India has a rich variety of silk worms which can be used to derive silk of many varied types and textures. One such worm residing in Assam and feeding off castor plants gives rise to threads which can be woven into white coloured Eri silk. Since the process of extraction of silk threads from this particular silk worm does not involve the killing of the insect, this Eri silk is also known as the “Ahimsa silk” or the silk of peace. Other names include “Errandi or Endi Silk”.

The Eri silk worm is grown extensively in the eastern and north-eastern states of India. The quality of this silk tends to have a cottony feel thus making for a fine, dense and coarse texture. The thermal property of the ability of this silk makes it an ideal all year round wear. Because it is also darker in colour and heavier than the other silks, it can be effectively used to intermingle with the other cotton, wool and silk fibres. The Eri silk is quite cheap and affordable and is extensively used by Buddhist monks in and around these regions.

Image credits: mid-day
Image credits: mid-day

Traditionally the woolly and coarse feel of these silk threads made it an ideal raw material for making shawls, blankets, jackets etc. But the availability of spun yarns of Eri with very fine texture has opened up new areas for its use. Hence traditional sarees, furnishings, wall-hangings etc., are also being made from this silk.

Other than its thermal capabilities, it also has the ability to absorb moisture and its products are also eco-friendly. This makes it ideally suitable for making baby dresses and dress materials. This silk is also used in the making of “Pattachitras”, the traditional art form of Orissa, and the Kantha stitch of West Bengal. After texturing, this raw Eri Silk gets a beautiful golden sheen which accounts for the yellow colour of the highly prized Tussar Silk.

Image credits: Fashionlady
Image credits: Fashionlady

Today, there are a number of shops which sell Eri silk, both offline and online. Its rich colour and bold patterns makes it an instant hit for all time use especially for small get-togethers and office parties. These sarees are beautiful and universal in appeal and versatile in their use. The ease with which this saree can be draped and worn makes it a popular and common piece of item to be found in almost every cupboard. The fact that they are extremely affordable only adds up to its case. Reasons enough to update your wardrobe?

 

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