Bargarh Handloom Cluster - A caption for every motif or design
Bargarh Handloom cluster is spread over the entire Block of Bargarh, Attabira, Bijepur and Sohella. The cluster has 7158 numbers of looms as per the survey report of the zonal Handloom office taken up during the year 2004 out of which 5102 looms are working in 299 different villages.
The main products of the cluster are cotton sarees of tie and dye and small amount of dress materials, lungis and napkins etc. The annual production is around 10 Crores rupees. The products of this area are mostly marketed in Orissa and National market. The cluster so to say represents Orissa in quantitative and qualitative Tie and Dye Cotton Sarees as no other clusters of other districts in Orissa produces such sarees.
Bargarh is one of the major revenue generating district, situated in western part of Orissa. It is 380 Kms far from state capital, Bhubaneswar and around 50 Kms far from Sambalpur Town. The town is well connected with road and railways. it is on the Road side of National Highway number 5 (Mumbai - Kolkata). The nearest Air port is Raipur, state capital of Chhatisgarh.
The weaving in the cluster by the traditional weavers' community popularly known as "Bhulia" came in to existence during mid of 17th century and with increase in their population, they spread to other nearby places. They initially belong to Rajasthan and were presented during the 14th century to the ruler of Patna State, a king of Chouhan dynasty "Ramai Deb". Later on they were presented to the king of Sonepur during the 16th century and scattered to the nearby district i.e., Bargarh in the next century.
The cluster consists sizable number of professional weavers (Non traditional) from Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribe (Kuli caste) weavers, which in total accounts for 60 %. Generally these weavers are less skilled and engaged in production of Napkin, Lungi, Sarees, Dhotis, etc.
Weaving with Tie dye in the cluster prior to 40”s was done with 40''/42'' looms operated with hanging slay and engaged in producing Kapta, Lungi and Napkins made of 12's/16's/20's cotton yarn. The yarns were dyed with vegetable colours. The main colours were Yellow (from Turmeric), Maroon (From bark of Aal tree), Blue form Nile and Black (From Hirakasi and Chakda Seeds).
Fabrics of vegetable colours were sometimes not fast and ranges of colours were also limited, forcing the Tie-Dye production in to limited colours and so also the design. Such practice was on vogue till the mid of 40s when vat colour was first substituted for in place of some vegetable colours.
The next major changes in the cluster took place with the introduction of twisted cotton mercerized yarn and synthetic colours in the early 60's. The looms started widening mainly to 52" width for normal sarees and other production and 90" for double bed sheet production. There were also few 60'' / 72" looms to accommodate weaving of middle-sized bed sheets.