9. View of loom.

10. Mogor design made from Mulberry silk.

11. Muga colour made from Tussar silk.

12. Blue MEKHELA Chadhar.

13. Mogor design made of Muga silk. Missed seeing the Vastra Udyan near the entrance to Sualkuchi. It has a museum which showcases life at Sualkuchi.

14. Green sari made of Mulberry silk. Shop number is 0361 2830225. Ask for Kushal Medhi, give eSamskriti reference & ask for a discount. In Guwahati their shop is at Dr J.C. Das road, Panbazar. Phone 0361 2602577.

15. Brahmaputra on the banks of Sualkuchi. To your right is a natural protrusion of land. It is this land that has saved Sualkuchi from floods many a time.

16. This is a 400 year old Satra, Hatisatra. It was established by Kanuram Thakur Aata. Satra is a religious monastery, storehouse of art and culture where resides Guru (Sattradhikar (spiritual head), Dev, Naam (chanting of Krishna’s name) & Bhagat (devotee). Satra has Naamghar (prayer hall), Manikut (place to keep the asana), Hati (dwelling place for inmates & Bharalghar (treasure house).

17. Inside Naamghar. It is the centre to practice spiritual, moral & artistic knowledge. It consists of a hall where devotees gather, listening and enchanting of the name of the Bhagawata (Absolute Soul) and playing musical instruments. End of hall is a Manikut (wooden structure). Brahma is placed in the Asana in the Manikut. On its top is Guru Sthan where the Bhagawata Purana is kept.

18. External wall of Naamghar has depiction from the life of Sri Krishna. Miniature art in shades of green, yellow and blue adorns its walls.

19. Close to the satra on top of a hill is Siddheswari Devalaya dedicated to Lord Shiva.

20. This is the unit of Sunil Baishya. He makes Assamese clothes ie Upper garment Chadhar and lower Mekhela. Labour is mostly Bodo. Small children all over the unit in cradles or playing. Silk yarn comes from Bangalore.

21. Lady at work. As on date of visit have 59 Jackard looms.

22. We display 3 Mekhela. Really loved this blue. “A popular design used in mekhela chadars is the kinkhaap. It is believed that this design has been used since the days of the Ahom kings and consists of two front-facing lions.” Some caption info take from this very good article https://www.outlookindia.com/outlooktraveller/explore/story/46712/assam-the-weaving-village-of-sualkuchi

23. This one looks marriage type. Made a mistake that did not go the main market – my driver was clueless on direction and I was not at my adventurous best. Hope Ishwar sends me again.

24. Loved this one. If you wish to buy Sunil Baishya number is 98641 50445. On eSamskriti do see albums on Paithani Saris Maharashtra, Maheshwari Saris Madhya Pradesh, Barmer textiles Rajasthan, Sadhana NGO Udaipur and Shrujan Kutch Gujarat.