Baluchar sari is the traditional silk or brocade sari from Bengal which gets its name from the small village of Baluchar near Murshidabad where it originated. The twisted silk warp has heavy silk as weft often in contrast colours. This sari is a typical example of a traditional Baluchar sari. It has a violet ground decorated with diagonal repeats of small kalga patterns in white, cream, dark pink, green, blue and maroon. A broad border runs all around with stylized pink flowers in a continuous meander. The centre of the elaborate pallu has five large kalga or paisley motifs, four of which are woven in pink and maroon silk. The fifth one done only in maroon is what is known as nazarbatu, a motif with some flaw. The Baluchar weavers intentionally allowed a nazarbatu or a flaw in the colour or design, to ward off the evil eye. The design around the central row of kalgas depicts a contemporary scene of a steam engine and train which must have been a novelty at that time. The European passengers wearing tall hats are seated in the two-tiered coach of a train. In between these, some composite animal and human figures also appear. Enakshi Bhavnani also reports a similar sari showing a railway scene in her book ‘Decorative Designs And Craftsmanship of India’.

Though produced in Bengal the composition of the decorative design on the Baluchar sari is typically that of Gujarat. The saris in Bengal emphasise the border decoration while the pallu is generally quite simple. The style of draping a sari in Bengal emphasises the beauty of the border rather than the pallu ends, whereas the pallu is emphasised in the manner Gujarati women drape their saris. A large number of Gujarati merchants had settled near Murshidabad where these saris originated. It is possible that these Gujarati merchants ordered these Baluchar saris for their women which would explain the introduction of a large decorative pallu in this type of sari produced in Bengal.


  • Title: Baluchari Sari
  • Date Created: 20th century CE
  • Location: India
  • Type: Sari
  • Medium: Silk
  • Region: Baluchar, West Bengal
  • History of Style of Technique: Hassel-free days of childhood end quickly and the spring of life commences with youth. As spring brings colour and fragrance the youth also experiences different emotions in life. This is also a stage when a person enters the world of a householder. Marriage initiates the life of a householder. Textiles associated with this new phase of life gain importance. Every religion, region and community has its own textiles associated with marriage ceremonies. Generally the bride wears either a red or yellow costume as red symbolizes hope and a new beginning and yellow symbolizes happiness as well as knowledge. On leaving her maiden world behind, along with sweet memories the bride takes with her heirloom textiles wrapped with blessings and love of her parents and dear ones. Thus traditional textiles are passed on from generation to generation as a symbol of love and care.
  • Dimensions: 474 x 114 cms
  • Accession Number: 79.93/1

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