KAUAI, HAWAII, June 19, 2024 (Hinduism Today, by Anne Petry): Is there any other country in the world as colorful as India? Indian clothing is a visual explosion of vibrant and bright colors. I am always amazed by the tremendous variety of textiles and huge diversity of traditional outfits. All this is possible thanks to the knowledge of weaving mastered by millions of Indians for centuries. Let’s take a historical and geographical journey through India to discover the nation’s weaving arts. Silk saris are the quintessence of traditional women’s clothing in India. The nicest saris often go from generation to generation as a family heritage. In the same way, secrets of weaving and the art of decorating silk and cotton are transmitted from masters to students. This helps explain why weaving became an intrinsic symbol of Indian culture.

In Indian history and Hindu myths, a few points can be highlighted. In ancient Veda texts several references are made to hiranya (cloth made out of gold), and in sacred literature it is said that the traditional sari from Madhya Pradesh was brought by Shishupal, Krishna’s cousin. The first evidence of weaving in the country dates back to the Indus Valley Civilization, which was active from 3300 to 1300 bce. The first weaving centers appeared in the 12th and 13th centuries to provide saris for royalty. Thus, the art of weaving is fully part of Indian history and is deeply engraved in Indian life and culture. In this vast and diverse country, one can find as many clothing habits and traditional weaving techniques as indigenous populations.

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