Thursday, March 6, 2008

Milk Products used in Indian Cooking

Indian cooking tastes so good because of the milk products that go into a dish. Dal and several curries are tempered with a dollop of ghee; dishes like karhi, curd rice and many more are cooked with a generous helping of yoghurt; Mughlai gravies and rich, Indian sweets can’t do without a pot of cream; and, milk of course is the lifeblood of several Indian sweets. Roshogolla, sandesh, kheer, kalakand – all are made with lots of milk.

Ghee: Ghee or clarified butter is made by boiling pure, white butter until the clear fat separates. Normally, the fat soldifies into granules, called 'danedar' (seeded) ghee in the north. If stirred continuously while boiling, the ghee becomes a smoother solid, which is considered less flavourful than danedar ghee.

A dollop of pure ghee (from butter) is usually added to paranthas , khichdi(a rice and lentil dish), rice and upama(a porridge made from cream of wheat)or halwa.

Malai: Malai or cream is formed when milk is boiled and cooled. Malai is used in sweets and Mughlai gravies. Malai, milk, and butter have legendary importance in Indian tradition devolving from the pastoral Aryans who measured their wealth in cows. Krishna, the most beloved avatar in the Hindu pantheon, was a celebrated 'butter thief' (makhan chor) as a child.

Yoghurt: Yoghurt, also known as dahi, doi and of course curd is a staple in Indian diet. Yoghurt is eaten plain or as raitas or pachadies or hot chutneys with vegetables and fruit added to it; beaten thin with water and seasoned as a summer drink; added by the spoonful and browned in gravies; steamed with sugar and garnished with sultanas and nuts as a pudding; eaten with rice and rotis. Curd was given religious sanctity as Krishna’s favourite food along with milk and butter.

by Chandana Banerjee

Your Indian Kitchen

If you’re just starting out with Indian cooking, there are a vast number of staples and spices that may confuse you. When I set up my kitchen for the first time and was shopping for staples and spices, I didn’t know which spice to pick up and which one to leave behind. Here is a list to help you sort through the items in a grocery store and choose the ones which you really need to begin cooking a simple Indian meal.

Mistress of Spices:
Powdered Spices:
Lal Mirch Powder/Cayenne Pepper or chilli powder
Dhania Powder/Coriander Powder
Haldi Powder/ Turmeric Powder
Jeera Powder/ Cumin Powder
Garam Masala/A spice blend
Chaat Masala
Amchur Powder/ Dried Mango Powder
Herbs and Whole Spices:
Kasoori Methi/ Dried Fenugreek Leaves
Sabut Jeera/ Whole Cumin Seeds
Saunf/ Fennel Seeds/Aniseeds
Rai/ Mustard Seeds
Kadi Patta/Curry leaves
Sabut Kali Mirch/ Black Peppercorns
Sabut Dalchini/Cinnamon sticks
Elaichi/Cardamom - Available in three types – black, green and white. Buy just a little of each type.
Tej Patta/Bay leaves - Use it to neutralize strong odors in cooking.
Dried red chillies
Khus khus/Poppy seeds
Hing/Asafoetida - Store this strong-smelling spice in a tightly closed container as it can easily impart its smell to other spices.
Imli/Tamarind – These are sold in blocks. Buy a small block to make into chutney.

Must-haves in every Indian Fridge:
Plain Yoghurt
Ginger-Garlic paste
Fresh Coriander Leaves
Fresh green chillies – Buy a few at a time.

Oil – I like to use vegetable/sunflower and mustard oil. Keep a small tin og ghee for tempering dal and for adding in special dishes.

Masoor/Split red lentils
Moong/ Split yellow lentil
Urad/Black gram
Chana/Large yellow split yellow lentil
Safed and kala chana/Chickpea
Rajma/Kidney beans

Flour and Rice:
Aata or whole wheat flour to make chapatis, parathas and other Indian breads.
Maida or refined flour for making puris and pastry.
Rice – plain rice and Basmati rice for special rice dishes

by Chandana Banerjee

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Basil or Tulsi

Basil derived its name from Greek basileus which means "king". This is because it has a royal fragrance. Basil is one of the most popular culinary herb, used the world over for its aroma and flavor. The herb is native to Asia and has a strong, pungent and sweet smell. The herb grows best in hot, dry conditions.

Basil was first put to cultivation in India. It is cultivated world over now, including Asia, Africa and Central and Southern America.

Uses and Types of Basil:Basil is a versatile herb used in food, beverage and aromatherapy. Different types of Basil are cultivated in different types of the world.

Some of the popular and widely used varieties are:
Mediterranean Basil: Sweet taste Italian Basil: Sweet Flavor Indian Basil: Strong Fragrance African Blue Basil: Citrus Odour Thai Basil/ Sweet Basil: Sweet basil, more sweet as compared to Mediterranean and Italian Basil. It grows to a height of 75cm (2ft 6in) Perennial Basil (Africa And Asia): Strong Flavor but is less pleasant Lemon Basil: It grows to a height of 30cm (12in) and posses the taste of mid lemon.

Selection and Storage: Always try to select fresh basil since it is superior in flavor as compared to dries basil. If you are selecting fresh Basil then ensure that the leaves are deep green in color and free from darks spots or yellowing. If you have bought fresh Basil, then store it in the refrigerator by wrapping it in a slightly damp paper towel.

Nutritional Value of Basil: The constituents found in basil are used for various medical purposes. Flavonoids is one of the important nutrient component found in basil that provides protection at the cellular level. Orientin and vicenin are two water-soluble flavonoids that have a positive effect on white blood cells.

Volatile oils, which contain estragole, linalool, cineole, eugenol, sabinene, myrcene, and limonene protect against unwanted growth of Bacteria. The eugenol component acts as anti inflammatory.
Basil is also a good source of magnesium due to which it prompts muscles and blood vessels to relax, this helps in promoting cardiovascular health.

by Chandana Banerjee

Cardamom or Elaichi - The Queen of Spices

Sprinkled over kheer and sweets or chewed like a mouth freshner, cardamom or elaichi as its better known in India, is a spice and flavouring agent that we just can’t do without.
Cardamom is one of the world's very ancient spices. Known as "the Queen of Spices", it is the fruit of a large perennial bush that grows wild in the rainforests of the Western Ghats in Southern India.

Cardamoms are used for its pods. Available in three kinds – black, green and white, cardamoms give a distinct sweet, pleasing and slightly lemon like flavour. Traditionally, Indian cooking uses only black and green cardamoms. Green cardamom is smaller and softer than black cardamom. The seeds are used as whole, ground or with pods.

Cardamom pods contain fragrant seeds, used throughout the world in both savory and sweet dish. Many Indian meat, rice and dessert dishes use cardamom as one of the main spices. Cardamoms are also essential parts of spice mixtures such as Garam Masala. Cardamom is also believed to aid digestion and act as a breath freshener.

Beside India and south Asia, cardamom is also use in Scandinavian food such cakes, pastry, pickles and also used in Middle East.

by Chandana Banerjee

Clove or Laung

Which spice in your spice box is closest to your heart? Do you have a favourite spice? Well, this is a difficult question to answer as each spice has a magical story and a special flavour that they bring to a dish. While cardamoms add a particular flavour to Indian desserts like kheer, cinnamon adds a woody, sweet flavour to rice. Green chillies add a tang to vegetables and curries and turmeric adds a mellow yellow colour and some antiseptic properties to food.

Clove or laung too is one such special spice in our spice box that adds a hot and bitter, rich and warm flavour to Indian food. Cloves are the unopened flower buds of the clove tree. After picking, they are dried in the traditional way, sun-drying them on woven mats. They loose their moisture, become hard and reddish-brown in colour. The best cloves have deep reddish-brown stems though in comparison a lighter crown; they tend to be rough to touch, exude a small quantity of oil if compressed with a fingernail and snap cleanly between the two.

Cloves have an extremely strong and pungent aroma, with notes of pepper and camphor. The taste is rich and warm, aromatic and fruity but also sharp, hot and bitter, creating a numbing sensation on the tongue.

The name clove is derived from the French word clou meaning nail, which is the shape that the bud and stem resemble. Cloves are known to have antiseptic properties and their smell is often associated with the dentist. At the time of the early Chinese civilization commoners chewed cloves to sweeten their breath before talking to the emperor. The Chinese also used cloves as a mild anesthetic for toothache.

Cloves are used in cooking the world over and can be tasted in breads and cakes and in mulled wine. In India, they are added to rice and sweets. Paan or betel leaf is filled with aromatic spices and sweeteners and held together by a single, whole clove.

Cloves should be kept in a tightly sealed glass container in a cool, dark and dry place. Ground cloves will keep for about six months, while whole cloves will stay fresh for about one year stored this way.

Cloves are an excellent source of manganese. They are also a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C and omega-3 fatty acids and a good source of magnesium and calcium.

by Chandana Banerjee

Green Chillies - Tango on your Tastebuds

We can’t think of Indian cooking without a dash of green chillies. Slit, sliced, chopped or diced, we just have to add a few green chillies to add that tang to our food. Pick some fresh from your vegetable patch, pick up a packet of chillies from the supermarket or just ask the vegetable vendor to add a few free ones to your vegetable bag. Green chillies is an all important star in Indian cooking and here is a sneak peak into what this green, pungent spice is all about.
Green chillies are available fresh, dried, powdered, flaked, in oil, in sauce, bottled and pickled. It spices up a bland meal and an overdose of these fiery heros can also send you into a fit if hiccups.
Fresh unripe chillies come in various shades of green from lime to olive. While buying fresh chillies look for crisp unwrinkled ones. Make sure they are bright and unbroken. Store them in a container in the fridge or in a cool, dry place.

Green chillies are very high in vitamin A and C and have more Vitamin C per gram than many oranges. Not all chillies are hot but do not be deceived - with only a few exceptions, most of the several hundred varieties of these little pods have some degree of pungency for the palate.

by Chandana Banerjee

Cinnamon or Dalchini

Burnished brown, aromatic, flavourful and woody – cinnamon is all this and more. Used in baked dishes, flavoured dishes, curries and desserts, cinnamon adds a warm, sweet and amiable aroma to any dish. It is also an essential part of the standard blend of garam masala. Garam masala is the magic spice mixture which gives many Indian dishes that rich, heady fragrance.
Cinnamon is the dried inner bark of various evergreen trees belonging to the genus Cinnamomum. At harvest, the bark is stripped off and put in the sun, where it curls into the familiar form called "quills. There are suggested to be between 50 - 250 different species, depending on which botanist figures are collected from. Cassia is predominant in the spice blends of the East and Southeast Asia.
Cinnamon is available in either stick or powder form. While the sticks can be stored for longer, the ground powder has a stronger flavour. If possible, smell the cinnamon to make sure that it has a sweet smell, a characteristic reflecting that it is fresh.
Cinnamon should be kept in a tightly sealed glass container in a cool, dark and dry place.

by Chandana Banerjee

Toasting Spices

Have you ever hovered about the kitchen while a family member or friend is toasting spices? Have you ever got hooked on to the aroma that envelops the kitchen in a warm, rich, nutty embrace? Well, I’m not being too flowery or poetic; just mentioning what the aroma of toasted spices is all about. Try roasting a batch of Indian spices in your kitchen and you’ll know what I mean.
Dry roasting or toasting is a way to boost flavour and improve your cooking. Heating a spice, whether roasting it dry or frying it in a bit of oil, further enhances its flavor, giving the spice a fuller character and a deeper, nuttier flavor.
Spices have two main oils – the first is an essential oil that gives the spice its aroma; the other is a series of oleoresins or non-volatile oils, which are responsible for the flavour. By dry roasting spices, both oils are released, thus enhancing the flavor and aroma of food.
Whole spices have four times the shelf life of ground spices because their seed coatings and barks protect their flavors, which aren't released until they are ground or heated. Whole spices work best for dry roasting because ground spices can burn easily.
How to toast spices: Heat a wok or heavy frying-pan so its medium hot. Don't add any oil or butter, as this is ‘dry-roasting’. Add your spice or spices. Shake the pan or stir the spices with a wooden spoon as they heat. Remember to keep them moving.
They're ready when they become highly aromatic and turn slightly darker, which usually takes just a couple of minutes.
You don't want to see any smoke coming off the spices, but when they're getting close to done; you'll begin to hear a tiny popping sound.
Once toasted, immediately pour the spices out of the pan on to a plate to stop them from cooking further. Let the toasted spices cool, and then grind them.
They can be stored, tightly covered for a few weeks without losing much of their flavor. With fresh spices, you will notice a big difference in flavor.


by Chandana Banerjee

Spice Secrets

Indian cooking is about an assortment of spices, a fusion of flavours and a certain sensibility and art that goes into the creation of a dish.

Taste and Spices: Indian cooking categorizes foods into six tastes - sweet, sour, salty, spicy, bitter and astringent. This principle explains the use of numerous spice combinations and depth of flavor in Indian recipes. Several spices used in Indian cooking were used for their medicinal properties as well as the unique flavour that each spice could bring to a dish. Spices were also used for preservation purposes, as refrigeration was not an option in olden times.

Wet spices: Water, vinegar, yogurt or other liquids are sometimes added to the ground spices. This wet mixture is called ‘wet masala’ and is used as a marinade or sautéed in oil before adding the main vegetable or meat so that the delicate flavors of the spices are released in the recipe.

Roasting and grinding spices: Once the whole spices have been dry-roasted and cooled, they are ground into powders to release their flavours with a mortar-pestle or in a mixie. Storing Spices: Spices degrade quickly if they are exposed to either light or air. Light has a detrimental ‘leaching’ effect whilst exposure allows the essential oils to escape. Therefore, many Indians often use a special spice storage box.

Spice Box: An Indian spice box or masala dabba is an important part of the kitchen. Round in shape and made of stainless steel, a spice box has seven round compartments and a small teaspoon measure which fits in the box. The spice box will have a tight fitting lid and a compact structure to prevent flavours from escaping or mixing. You can fill each of these seven compartments with your favourite spices.


by Chandana Banerjee

Traveling to Europe in Off-season Time

While planning a trip to Europe, consider a trip during the off-season time - November through March.
Off-season airfares are often hundreds of dollars cheaper. With fewer crowds in Europe, you'll sleep cheaper. Many fine hotels drop their prices, and budget hotels will have plenty of vacancies. And while many of the cheap alternatives to hotels will be closed, those still open are usually empty and, therefore, more comfortable.
But winter travel has its drawbacks. Because much of Europe is at Canadian latitudes, the days are short. It's dark by 5 p.m. The weather can be miserable — cold, windy, and drizzly — and then turn worse.
Off-season hours are limited. Some sights close down entirely, and most operate on shorter schedules (such as 10 a.m.–5 p.m. rather than 9 a.m.–7 p.m.), with darkness often determining the closing time. Winter sightseeing is fine in big cities, which bustle year-round, but it's more frustrating in small tourist towns, which often shut down entirely.
To make the most of a winter day, start early and eat a quick lunch. Tourist offices close early and opening times are less predictable, so call ahead to double-check hours and confirm your plans. Pack for the cold and wet — layers, rainproof parka, gloves, wool hat, long johns, waterproof shoes, and an umbrella. Dress warmly.
Most hotels charge less in the winter. So you can save some money on that front too.


By Chandana Banerjee

Tips on Making Hotel Reservations

You’re in Europe and are all set to embark on your Eurailing trip. You’ve armed yourself with a good guidebook, packed your haversack with all the essentials for your Europe vacation and have got yourself a railpass. Now you need to give a thought to accommodation and lodging. Here are some tips on making hotel reservations:
Use a good guidebook and read the hotel listings.
Call ahead to reserve a room.
A hotelier will usually request your credit-card number as a deposit when you book your reservation. You can be billed for one night if you don't show up. Some hotels will hold a room without a deposit if you promise to arrive early.
Try to email or fax your long-distance reservations. European hoteliers prefer reservation requests by email.
In your emailed or faxed request, always list these items: your dates (with date and expected time of arrival, number of nights you'll stay, and date of departure); your room needs (number of people, the facilities you require); and your budget concerns (of course, a trade-off with facilities).
Once they've offered you a room, accept the reservation and send your credit-card number as a deposit.


Thursday, February 7, 2008

Six Yards of Magic

Sari – a garment that is perhaps worn by almost 70% of the female population of the Indian sub-continent and continues to hold it’s own amongst business suits, skirts, jeans and the whole gamut of Western as well as Indo-western outfits.

Six yards of cloth is all there is to the sari. Yet, this dress worn by millions of Indian women, is by far, the most elegant. It is not merely an outfit but an ornament, lending both grace and glamour to the wearer.

From the diaphanous cottons, soft and delicate chiffons and crepes, to sturdy silks of the South and the butter-soft muslins of Dhaka - the fabric, weave and colour makes each sari a masterpiece. Each region has its own special texture and design, depending on the regional crafts and the climate of that particular area. Brocaded silks, gauzy muslins, tie-and-die chiffons, and woven cottons find a cherished place in millions of women’s hearts and wardrobes.

If you ever peep into your mother’s treasured sari chest or maybe into your own wardrobe, you’ll be greeted with textures, jewel-colored fabrics and shimmering brocades. The brocades, the colour, the weave – each of these will determine the mood or occasion the sari can fit into. Like warm reds are for a bride; rich, jewel hues and brocades for festivals and weddings; stark white for mourning. Even the fabric can determine the event you can wear a particular sari to. Heavy silks for weddings; earthy cottons for poojas; light chiffons for cocktails and parties.

Kanika Goswami mentions a beautiful folktale in her article ‘The Sari - Mystery and Grace’ - “The Sari, it is said, was born on the loom of a fanciful weaver. He dreamt of Woman. The shimmer of her tears. The drape of her tumbling hair. The colors of her many moods. The softness of her touch. All these he wove together. He couldn't stop. He wove for many yards. And when he was done, the story goes; he sat back and smiled and smiled and smiled." This little story captures the essence of the sari so well – do we need to say anything more in its favour?

by Chandana Banerjee

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Drape it with style – The Myriad ways of wearing a Sari

Chanderis and heavy Kanjeevarams; Kantha stitch saris and crisp, cotton tant, jostle in trousseaus and wardrobes with light-as-soufflé chiffons, georgettes and crepes; butter-soft mysore silks; paper-thin tussar and royal paithani. Just like the variety of saris found across the length and breadth of the sub-continent, there are myriad ways of draping a sari.

Common and Popular: The urban Indian style is by far the most popular and convenient. Stiff tangails, flowing silks, elegant chiffons and heavy brocades – all of these can be easily maneuvered into this style. Tied around the waist, the sari forms a skirt with the pleats positioned in front thus allowing for free movement. The pallav or the part draped over the left shoulder is either pleated and pinned up the convenience, or is left flowing loose for glamour.

Bengali style: Another style that was popularized by Aishwarya Rai in Devdas is the Bengali drape. There are no pleats in the traditional Bengali style of draping a sari. The sari is wrapped around the waist and tucked in at the left. This is then brought back to the right side and draped over the left shoulder. The portion left over is brought up under the right arm and draped once again over the left shoulder. The bunch of keys usually tied to the end of the pallav, jingle merrily as they walk, giving the women a traditional air.

Drape it the Tamil way: There are two major groups in Tamil Nadu – the Iyers who worship Lord Shiva and the Iyengars, who worship Lord Vishnu. The way the sari is draped is different in both these communities. The women of both communities prefer to wear the nine-yard sari. Though in the Iyengar style of wearing a sari, after the first wrapping around the waist, the sari is brought back and pleated with the pleats positioned along the left leg. The rest of the sari is draped over the left shoulder, wrapped once again round the waist and tucked on the left side.
However the lyer style includes a few pleats at the back. It is not very often that one sees women dressed in such sarees today. The style is by far, too cumbersome for the modern women.

Coorg: It is the land of cardamom and coffee, of oranges and cashew, of brave generals and happy people. Here the women wear the sari in a unique way where the pleats of the sari are not in the front but at the back forming a fan. This is held in place with a broach or a pin.
Maharashtra: Here, the nine-yard sari is tied around the waist to form a loose trouser, which provides greater freedom of movement to the wearer. The pleats are in front with the pallav falling over the right shoulder.

Gujarat: To the north of the state of Maharashtra is the state of Gujarat. The typical patola saris in vibrant silks and earthy cottons are worn by the women of Gujarat in a style quite similar to the urban Indian one. The only difference is that the pallav is brought over the right shoulder and tucked across in front on the left side.

Bihar: Bihar in the east is the home of the Santhal tribals. The saree as worn by these tribal women is quite different. Tied around the waist, the saree reaches upto the kness. The pallav is draped in the normal way around the left shoulder and then tucked in at the waist making for easy movement through the forests.

So, a variety of saris that can be draped in a million ways – now isn’t that a fashion statement in itself?

by Chandana Banerjee

Paithani Sari – The Golden Legacy of Maharashtra

A silk sari of jewel colours, intricate design, zari work and painstaking labour – the Paithani sari of Maharashtra is all this and more. Paithani saris tell us of a people who were willing to spend lavishly to clothe their womenfolk in nine yards of the traditional silk and spun gold, crafted by indigenous weavers. No Maharashtrian wedding trousseau was complete without the Paithani sari and shela or stole, the best the family could afford. They then became treasured heirlooms which could be preserved and worn by three generations of women.

Ask any Maharashtrian and she will tell you that the art of weaving Paithani saris is 2000 years old, developed in the city of Pratishthan. This city was ruled by the legendary Shalivahana (now Paithan by the Godavari in Marathwada, some 50 km from Aurangabad). In the far past it had been an international trade centre for silk and zari.

During the 17th century, Aurangzeb patronized the weavers and the designs in this era came to be known as “Aurangzebi”. Yeola is another place where Paithani is still alive, although few families practice the art now. The Peshwa rulers were patrons of this art and had a special love for Paithani – while the men wore the stole over their dhoti and kurta, the women were resplendent in Paithani saris at weddings, festivals and special occasions.

It is believed that the Nizam of Hyderabad was also attracted to the Paithanis and made several trips to the small town of Paithan. Niloufer, daughter-in-law of the late Nizam of Hyderabad, was one of the last of the erstwhile royals to be fascinated by the Paithani magic.

As with most of the traditional arts and crafts of India, Paithani too suffered a decline under the British Raj. Once there were over 500 families practicing this hereditary art which required high technical skill and aesthetic sense. Their migrations began with Muslim aggressions. The khatri community of weavers got scattered in search of work and settled down to whatever they found.

by Chandana Banerjee

Paithani – Nine-yards of Gold and Silk

Paithani is a gold and silk sari named after the Paithan region in Maharashtra state where they are woven by hand. Made from very fine silk, it is considered as one of the richest saris in Maharashtra.

Paithani evolved from a cotton base to a silk base. Silk was used in weft designs and in the borders, whereas cotton was used in the body of the fabric. Present day Paithani has no trace of cotton.

It is characterized by borders of an oblique square design, and a pallu with a peacock design. Among other varieties, single colored and kaleidoscope-colored designs are also popular. The kaleidoscopic effect is achieved by using one color for weaving lengthwise and another for weaving widthwise.

Paithani fabric is woven entirely on handlooms; the special dhoop-chaav (light and shade) effect is achieved by bringing two different coloured silk threads together in the process of a simple tabby weave. It has an ornamental zari border and pallav, and buttis (little designs) of tara (star), mor (peacock), popat (parrot), kuyri (mango), rui phool (flower) paisa (coin), pankha (fan), kalas pakli (petal), kamal (lotus), chandrakor (moon), narli (coconut) and so on. Many of these designs are found on the border and pallav in different sizes and patterns.

The designs show the Buddhist influence of the panels of Ajanta close by. The kamal (lotus), hans (swan), asawalli (flowering vines), bangadi mor (peacock in bangle), tota-maina and humarparinda (peasant bird) are some of the common designs for the sari.

The dominant traditional colours of vegetable dyes included neeligunji (blue), pasila (red and green), gujri (black and white), mirani (black and red), motiya (pink), kusumbi (purplish red), brinjal (purple), peacock (blue/green) and pophali (yellow).

In the olden days the zari was drawn from pure gold, but silver is the affordable substitute today. The zari comes from Surat, the resham (silk) from Bangalore. This raw silk is cleansed with caustic soda, dyed in the requisite shades, the threads carefully separated. Today's market also abounds in spurious material, cheap at Rs. 2000, minus quality texture and durability.

The sari takes its own time to get woven, from two weeks to a year, depending on the intricacy of the pattern. The cost can be anything from Rs. 5000 to Rs. 50,000. Saris worth over a lakh of rupees apiece are made to order.

by Chandana Banerjee

Bandhani Sari – A Story of Rainbows and Dots

Warm red bandhani sari (Credit: can’t get over the saris that I bought from Jaipur a few weeks ago. One is a bandhini in ruby red, while the other is a leheriya in shades of rich Rajasthani red and warm sunshine yellow. Delicate, vibrant and exquisitely pretty, these bandhani and leheriya saris can be worn for a party, wedding or for just another day.

Bandhani work is a type of dyeing practiced mainly in the states of Rajasthan and Gujarat. It is also referred to as Bandhani art or Bandhani art work. The term “bandhani” derives its name from a Hindi word Bandhan which means tying up. As the name suggests, this technique involves two stages: tying sections of a length of cloth (silk or cotton) and then dunking it into vats of colour.

Every Bandhani saree goes through a rather difficult and time-consuming process. First the cloth is tied at several places. This is done by holding up a small part of the cloth and tying it up several times with a thread. It is done so that when the saree is dyed, the tied portion stays as before. A Bandhai saree is tied at around a hundred places. The tying up is done keeping in mind a design. The cloth is then dipped into dye for five to ten minutes. It is then taken out and dried. If more colors or an elaborate design is to be made, the saree is then tied again according to the design to be formed and then dipped into a different colored dye.

The main colours used in Bandhani are yellow, green, red, pink, and black. It is essentially a household craft supervised by the head of the family. The fabric is skillfully knotted by the women, while the portfolio of dyeing rests with the men. The women often grow a long nail on the little finger of the left hand, or wear a ring with a little blunt spike on it, with which they push the cloth upwards to form a tiny peak.

The Jaipur dyer rarely works with more than two dye baths while the additional colours are spot dyed, which makes the process much easier. Thereafter, the fabric opens out into amazing designs in kaleidoscopic colours: dots, circles, squares, waves and stripes.

The Bandhani work in Gujarat has been exclusively carried out by the women of the Muslim Khatri community of Kutchh. The Bandhani work in Gujarat has been exclusively carried out by Muslim Khatri Community of Kutchh. A meter long of cloth can have millions of tiny knots known as "Bheendi" in local language ("Kutchhi"). Traditionally, the final products can be classified into "Khombi", "Ghar Chola", "Patori", and "Chandrokhani".

The leheriya or the ripple effect is achieved by a variation of this technique. Lengths of permeable muslin are rolled diagonally from one corner to the opposite, bound tightly at intervals and then dyed. The ties are then undone and the process repeated by diagonally rolling the adjacent corner toward the opposite and repeating the process. Both Jaipur and Jodhpur are major centers of laheriya.

If you’re visiting Gujarat or Rajasthan anytime in the near future, then do pop into the handicraft shops there to pick up a few pieces of rainbow for yourself.

by Chandana Banerjee

On the Textile Trail – Textiles of Northern and Western India

The butter-soft pashminas and intricate needlework of Kashmir; bold, bright prints of Gujarat and Rajasthan; dazzling gold brocades of Benaras; delicate white-on-white chikankari of Lucknow; sturdy silks of South – the colour, warmth and diversity found in India is reflected in the multitude of textiles in this country. Louis Levathes captures the essence of this in her article ‘The Fabric of India’, when she mentions, “India feels, to me, like a collection of countries reflected in its textiles.”

Resplendent, intricate, and varied, India’s textile tradition is a kaleidoscope of colors and cultures. Stretched along the length and breadth of the country, every region has its own design, motif and characteristic fabric.

Here's a peek at the myriad range of textiles from across the country.
Kashmir is famous for its exquisite embroidery – pashmina and jamwar shawls and warm woolen Namdas that can make you snug as a bug in a rug.
Punjab is associated with Phulkari. Jewel colored, shimmery fabrics are embroidered with geometric designs and floral motifs and turned into saris, salwar-suits, and dupattas.
The influence of Chamba pahari painting is evident in the Chamba rumals of Himachal Pradesh. The Chamba rumals are delicately embroidered kerchiefs in subtle shades of green, yellow and ochre with themes taken from Radha and Krishna stories.
Uttar Pradesh is the land of brocades and chikankari. The dazzling gold brocades of Varanasi are the stuff that dreams are made of. The brocade or 'kinkhwab' (fabric of dreams) is created by weaving pure silk and gold strands into intricate motifs like creepers, flowers, birds, animals and human forms.
The delicate chikankari embroidery is one of the things that Lucknow is famous for. If you’re visiting Lucknow, don’t forget to buy a pretty pastel sari or salwar kameez with chikankari work.
Gujarat and Kutch are known for their mirror work embroidery. Gujarat’s arid climate and susceptibility to droughts and floods have always made agriculture here uncertain. During the summer monsoons, when the grasslands north of Bhuj become an inland sea and farming has to be abandoned, mirror work, embroidery and beadwork flourish as means of making a living.
Block prints, bandhani and leheriya are characteristic of Rajasthan and Gujarat. Rajasthanis and Gujaratis create fabrics that stand out from their harsh landscapes.
As we move towards the eastern and southern part of India, we come across a kaleidoscope of fabrics and textile arts.

by Chandana Banerjee

On the Textile Trail – Textiles of Eastern and Southern India

Woven into the fabrics of India are stories about people and the colorful land they belong to.
Take for instance, the Paithani that speaks about tradition, history and beauty through its rich and resplendent paithani saris. Paithani is a gold and silk sari named after the Paithan region in Maharashtra state where they are woven by hand. Made from very fine silk, it is considered as one of the richest saris in Maharashtra.

Orissa is known for Ikkat. Ikkat is a type of weaving where the warp, weft or both are tie-dyed before weaving to create designs on the finished fabric. Orissa, in eastern India, is home to one of the most famous Ikkat traditions called the double Patan Patola. These silk fabrics are double Ikkat and are textile masterpieces. In fact the technique and process to make it has to be so precise, that, a sari length takes two men about seven months to complete.

Baluchari is synonymous with Bengal. Baluchari textiles come from the town of Baluchar in Bengal. It was during 1704 that the first Baluchari weaving took place. At one stage no gold or silver threads were used in the making of the fabric except the pure mulberry silk. The unique characteristic of this fabric is the white outlining of motifs like animals, vegetation and other figurative patterns.

West Bengal, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Assam and Maharashtra produce a large variety of Tussar, both plain and with designs woven into the fabric. The "mekhala" worn in Assam has small woven motifs, which are unique to the region.

In Manipur, the borders of phaneks, a garment worn by Manipuri women is embroidered with delicate silk thread embroidery.

Kanchipuram in South India is a household word for the most desired silk wedding saris in India as well as cottons in brilliant checks and plaids. Typically, Kanchipuram saris have patterns of brightly contrasting colors—maroon and green, peacock blue and pink—and gold or silver thread woven into the borders.

Andhra Pradesh is called the Land Of head-woven Fabrics. And some of the most beautiful saris come from the looms of Pochampalli, Venkatagiri, Gadwal, Narayanpet, Dharmavaram and other regions of this state. They are named after the places of their origin. The Pochampalli textiles are made using the tie and dye technique. Different coloured yarns are woven to from exquisite geometrical designs.

Karnatak is known for Mysore silk and Kasuti – beautiful motifs created in cross stitch.
We’ve hopped across to almost every state and picked out a fabric and textile art special to that place. But there’s till so much more to explore.

Also read: On the Textile Trail - Part 1

by Chandana Banerjee

Banarasi Saris – Woven with dreams

Banarasi saris – five yards of exquisite brocade and luxurious silk – made of silk weft and silk wrap are famous all over the world. Royal and rich, in jewel colors and dazzling motifs, these saris find a coveted position in women’s wardrobes and trousseaus in India. The major varieties of saris available include pure silk, shatter, organza and fire kora with zari and georgette.

The era gone by: Banarasi saris became more popular during the Mughal era when the sari weaving art reached its zenith. The Persian motifs and Indian designs on silk texture studded with gold and silver remained the favourite of Mughals. Today, sari weaving is a cottage industry for people in Varanasi, Gorakhpur and Azamgarh.

Making of the sari: Most of the silk for the Banarasi saris comes from south India, mainly Bangalore. The sari weavers weave the basic texture of the sari on the power loom. In weaving the warp, the weavers create the base, which runs into 24 to 26 meters. In an ideal Banarasi Sari there are around 5600 thread wires with 45-inch width.

Generally three people are engaged in making the sari – while one weaves, the others work at the revolving ring to create bundles. The intricate motifs on the sari are first created on design boards – the artist sketches the pattern on graph paper with color concepts and then the final design is created on punch cards.

For a single design, one requires hundreds of perforated cards to execute the idea. The perforated cards are knitted with different threads and colors on the loom and then they are paddled in a systematic manner so that the main weaving picks up the right colors and pattern.
The design of your dreams: Intricate weave and fascinating zari work with gold and silver thread, that’s a Banarasi sari for you in a nutshell. But a nutshell description of what these saris are all about is not enough for saris woven with dreams. Here’s something more about them.
The bodies of the saris often depict scenes from village life, fairs, flowers and clouds, as well as temple and mosque designs. The dazzling gold brocades are woven with Mughal patterns such as intertwining floral and foliate motifs, kalga and bel.

A distinct feature found along the inner, and sometimes outer, edge of borders in this sari is a narrow fringe like pattern that often looks like a string of upright leaves called jhallr. The pallus of these sarees have elaborate pure gold and silver designs densely woven with gold and multicolor thread which lend the sari its elegance.

Dancing colors and spun sunshine – that’s what these saris are all about.

by Chandana Banerjee

Kanjeevaram – Saris from the Temple Town

Rich, luxuriant and in pure silk, Kanjeevaram saris are from the ancient temple town of Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu. Believed to have been first woven around 400 years ago, Kanjeevaram saris now are coveted for weddings and important occasions.

The Kanjeevaram silk saris are known for their double warp and double weft. These saris are made of twisted silk yarn (three yarns twisted together into one). This gives the sari rich luster and makes it dense and durable. The cloth is thick yet soft and drapes very well. In a genuine Kancheepuram silk sari, the border, body and the pallu are woven separately and then interlocked together.

The Kanjeevaram sari is characterized by gold - dipped silver/ pure gold threads that are woven onto rich, beautiful, brilliant silk. The borders and the pallus carry ornate zari work, while the designs involve vertical and horizontal lines as well as checks.

The colors range from vibrant orange to mauve to purple, green, maroon, blue and rust. The heavier the silk, the better the quality of the sari. Peacocks, parrots and paisleys, swans, mangoes and leaves are the commonest motifs. Another important character of these saris are the vertical sets of caret (triangular) signs/marks lining the borders; they resemble pinnacles of temples and hence probably the name.

by Chandana Banerjee

An Ode to Orissa Saris

Orissa is known for its handlooms – rich colors, artistic designs, exquisite weaves – the saris of Orissa are all this and more.

Orissa saris have a close relation with the Jagannath culture. Originally, the four basic colors which are found on Jagannath—black, white, red and yellow—were extensively used in Oriya saris. Even motifs such as the temple border, lotus, conch and wheel, signify the affinity with the reigning deity. The traditional Orissa saris have undergone vast changes as weavers try to adapt the designs to popular taste.

The handloom saris of Orissa can be broadly classified into four groups: Ikkat, Bomkai, Bandha and Pasapalli.

Ikkat: Ikkat or tie and dye fabrics, known as "bandhas" in Orissa are recognized all over the country and abroad for their highly artistic designs, color combinations and durability. Ikkat is a type of weaving in general terms. The weft or the warp or both are tie-dyed before weaving to create designs on fabric in this method. With exquisite colors and beautiful motifs, Ikkat saris are considered as a magnum opus because each sari takes nearly seven months of craftsmanship. The traditional Ikkat saris of Orissa are also referred to as double Patan Patola.

Bomkai: Another variety of sari avaible in Orissa is the Bomkai sari, a recent adaptation from tribal saris. Produced in a small town called Bomkai in Orissa, these saris also have touches of ikat work, like the Sambalpuri saris.

Both cotton and silk fabric are used in making these saris. Some Bomkai saris have small fish woven onto the border that symbolize prosperity and good health. Bomkai saris feature threadwork ornament borders and pallu.

Sambalpuri Sari: Sambalpuri saris are famous for their unique designs and for their beautiful colors. Fish, conch shell and flower motifs are woven into the fabric and sometimes floral and animal motifs are also used to decorate the borders and pallu. Silk Sambalpuri saris from Orissa are also in single and double ikat.

Pasapalli Sari: The "pasapalli" sari with its distinctive black-and-white squares is a replica of the chessboard. Equally fascinating are the names—Vichitrapuri, Chandrika, Nabagunja, Asman Tara and Krishnapriya. The earlier yarns of coarse cotton have been replaced with fine cotton, silks, tussar and a cotton-silk mix called ‘bapta’. Gold thread and tissues are also used to enhance the patterns.

Bandha: Here, the yarn is first tied in portions, and each section is dyed in a different color according to the design. When woven, the designs emerge, and the special feature is that the design is prominent on both sides of the fabric. This is a very complicated process and it is rather amazing to find that the traditional weavers do not use any graphic designs on paper. The common motifs are borrowed from nature. Flowers, creepers, birds, animals are abundantly woven in myriad colors, all lending a distinct feature to the nine yards of woven wonder.

by Chandana Banerjee

Jamdani – The Precious Fabric of Bengal

Jamdani – one of the most beautiful and practical textiles of Bengal. History, legend and tradition are woven into the fabric along with the unique patterns that make jamdani so sought after. Here are some interesting facts that I cam across in an article in Indian Heritage.
Pages of history: The earliest mention of Jamdani and its development as an industry is to be found in Kautilya's Arthashashtra (book of economics) wherein it is stated that this fine cloth used to be made in Bengal and Pundra (parts of modern Bangladesh). Jamdani is also mentioned in the book of Periplus of the Eritrean Sea and in the accounts of Arab, Chinese and Italian travelers and traders.

The base fabric for Jamdani is unbleached cotton yarn and the design is woven using bleached cotton yarns so that a light-and-dark effect is created. Alexander the Great in 327 B.C mentions “beautiful printed cottons” in India. It is believed that the erstwhile Roman emperors paid fabulous sums for the prized Indian cotton.

Design: The method of weaving resembles tapestry work in which small shuttles of coloured, gold or silver threads, are passed through the weft. The jamdani dexterously combines intricate surface designs with delicate floral sprays. When the surface is covered with superb diagonally striped floral sprays, the sari is called terchha. The anchal (the portion that goes over and beyond the shoulder) is often decorated with dangling, tassel like corner motifs, known as jhalar.
The most coveted design is known as the panna hazaar (literally: a thousand emeralds) in which the floral pattern is highlighted with flowers interlaced like jewels by means of gold and silver thread. The kalka (paisley), whose origin may be traced to the painted manuscripts of the Mughal period, has emerged as a highly popular pattern. Yet another popular pattern in jamdani is the phulwar, usually worked on pure black, blue black, grey or off-white background colours.

Colors: The traditional nilambari, dyed with indigo, or designs such as toradar (literally: a bunch or bouquet) preserved in weaving families over generations are now being reproduced. Other jamdani patterns are known as phulwar, usually worked on pure black, blue black, grey or off-white background colours.

Weave: For traditional jamdani weaving, a very elementary pit loom is used and the work is carried on by the weaver and his apprentice. The latter works under instruction for each pick, weaving his needle made from, buffalo horn or tamarind wood to embroider the floral sequence. With a remarkable deftness, the weft yarn is woven into the warp in the background colour from one weaver to the other.

The butis (motifs) across the warp, the paar (border) and anchal (the portion that goes over and beyond the shoulder) are woven by using separate bobbins of yarn for each colour. The fine bobbins are made from tamarind wood or bamboo. After completion the cloth is washed and starched.

Some more history: Jamdani, because of its intricate patterns, has always been a highly expensive product. According to historical accounts, Jamdanis custom made for the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in the 17th century cost over thirty pounds; evidently the jamdani fabric was essentially meant only for the affluent nobility, in those days.

The region in and around Dhaka (now in Bangladesh) became synonymous with this wonder fabric. For the Mughals it was fashioned into elaborate angarkhas (upper garment/shirt) worn by both men and women; it also travelled from Dhaka through Agra, to Bukhara, Samarkand and other parts of West Asia. In the centuries that followed Jamdani was procured European export companies which retailed it in cites like Hamburg, London, Madrid, Copenhagen and so forth.

by Chandana Banerjee

Jamdani Saris – Light, practical and pretty

If like me, you love to wear saris on an everyday basis to office, malls, multiplexes and of course, even to weddings and parties, then here is a sari that will work well for you. Jamdani saris of Bengal are known for their elegance and comfort and sought after for their beauty and craftsmanship.

Here are some of the categories that Jamdani saris can be slotted into:
Daccai Jamdani saris – have a fine texture, just like muslin and elaborate and ornate workmanship. Multi-colored linear or floral motifs all over the body and border and exquisitely designed pallu is what makes these saris so special. The mango motif that signifies fertility and marital bliss, is a popular design in Jamdani saris.
Saris with Jamdani motifs on Tangail fabric are known as Tangail Jamdani.
Shantipur Jamdani saris have a powder fine texture.
Dhaniakhali Jamdani has a tighter weave than the "tangail" or "shantipur", and is hardier. The bold colors and contrasting borders and absurdly low prices make them very affordable.

by Chandana Banerjee

Baluchari of Bengal – Sari or a Work of Art?

Baluchari saris are what dreams are made of – designed in silk and woven in contrasting colors with detailed figures, motifs, flowers or scenes from mythology. These saris with their enticing colors and alluring designs are prized possessions of most Bengali women and are worn for special occasions and religious ceremonies.

The Baluchari sari, developed some two hundred years ago, use a palette of dark red, yellow, green, purple, chocolate, cream, white and blue. The intricately carved terracotta temples of Bishnupur provide ample inspiration for the weavers who reproduce whole epics on the pallu of the sari. The sari is usually five yards in length and 42” wide and the field of the sari is covered with small butis and a beautiful floral design runs across the edges.

But behind each beautiful sari lies months of toil and planning as to how to get the design on the pieces with their clever use in the loom. First the designer makes the design on graph papers, which is then copied on punching cards. These cards are then joined to make the full design.

Two types of silk threads from two different regions of the country, Bangalore and West Bengal are used for the weaving—one set vertically and the order horizontally. A month before it is put in the loom, the thread is prepared according to the number of Baluchari saris to be woven in that design while the number of shutters to be used depends on the number of times the motifs will be used all over the sari.

The silk threads are put in boiling water and the next day tied with a rope and put into hot colors. Extra color is then drained out and the threads are put into the spinning wheel. So, whenever you drape yourself in an exquisite Baluchari sari, think of the rich color and bewitching patterns - and think of the weaver and his craftsmanship. Here is a piece of art that you can flaunt, possess and gift, with equal aplomb.

by Chandana Banerjee

Khadi – Fabric for princes and paupers

Wikipedia describes Khadi as “Indian handspun and hand-woven cloth.” Traditionally the raw material used was cotton, though these days khadi is handspun with wool or silk as well, on a spinning wheel called a charkha.

Quality: Khâdî is a versatile fabric, cool in summers and warm in winters. Being a cruder form of material, it crumples much faster than other preparations of cotton. In order to improve the look, khâdî is often starched to have a stiffer shape. It is widely accepted in fashion circles these days.

History: Mahatma Gandhi began promoting the spinning of khâdî for rural self-employment in 1920s India. He also wanted to spread the message of not using foreign clothes. The freedom struggle revolved around the use of khâdî fabrics and the dumping of foreign-made clothes.

Revival of Khadi: But India's freedom fabric got stuck in a time warp and fell into bad days - as Indians embraced Lycra and polyester, khadi became something only politicians wore. A couple of years ago, a handful of fashion designers decided it was time to reinvent the spinning wheel and revive the magic of khadi. It was time for khadi couture.

Khadi fashion shows were held in five-star hotels, khadi boutiques were opened, and India's top designers were called in to make it hip. "Khadi can easily become what linen is to the world today," says Rohit Bal, 41, one of India's most talked-about designers, who sells his khadi line in his store, Balance, in New Delhi. "No other fabric in the world can boast of being spun and woven solely by human hands. It falls well and becomes second skin after two washes. It breathes, it has a self-texture. It represents the soul of India, but we can also have fun with khadi."
Now the Indian government is promoting the buzz, as more than 800,000 weavers in the countryside work on khadi, a cottage industry run with generous subsidies.

Khadi is back in fashion and here to stay!

by Chandana Banerjee
Sensuous and beautiful, durable and strong, this golden yellow silk of Assam is used in saris and traditional Assamese attire, ‘mekhla chaddar’. Assam’s golden silk is from a caterpillar, Antheraea assama that feeds on the leaves of Som and Soalu trees.

Silkworms and silk: Silkworm eggs (popularly known as seeds) are laid out on the Som and Soalu leaves to hatch out into caterpillars about 2mm long. They grow rapidly, eat voraciously and end up about 30 mm long after four to five weeks. During this time, they change skins four times.
After the final skin change straw frames are provided in which silkworms make its cocoon. Cocoon making takes further eight days. Man interferes this life cycle at the cocoon stage to obtain the silk, a continuous filament of commercial importance, used in weaving silk, the dream fabric.

These silk worms yield a beautiful golden thread that is much sought after for its colour and sheen. It takes the silkworm another three to four days to transform into a pupa and another 15 days for the moth to emerge, but this is not allowed to take place for all.

Muga silk is named after Assamese word "Muga" which indicates the amber (brown) colour of cocoon. It is popular for its natural golden colour, glossy fine texture and durability. Muga silk is hardy in character. It endures for years and improves with each washing.

Design and Color: Trees, creepers, leaves, flowers, peacocks, birds and animals in stylized forms, as well as traditional tribal motifs are woven or embroidered onto the muga silk fabric. The rich, golden fabric is resplendent in traditional colors like red, green and black and newer entrees such as yellow, blue, beige, silver, copper pink and brown. Wedding saris are adorned with gold and silver thread work. The looms are narrow; so, the borders are woven separately and then stitched on, which is another facet special to the Assamese Muga sari.

Legend: Muga was worn only by Ahom kings and noble families of Assam for six hundred years. It was unknown to the outer world until 1662 when Jean Joseph Tavernier, a French explorer, traveled through Assam.

Cost: A good Assamese Muga silk saree could cost anywhere between Rs 8,000-Rs 20,000 or above.

by Chandana Banerjee

Pashmina from Kashmir

Wrap yourself in one of those butter-soft Pashmina shawls and you’ll be as snug as a bug in a rug.

What Pashmina is all about: Famous for its luxurious softness and luster, this fabric is made from ‘pashm’, that is the wool in Tibetan. This cashmere is the soft underbelly fur of Capra hircus, mountain goats which live in the foothills of the Himalayas and on the high Tibetan Plateau. Every summer, herders pluck the under fur from the goats and after cleaning and spinning, a fine cashmere yarn is produced. The ‘Pashmina’ shawl of Kashmir popularly known as the ‘ring shawl’ is so exquisite and fine that it can be passed through a mans signet ring.

History: About 200 years ago, Europeans discovered the woolen shawls of Kashmir; but the Kashmiris, were not about to give away the secrets of Pashmina. They knew no one in the world possessed their skill in working with these delicate fibers, but they also knew they couldn't resist for long the demands for their prized Pashmina.

Even when the Western world was able to obtain the real Pashmina, they didn't possess the skill to clean and process it. The best machines were no match for the nimble, experienced fingers of Kashmiri women who patiently pick out every course hair and then hand spin it into yarn which is almost transparent.

by Chandana Banerjee

Kota Doria – The breezy and beautiful fabric from Rajasthan

Rajasthan is well known for the fine Kota Doria Muslin saris. Transparent and light, kota saris are ideal for hot summers. Kota Doria, as the name suggests, is woven in the villages on the outskirts of the Kota city in Rajasthan.

The special weave: It is a type of cotton cloth that becomes special because of its weave. Cotton yarn of different thickness along with silk is used in the weaving. The silk gives the necessary transparency, while cotton provides strength to the fabric. The lack of uniformity in the thickness of the fibers creates geometric patterns in between, which are locally called as ‘khats.’
This is the most open weave fabric woven in India. The weave is a result of sufficient spacing between super fine warp and weft threads with slightly thick thread at regular counts to produce a very subtle check pattern. Also, the thicker threads make the cloth strong and more durable. The thin fibers maintain its softness, delicacy and give it a translucent and gossamer look.

Design and color: The traditional Kota Doria is white, but once dyed, these textiles come in bright hues like pomegranate red, purple, Bordeaux red, turquoise, lapis, turmeric yellow and saffron. Single color dying, a mixture of shades and bandhani are the most common patterns available in the reams of fabric. Kota Doria saris embellished with zari work is worn for festivals and weddings.

History: Kota Doria is also known as Masuria Malmal. Maruria means Mysore, the place where the weaving of this particular cloth originated. Kota saris were first made when weavers were brought to Kota (between 1707 and 1720) from Mysore by Maharao Bhim Singh. The art of weaving cotton in the open khat or check structure has been passed down generations. The whole process of weaving is done in an age old manner - right from the setting of the patterns, to graph making, dyeing of the yarn and setting of the loom. Down South, this fabric is still known as Kota Masurias.