Have you ever heard of a saree that has a story to tell? The prestigious Baluchari weaves of Bengal are the only woven narrative in India. They are poetry in fabric. The Baluchari sarees are the pride of Bengal.

Nature of Baluchar Sarees

Baluchari sarees are worn by women across India and Bangladesh. The designs on the pallu(loose end) of these saree focus on depicting the mythological scenes predominantly from the Ramayana and Mahabaratha. Each saree has a theme. The theme also revolves around the epics and life of the Nawabs. These exclusive sarees are a narrative of the history of Bengal.

Pictorial representations on the pallu of the Baluchari saree

History of the art

The history of the Baluchari sarees goes back to over 200 years to the 18th Century, where this particular art style was practiced in a small village called Baluchar in the district of Murshidabad, West Bengal. Thus the name Baluchari was derived. Murshid Quli Khan, who was the Nawab of Bengal at that time patronized this rich weaving tradition by bringing in the finest weavers and encouraged the industry to flourish.

Murshid Quli Khan(Nawab of Bengal) who patronized the Baluchari art

The paintings on the temple walls that featured mythological stories were woven onto the Baluchari sarees. Scenes depicting the lifestyle and traditions of the Nawabs at that time were also featured on the Baluchari weaves. Baluchari sarees were famous for their pictorial representation.

Themes of the Baluchari

Square designs and paisley motifs were some of the designs brought in during the Mughal and British era. Scenes of Nawabs smoking hookas, driving horse carriages and images of European officers of the East India Company were beautifully woven in elaborate motifs on the pallu.


Variation in the Baluchari sarees are based on the threads being used in weaving.

Baluchari: A maximum of two colour threads are used to weave the entire pattern.

Baluchari meenakari: Along with the dual colour threadwork, meenakari work is further added to beautify and brighten up the designs.

Swarnachari: Gold or silver colour threads are used in weaving. These are further accentuated with meenakari work to give that luxurious appeal. Baluchari sarees were mainly worn by the women of the upper class and those who belonged to the aristocratic families.

Resham meenakari Baluchari


The Hon.President Pranab Mukherjee presented the prestigious award for the Baluchari sarees in the year 2009 & 2010 for one of the main weaving styles in India. Baluchari sarees are also exhibited at the India International Trade fair organised at New Delhi.


The opulence of these Baluchari sarees makes them apt for occasions like weddings, festivals and grand functions. Ornate temple jewelleries can be worn to compliment these traditional sarees. While draping yourself in one of a kind Baluchari saree, you can take the pride of carrying India’s rich history and tradition.



About the Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may also like these