Sualkuchi, the Manchester of Assam is an area near Guwahati city which is famous for its natural silk yarns. Assam Silk as many love to call it traditionally weaved into different garments in Sualkuchi. In terms of weave, design, colour wearability and above all comfort, you will surely have a treat.
There are three kinds of silk threads commonly found in Assam-- all unique, beautiful and also honored. Paat (white silk), Muga or the golden silk and Eri or Endi the warmer variety. Eri used traditionlly to make shawls, Eri Chador (light shawl) and Barkapor(a huge shawl to cover upper torso) by men. Now Eri is also weaved to make waist Coat or stylish stole and ladies shawl. Paat and Muga are weaved into traditional Mekhela Sador(/chador/), Gamosa, saree, Kurta etc. I would love to quote Mahatma Gandhi at this juncture
"Every Assamese Women is a born Weaver...And she weaves fairy tales in clothe"I mean to say that in tradition of Assam weaving is a very important aspect of community life and although numbers of weavers are shrinking now women have not stopped loving Assam silk and its mekhela sador or anything made of this fabric for that matter.
Paat or White Assam Silk and Muga the Golden silk are two extremely revered and sought after variety now a days given its status of highly priced possession. Assam silk has been becoming increasingly costlier due to the facts that
1. Decrease in forest cover in almost every part of Assam which is very crucial for sustenance of the silk worms.
2. Thread adulteration. Due to infiltration of low cost silks into the silk industry of Assam pure variety of Assam silk is suffering. A few years back the Assam Silk village of Suwalkuchi virtually remained shut under curfew when scores of superficial silk(allegedly Benaras silk) were burnt in front of shops).
3. Third party involvement into the business from weavers to buyers.
Despite the rising cost for both weavers and buyers alike the popularity of Assam silk is ever increasing. If you are invited to any Assamese wedding you are bound to be smitten by the beautiful dress of the brides and others. It is likely that any Assamese girl would attend a wedding reception in her favourite or her mother's Assam silk Mekhela sador only. And you would hardly find any word to describe her beauty in this gorgeous, resplendent and yet not gaudy attire.
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