Thursday, August 28, 2014

Where to shop for Assam silk (Muga and Paat) in Assam?

                 It is quite familiar for an Assamese women to become cynosure of all eyes whenever she wore the traditional Assam silk Mekhela Sador. This happens particularly outside Assam or India. In fact women who frequently travels into other territories often need to comply with demands of Assam Silk Mekhela Sadors for their overseas friends whose staple dress is not Mekhela sador.

        In Assam you will find shops claiming to have authentic Assam silk mekhela Sador in every big or small towns and cities in Assam. But you can take my words for it that not many of  can stand up to their promise.  You will shell out  few thousands to grab one but there is no guarantee on authenticity of silk.  So the  question where to shop for Assam silk is always a valid one. Lack of awareness is rampant and silk mark is the last thing your seller could show. But don't get nervous. There are ways to find out authentic Assam Silk. How? The silk route here can be a physical trip to Assam's Manchester Sualkuchi where Assam silk is traditionally woven by Assamese weavers like those of Benarasi silk in gullies of Benaras and Gorakhpur, Chandouli etc. (Two years back Assam's Sualkuchi silk village was burning over the issue of  sellers allegedly selling Benarasi silks in the name of Assam silk across Assam!) But by and large you will be buying authentic Assam silk and that too at a cost almost 30% lower than in other parts of Assam.

The other route is to take help of a local who knows about the local shops. An Assamese lady would be the most helpful.

Thirdly, Assam's Muga silk is bestowed with a GI tag. So hopefully you will not be hoodwinked by costlier/cheaper variety of unauthentic versions.

Finally, you can rely on Artfed Jagran outlets of Assam in almost all district headquarters and airports. Artfed shops are Assam Govt affiliated shops where you can rely on. For Jagran(artfed shop) I hope to come up with a list of Phone numbers of all Jagran shops in near future.

Last but not the least Trade Fairs organized by various organizations and also Assam government's handicraft dept. You can time your visit during the last and first couple of months of any year to visit maximum number of fairs.

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