Rajasthan has such a wide and vibrant collection of textile designs and fabrics that is sure to leave a person bankrupt if his wife is left alone to shop! Too bad my husband didn’t realise that.
On a recent trip to Bikaner, I was accompanied by two friends on a shopping trip where our sole aim was to get some exquisite sarees, bed sheets and table covers. It took us three entire days to properly scan the old market area of the city and shop to our heart’s fill.
In sharp contrast to Rajasthan’s colourless topography, the fabric here is extremely vibrant and colourful. Craftsmen put in a lot of effort to get the designs and motifs onto the fabric and their hard work is evident in their product’s popularity.
Sanganeri fabric is the most common form of block printed cotton fabric in which wooden blocks are used to create some stunning motifs. Sanganeri prints on bed sheets and table covers are my personal favourite, though I would rarely let go of an opportunity to buy a Sanganeri saree.
Sadly, I couldn’t find good curtains with Sanganeri print. So I got this crazy idea of buying a nice Sanganeri saree, cutting off the pallu, and cutting the saree in half to make a set of two curtains. I, however, made the stupid mistake of saying this out aloud in front of the saree shop owner. He was scandalised to say the least! He went all musical on me, “Madem ji, aap saree ka parda banaoge? Itni acchi saree… aur uska parda!!??”
I tried to calm him down, but I have a suspicion that from thereon, he was reluctantly showing me sarees, probably imagining me as a saree-slaughterer.
Now that we are talking about sarees, how can I not mention Bandhej and Leheriya? These sarees, mostly on chiffon, are a big hit among women, right from a humble village woman to the aristocratic royals.
Kota-doriya and supernet sarees also has a rich look and the best part is that they are quite pocket friendly. Where a chiffon Leheriya or Bandhej saree costs about Rs3000 (or Rs500 for synthetic machine printed ones), Kota-doriya or Supernet sarees’ cost starts from Rs1000 and goes up depending on the design and zari work on the border.
If you feel Sanganeri bed sheets are beautiful, then wait till you hear its price — trust me you will fall in love with the pricetag as well! Shelling out just Rs500 for a bed sheet-pillow cover set does not pinch the pocket at all! Have a look at these sarees and fabrics which I have posted below. The shopkeepers at Laxmi Sarees and Deepak Textiles in Bikaner were kind enough to let me click pics while we were all haggling for prices (women will be women).