Dhonekhali Sari is a cotton sari made in Dhonekhali, Hooghly district, West Bengal. It is a sari with 80 x 80 cotton thread count normally, borders between 1.5 and 2 inches or even more and 5.5 metre long drape and it has its GI Status Registered, with an application no176.
The FISH design seems to have become representative of Dhonekhalis but make no mistake, this existed even so many scores of years ago, just like other patterns… my humble attempt is to showcase what the traditional authentics were all about.
To the layman, these are also familiar as what our discerning Chief Minister Madam dons,but Dhonekhalis have always reigned supreme in Bengal by the sheer dint of being chic, sophisticated with an elegant and understated charm.
Dhonekhali is a traditional Bengal sari that is woven from cotton threads and distinguished by its lightness and transparency. It’s light and airy texture makes it suitable for the warm and humid summers of coastal Bengal, and thus these are loved by women during the hot weather. These are distinguishable as a square-fold sari with a thick border, most of them embellished with decorative woven motifs
Weaving of Dhonekhali Sari is an age old crafting.The craftsmen skillfully weave cotton to thread, using two shuttles in weaving a Dhonekhali Sari. In the weaving process, bundles of cotton threads are washed, sun-dried, bleached, dried again, and then dipped in different colours to dye them. Once the thread gets coloured, it is starched and processed to make it finer and stronger. When this entire process gets completed, then artisans use hand looms and weave the Dhonekhali Sari.
Used mainly for DHONEKHALIS, even TANGAILS, sometimes
MATHAPAAR -Very Broad Borders in a Solid colours, sometimes going up to almost 12” or more. They were often woven in either of the two colours – Red or Black
JOL DUREY-Fine stripes. Jol = Water. Durey = Striped
CHURIPAAR – Fine Striped Border. Churi = Thin Bangles. Paar = Border
JHARNA design -As in Waterfall
KORA RONG – Natural shade, Offwhite / Broken White. Rong = Colour
KHORKI DUREY-Extremely fine stripes, especially found on the body of Dhonekhali saris. Durey = Stripes
GAYE DUREY – Stripes on the Body
DHAALAPAAR – Single coloured Solid Border.
RESHAM PAAR – Border woven with Satin thread / Resham
DUREY PAAR -Durey = Stripe. Paar = Border
NAKSHI – referring to intricate Patterns and Motifs
KHEJUR CHHORI – Typical of old Dhonekhali Saris , design thread, an arrangement of special weft threads of twisted cotton yarns in two colours woven in the Pallu; a kind of intertwined V, plaited, woven motif, in the basic colours of the Sari … however, a lot of the saris found these days do not come with these ones.
DHOOP CHHAON -Shot Colours .A fabric woven from warp and weft yarns of two or more colours, producing an irridescent appearance. A “shot” is a single throw of the bobbin that carries the weft thread through the warp.
MISSING LINES’ WEAVE -Weft yarn missing regularly or at intervals while weaving a fabric
About the author
Born and brought up in Kolkata; Hold a Masters’ degree in English Literature along with a B.Ed qualification. Taught the same for a couple of years and then went in for a total switch in career … working with a multi national Bank, who were the pioneers in financing Auto loans. Thus, my life has been ‘crafted’ in a non – linear trajectory.
Soon I made up my mind to pursue my passion … Ethnic Handwoven Handlooms & Antique/Vintage Tribal Silver Jewellery.
I’ve had no formal training in designing. Just that I hail from a background where most of the family members were/are intrinsically artistic. From a very young age, all that I saw around me, be it furniture, jewellery, clothes, were mainly custom made.
I believe, that the fact that I have not gone through any course in jewellery designing helps in an openness of imagination that more often than not comes up with something unexpected. At the same time, this openness allows me to interact and incorporate various sensibilities and make it into a cohesive whole.