With a legacy spanning hundreds of years, Murshidabad is as steeped in history as it is in the weaving of handloom silk. It is the hub of the silk weaving industry of Eastern India. At least one Murshidabad silk saree is sure to occupy pride of place in a Bengali cupboard. This silk which comes from silk cocoons found on the mulberry trees is created using the expertise passed on from father to son. Their skills are unparalleled and their fingers work with a life of their own to create silk which is of superior quality and texture.
Weavers making these elegantly colourful sarees,today, were traditionally yarn spinners. Hence, Murshidabad is perhaps the only place wherein both yarn spinning and weaving is done under the same roof. It is indeed awe-inspiring to watch these artisans work with such nimbleness and surety. The end results surpass even the wildest expectations.
The Murshidabad silk is extremely fine textured and this makes them feel light-weight. They can be easily draped and actually help to accentuate the figure of the wearer. With the printed designs varying from the modern to the traditional, these sarees have a universal appeal. From casual wear to formals, these sarees can be worn to grace any and all occasions.
Modern techniques have enabled these weavers to compete nationally and globally. The Murshidabad silk, is, in fact, a favourite with fashion designers because it is very easy to experiment with. Hence, today sarees with their designs interwoven can also be found along with the printed ones. Batik designs are very common and sarees sporting these designs have a brightness which appeal to the eye. The amazing array of colour combinations, from the subtle to the bold, makes these sarees an instant hit whenever they are put on display in shops and stores.
The popularity and charm of Murshidabad silk can be gauged from the fact that huge quantities of this silk were exported to England by the East India Company. Today, too, its popularity remains undiminished, thanks to the efforts put in by the government and other NGOs working in tandem. Suitably known as the textile heritage of India, Murshidabad silk offers exceptional quality at comparatively cheaper rates.
This silk fabric is easy to wear and easy to maintain, needing only to be kept in a damp free environment with occasional dry-cleaning. This helps to maintain this Murshidabad silk for long periods without causing it any untoward harm.