The silk sari season is back with a bang and where better to get the best of all rare and carefully woven six yards than at the Silk Fab 2012 being organised by the National Handloom Development Corporation (NHDC) of India under the Ministry of Textiles. And this year, the expo has gone big featuring 176 stalls with representatives from various states.

But, Varanasi’s Banasari silk, Chanderi’s Chanderi silk, and Bhagalpur’s Khadi, Munga and Matka silk seems to have stolen the spotlight with multiple stalls representing these regions. From the grandeur of a heavy Banarasi sari to its modern light weight version, from silk suit material to elaborately embroidered dupattas, Nasim Ahmed’s stall has it all. The price ranges from Rs. 1,200 to 24,000.

Platform for weavers

A member of the Sahiba Silk Saree Cooperation Society Lmt. in Varanasi, Nasim says compared to last year, this year sales has been slow.

On the NHDC providing such a huge platform for weavers from across the country, Nasim said: “It is a great opportunity as we are able to directly interact with our customers. Also, people buying handloom materials don’t have to pay the margin that showrooms add to the price of the item. To encourage more buying we give some discounts, added to which the Ministry also gives discount.”

For those looking for rare antique zari work done on pattola saris, Muhammad Tabish’s stall is the pace to visit. He tells us that doing antique zari work on a sari takes thrice the weaving time. The very fine zari makes the sari light weight, and therefore easy to carry. The saris in his shop range from Rs. 2,000 to 20,000. He belongs to Mubarakpur Handloom Cluster, Azamgarh (U.P.).

Ramesh L. is representing Thanjavur silk Weavers’ Co-up. Not very happy with the sale of saris in his stall, Ramesh says people living in Chennai prefer saris from other states. Moreover, the starting range of saris in his stall is Rs. 5,000.

“Because it is high priced, there are not enough buyers. But the fabric and the zari we use is of the purest form. It is comfortable to wear and carry.” Moonga sari from Assam is an eye-catcher. “For buying such saris you will have to visit Assam. They are not available everywhere,” says Nadim, who represents the Dhakshin Kamrup T.S.S. Ltm.

From Jaipur, Govid Tak has bought for his customers a sari made from two silks. This hand-block printed ‘Maharani Sari’ is half made of Tussar silk and the Pallu is made of zeecha (unfinished cocoon silk). The natural colours make the sari look very sophisticated.

The best of all is the Madhubani sari from Bihar. With intricate designs hand-painted by workers, the sari is sure to get thumbs up from buyers. Manoj Kumar says, working on one sari takes about 50 to 60 days. The saris range from Rs. 5,000 to 8,000. Tussar silk, Gicha silk and matka silk are also available in his stall. The expo-cum-sale is on at Valluvar Kottam Auditorium, Nungambakkam. It is open on all days from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. till July 17.

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