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Kolkata and Textiles

Kolkata has fast emerged as the marketing hub with thousands of textile shops and markets devoted to handlooms owing to the proximity of hubs of traditional excellence that have flourished since long in its proximity. Murshidabad (239 Km), Shantipur (101 Km), Bishnupur (141 Km), Phulia (90 Km) and Dhaniakhali (62 Km) being so close to Kolkata, and Kolkata being a centralized well-located city with all the infrastructure to receive goods and distribute to various parts of the country and also being an excellent port for exports overseas, Bengal handlooms have received a very big boost all round.

The famous handloom fabrics of Bengal

Murshidabad was a small place that later became a capital of Bengal. Though Bengal had its age of muslin craze, Murshidabad having other varieties of textile art excelled as an exotic centre of textile grandeur in the 18th century. Murshidabad was a nerve hub for silk weaving and produced a large variety of silks. One of the most artistic and beautiful of silk fabrics was the one produced in Baluchar, a peripheral town in the district. The lavish patronage of the Nawabs and much later the encouraging gestures of the British rulers gave Baluchari a pride of place in history as one of the purest and finest silks ever woven. It acquired religious as well as traditional value for its purity. The weavers of Baluchar generally dye their own weaves though at times they take the help of professional dyers. The silk thread is first dyed out to weave the patterns. The colors used are organic and the colors of the Baluchari are very typical or specific to the fabric. Hence the fabric is able to withstand several washes unlike other silk weaves. The colors are obtained from natural substances like turmeric, lac, safflower, hence the