Silver Charms

You wondered where we vanished after all the razzmatazz of our history and  legacy. Well we thought why not put some action beyond all the stories and weave them together and charm you with some delight we curate . Hence without mincing too many words we would like to introduce our first range of merchandise, some silver trinkets to whisk you away from frequent occurrence of boredom . A glance through these pictures we can bet you wouldn’t be able to resist of possessing them .

These beautifully handcrafted  92.5 silver with semi precious stone are head turners and are sure to dazzle in any occasion. Grab them fast to make a perfect ensemble .

For more product details you can mail us at : advayatales or you can also follow us at :


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The lost Glory

basu bari 9

In continuation to my last blog to our time travel to Bengal Renaissance but have to mention that prior to  arrival of the British , there were already many well established , sophisticated family in Kolkata with flourishing business . They traded in gold, silver, cotton , salt or were involved in shipping , transport etc. Much tempted with their prosperity and abundance British started taking over in the mid 18th century , these families had to think of some other options of sustenance , they had to join hands with the so called the lords of the provinces taken over and entered the administrations through various posts of ‘Munshis’, officials or commissioners . Soon they graduated to the titles of Rajas or most often sarcastically referred as  ‘ejuraj’ or educated Raja, ‘Phool Babu’ or ‘flower-delicate fop’. They also commissioned British architects to build large mansions , mimicking antique doric , gothic & baroque styles among many others. The most common and major characteristics of all these mansions and Rajbaris ( as commonly referred )  were an inner courtyard with Thakur Dalan commonly used for Durga Puja, congregations, musical evenings or get together. The inner courtyard was surrounded by colonnaded balconies  influenced from ancient greek and roman architecture. The family quarters were upstairs along with these balconies.  Let’s  take peek  into some of the prominent families’ rich heritage and glories of their past.

J Mullick 1

Mullick Bari – Pathuriaghata

Mullick family had come into prominence from 17th century. Rajaram Mullick shifted to Kolkata from Triveni , his great grandson Nimaicharnan Mullick had  invested in salt trade and real estate and in the process brought his family in political and social circle. At the time of his death he left 3 crore in his will .  Baidyanath Mallick ( Ancestor ) climbed to the top of Chandranath Mountain to find an idol of goddess Durga  ( Singhabahini ) . The priest of the temple gifted it to him and he brought it down with him to Triveni and later brought to Kolkata. The family adopted the idol has family diety . In  year 1883, when Ramkrishna Paramhans ( Indian Mystic & yogi )   visited the family  he was fascinated by the goddess and immediately  entered a deep meditation .


Three large structures have already come up next to this building , one of them is the Barabazar branch of Metropolitan school established in 1887. Jadulal Mullick had numerous contribution in social sector. At one time he donated enormously to Oriental Seminary from where he passed entrance , school leaving examination .  His son, Manmathanath Mullick bought pair of Zebras from Alipore zoological gardens to pull his carriage through the streets of Calcutta. He even got his carriage painted in zebra colors . He had nine types of carriages and a stable full of horses. Which was very much talk of the town during that time. One of the grandsons of Jadulal Mullick Pradyunno Mullick had 35 cars, out of which 10 were Rolls Royce . Though the palace has a rich heritage and lots of tales woven around and Mr Bejonbehary Mullick ( descendants of Mullick Family ) seems to be taking a lot of pride and pleasure describing glories of the past . Unfortunately, with limited resources and funds it’s tough to manage such a large property . Nevertheless, they have managed to keep up the property to certain measures trying to preserve the lost heritage.

J Mullick 6

Basu Bari ( Nandalal Bose )

Did you know the original constitution of India has each page beautifully drawn by artist Nandalal Bose . To illuminate text beautifully he had used gold leaves and colors made from stones .  Nandalal Bose was also the one who drew the emblems for the India’s highest awards such as Bharat Ratna and Padmashri. He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan for his contribution and was a pupil of Abanindranath Tagore . He eventually became the Principle of Kala Bhavan , Shantiniketan . Born in Bihar December 1882, he had a keen interest in pottery, craftsmen , creating and decorating gods and goddesses . He moved to Kolkata when he was  16 year old to complete his high school and college. Stumbling upon Abanindranath Tagore’s work he decided to study under him. Highly impressed with Nandalal Bose’s artwork , he was recommended to Government college of Art . Travelling across so much to widen his imagination and he was deeply influenced with cave art of Ajanta and , Buddhist stupa of Gaya and Temples of Mahabalipuram . His some of the other significant contribution were influenced from Indian history and mythology . He had also illustrated many of Rabindranath Tagore’s stories and poems and designed sets  and costumes for his plays.  Rabindranath invited Nandalal Bose to Shantiniketan , where he went onto to become the first Principal of Shantiniketan’s fine arts college. He was greatly adored and respected by his pupils and this is where he first met Mahatma Gandhi . Deeply moved with his Dandi March , Nandalal created the famous black and white picture called “Linocut” . He also created lot of decorative posters of various Congress meetings which later became very famous.


Nandalal Bose passed away in April 1966 and his more than 6000 of his works are showcased in National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi. Nandalal Bose’s mansion know as Basu Bati / Bari is still  one of the Calcutta’s most fascinating mansions , located in Bagbazar. This enigmatic house is hard to find amongst the bylanes. Originally it covered an area of 14 acres but years of division the property has been drastically reduced .  Many small hutments , shops and  restaurants have come around the property to reduce the traces of the palace. With these encroachments the palace has been retreated to narrow lane from the main road.



The exterior of the house is decorated , with massive columns with floral motifs and lion’s head connected by double rows of beads shaped in stucco. Islamic style archways open up to the ground floor with number of small waiting rooms and store rooms with large evidence of decay and rising damp. Originally the house boasted of four courtyards , the most magnificent being the main courtyard known as “Thakur dalan”, surrounded by tall columns. Like any other house, courtyard is an important part of the house where various religious and family ceremonies were performed .

basu bari


The mansion  was designed by the famous bengali engineer Nilmoni Mitra . He had also designed six to seven other grand houses Bagbazaar , however his work in Basu bari is note worthy . Though the other great houses during that era featured European style but Basu Bari had gothic style with Mughal and Ancient Bengali influence . The palace has witnessed many life turning events including the Bengal partition movement along with prominent personalities of those times visiting or staying there. Sadly, the palace is in decay and with no maintenance. From the exterior , the magnificent ruined façade of Basu Bari is a sad reminder of its former opulent life and past glories. It is tough to imagine there was a large garden with fountains , a stable and even a zoo. Despite obvious pride in their heritage home, the Basus find it very tough maintaining such a large house , which has also forced the family to gift part of the house and many artefacts to the Kolkata Municipal Corporation. It’s a hope that these heritage treasures will be restored and maintained something that now seems impossible to achieve in private hands.

In the next blog we will look into some more Rajbari who managed to keep up their stature and grandeur in the present times . Watch this space.


Image courtesy  : Google and Advayatales









Bengal: Tagore’s Abode of Peace

Note: As promised in our last blog about our visit to Jaipur, Advaya Tales is back with lots of stories and historical explorations from a long trip to Kolkata, the City of Joy. Yet I find no better way to begin describe my findings, other than by first recounting the history of the name – whose timeless writings, poems, songs and stories – the glories of Bengal are remembered by, i.e. Rabindranath Tagore – the Bard of Bengal himself. While my next blog describes the many other places that define Bengal, this blog explores Tagore’s legacy, Shantiniketan & the rural paradise he grew up in.



Shantiniketan – Image found on Google

The story of Bhubandanga’s transformation, from being named after a local dacoit – Bhuban Dakat, to being named an Abode of Peace, goes back to 1862. It is said that Maharshi Devendranath Tagore (Rabindranath Tagore’s father) while on a boat journey to Raipur, came across a landscape with red soil and meadows of lush green paddy fields. Rows of chhatim trees (commonly known as the Devil tree) and date palms charmed him. He stopped to look, decided to plant more saplings and built a small house. He called his home Shantiniketan (abode of peace). Shantiniketan became a spiritual centre where people from all religions were invited to join for meditation and prayers. He founded an ‘Ashram’ here in 1863 and being a deeply religious man, became the re-initiator of the Brahmo Samaj (formed in 1843). The Bramho Sabha, started by Raja Ram Mohan Roy, had fallen away from its original practice and aiming to revive it, Devandranath Tagore merged his Tattwabodhini Sabha with the Brahmo Sabha. 




Shantiniketan today is a town situated near Bolpur, a tribal area well known for its handicrafts, remembered as a place where music flows and where the famous Rabindranath Tagore spent his precious years preaching love, music and life without measure. Home to the world famous Biswa Bharti University, which is surrounded by a large wooded area, densely populated with Eucalyptus trees and other trees commonly known as “Shalbon”, recognized by their big leaves. The plentiful flora and fauna of this place has for years given shade, solace and inspiration to many budding writers and creative minds.


“Gram chhara oi ranga matir path (the red path beyond my village)” – Rabindranath Tagore

Exploring the landscape and people that inspired the Nobel Laureate, led me to one of the area’s main highlights – the Saturday Tribal Haat, commonly known as Shonajhuri haat, which takes place near the Kopai River. Popularly known as Khoai, immortalized as having deeply inspired Tagore’s poetry, the area around the river has red soil that forms ravines on the river bank with weathering.


The Shonajhuri Haat – ADVAYA TALES®

The Haat is a gathering for the local tribal folk to sell their hand-made products. These are hardworking people that make their living through their handicrafts and jewelry made from natural produce like seeds, flowers, leaves. The surrounding greenery teaming with the tribal song and dance during the Haat left me tapping my feet spell bound. Dusky beauties with their tribal jewelry, balancing a pot of water on their head looked so graceful and mesmerizing. Conversations with them revealed that while they were happy to ply they’re art to earn a living, there have been many instances where they have been duped, their products bought with promises of huge business, which never materialized.


Shonajhuri Haat: Song & Dance – ADVAYA TALES®

Nonetheless, a clear blue sky, lush green fields awaiting harvest next season and women selling local delights made in the village, made visiting the Haat a pleasant treat to the senses.

“Here my neighbour is the river Kopai… Associated with the cacophony of the Santhal woman of age old times… Her treasures are humble, but her poverty is not pale…”

– Rabindranath Tagore, ‘Kopai’, Rachanavali, VIII, 234.


Unexpectedly chancing upon the nearing tribal village, I decided to explore. Picture – mud thatched roofs, woman carrying pots of water on their head, while the men readied themselves for work even on a Sunday.

“They hunt for small fishes using their clothes as nets.

The women wash and scrub their utensils with sand

As they wash clothes and return for household chores…”

– Choto Nadi, Rabindranath Tagore

Beyond the imaginations of most city bred folk, here was life which didn’t run on electricity, where food was cooked in the traditional “chulla” with fire and coal, where water had to be carried home from a nearby source, or where water for bath meant a dive in the pond nearby – if not the famous “Khowai” river, with folk music always playing in the background from most houses.


Bengal: Tribal Life – ADVAYA TALES®

So like a true Bengali on the quest for good food, I was treated with some amazing local recipes. The local market was buzzing with students and local eateries. While perusing through commercial crafts in the local markets, did not yield products that could be deemed value for money – in terms of quality, I was well compensated with the must-have “khullad” tea. Served in an earthen vessel, it came accompanied by a strange aroma, pouring forth nostalgic memories of my childhood holidays spent travelling.



Biswa Bharti Campus

Yet, roaming in the Biswa Bharti Campus on a full moon night had its own charm, which once again left me reminiscent of my long IIT campus walks back in Delhi. It was as though the city and I were relating life stories, as I strolled on, as it revealed small dimly lit row houses which reflected a style of living, nearly forgotten. The moonlight glistening off the tall trees, swaying with every little breeze left me convinced that I need to spend more days here.

“In the corners of my different lonely musings

Have flown her indifferent waters

As a traveller moves close by the troubles of the

Ordinary man; yet unbothered by it”

– Rabindranath Tagore’s Kopai, Rachanavali VIII, 233-4



Patha Bhavan – ADVAYA TALES®

Started years later by Rabindranath Tagore in Shantinketan, the Patha Bhavana was the school of his ideals, where the central premise is that learning in a natural environment would be more enjoyable and fruitful. After he received the Nobel Prize (1913), the school was expanded into a university in 1921 and by 1951, it had become one of India’s central universities. Throughout the year this premise is buzzing with social and cultural events like Basanta Utsav (Holi), Barsha Mangal, Sharodutsav (Durga Puja), Nandan Mela (art fair), Poush Mela (Harvest Festival), Magh Mela, Rabindra Jayanti etc. The Poush Mela in particular is the prime attraction, being a three day fair (end of December) with various artists, singers, dancers and traditional Baul taking the centre stage.


Biswa Bharati Education – Images Found on Google



Jorasankho Thakurbari – ADVAYA TALES®

Jorasanko Thakurbari, aka House of Thakur’s, built by Prince Dwarkanath Tagore (grandfather of Rabindranath Tagore) in the 18th century, is situated at the Rabindra Bharti University Campus, North Calcutta. This is the house where Rabindranath Tagore was born, and the campus comprises of the residence of Tagore and the university. The house feels nothing short of time travelling into the history and the lives of the Tagores. The house gives you a glimpse into Tagore’s life, from his immeasurable personal and other contributions to the society. It’s interesting to know that apart from his literary contribution to his love for music, dance and so many other creative works, a deep passion for food walked side by side. Tales sing praise till date – about the “Thakurbarir Ranna” recipes specially made for the Tagore’s household.  Most of these recipes are now lost to current generations, so like many other Bengali’s, I too had to depart with only fanciful wishes to feed my desire, to taste this food of legend.


Rabindra University, Jorasankho – ADVAYA TALES®


India may have immortalized Tagore by making his song its National Anthem, but Bengal has chosen to be defined by his music, his poetry and his way of life. Till date, Tagore remains alive not just in his life’s works but most importantly in passionate conversations over tea, especially at the Adda’s – that Bengali’s are so famous for. One cannot explore Bengal, without understanding Tagore.

Rabindranath Tagore and Students, Santiniketan, 1929.

Rabindranath Tagore and Students, Santiniketan, 1929.

So, having paid homage like a true ‘Bangali’ – by visiting and experiencing the legacy of Rabindranath Tagore, I set out with renewed excitement and vigor to explore the ‘City of Joy’ and discover its forgotten history.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of the Bengal Diaries blog!                                                            

Batik – To Adorn a Work of Art

Batik Print

Batik Design Image Found on Google Images

Imagine viewing an intricately coloured and designed painting from a zoomed in perspective. Heavily detailed layers of design elements, interweaving patterns and intermingling shades of colours, etched flawlessly down to every perceivable inch. Be amazed – as your perspective zooms out till what you perceive isn’t a mere painting, rather – a splendid work of art whose canvas is fabric. As this astonishingly designed cloth is lifted above and draped around to dress a body in the perfection of its artwork, its majesty completely manifests when it is revealed that what you witness is hand drawn and imprinted using a 2000 year old technique of wax-resist dyeing.

Advaya's Batiks

ADVAYA TALES ® (these are images of products found at Advaya Tales)

The art of Batik is an ancient handloom and fabric painting technique, which involves creating elaborate and intricate designs onto whole cloth – employing a wax-resist, and then dyeing. Traditionally employing cotton and silk cloth for its designs, nowadays fabrics such as poplin, cambric, voiles, chiffon and velvet also adorn Batik art. ‘Wax Writing’ – a meaning that is derived from the Javanese word ‘ambatik’, is considered to be the origin of the art-form’s name, the Java islands of Indonesia being the place where Batik art is most highly developed. The art of Batik has been practiced for centuries and across many countries, mainly India, Japan, Malaysia and Bangladesh, yet the UNESCO has designated the Indonesian Batik the position of – Master of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Though globally recognized as Indonesia’s cultural clothing – Batik fashion has been readily accepted by all kinds of religious, racial and cultural dressing sensibilities. This unrestricting nature of Batik fashion extends to being inclusive of both men and women clothing, wherein Batik shirts and unisex sarongs are popularly worn, especially in Sri Lanka and Indonesia.


Images found on Google Images

Images found on Google Images

A Batik is traditionally worn as a sarong (artistically designed versions of the simple Indian lungi), wrapped across the waist or wrapped from the chest down to the knee by women. Today, contemporary Batik designs can be popularly found – artistically decorating shirts, casual wear and various kinds of dresses. Being popular from the late 18th century to the early 19th century, the advent of western clothing greatly diminished the Batik industry (especially in Java). However, with the 21st century, modern fashion designers have revived and popularized the art form in both the East and the West, fashioning Batik art in contemporary designs compatible with modern clothing.  Batik Sarongs are still worn on many occasions in Indonesia, as replacements for modern formal clothing and after acquiring recognition from the UNESCO, the Indonesian government has encouraged the populace to wear Batiks every Friday to work, while the 2nd of October is celebrated as National Batik Day.


Making a Batik

Images found on Google

Being an artistic tradition that is said to predate written records and spanning multiple countries, there are many ways to make a Batik. The most authentic and challenging method is the hand painting method which involves using a spouted pen tool called a Canting (also pronounced Tjanting), also called the Kalamkari pen in Sri Lank where this method is still popularly used. The Tjanting pen, considered to be a notable artistic invention in its own rights, is used to draw designs on the fabric with hot wax-resist (which is usually made up of beeswax, paraffin or plant resins that work as dye-resists). The designed cloth is then dyed and all areas of the cloth acquire the colour except for the waxed areas, which are then dewaxed. The process can be repeated to create even more elaborate colours and designs. It is important to note – Batik designs acquire their signature characteristic during the dyeing process, where small cracks appear in the wax, allowing the fabric to take in small amounts of dye.

Images found on Google

Images found on Google

Other popular and less time and effort-consuming processes include the Block Printing method, wherein copper or wooden stamps called Caps (also spelled Tjaps) are used to stamp the dye resist onto the cloth, with ready-made shapes and designs. The Screen Printing method applies the wax resist, transferring designs from the screen onto the cloth directly, and the Splash Printing method as the name suggests involves splashing the wax over the fabric, after which the dye is poured over, creating unpredictable visually stunning shapes and patterns post de-waxing.

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India is one of the few places in the world where the resist method of dyeing designs is known to have been practiced since 2000 years ago. Until recently Batik designs in India where limited to dresses and tailored garments, but with the new found popularity that the art form has received, Batik designs can be found on Indian Sarees and Dupattas, as well as on bags, accessories, household linen, home décor and as art pieces.

At the Visva-Bharati University, founded by the famous Rabindranath Tagore, the ancient craft of Batik is preserved by offering 2-year courses which impart a detailed understanding of producing the art form, and the history of Indian Batik. Mundra and Mandvi in Gujrat are India’s main centers of Batik production are, while Shantiniketan in West Bengal is a hub for the artistic tradition. Interestingly, the Delhi Foundation of Deaf Women provides workshops on producing contemporary Batik designs.

Images found on Google

Images found on Google


The art of Batik hasn’t just survived history with grace, but thanks to modern fashion designing experiments, It’s unrestricting nature has proved to be a timeless achievement in human art, for the future as well. In a world where the excellence of human art manifests itself in abundant forms and numbers to the general eye, wearing a Batik is a superior experience still, being a historical symbol of the perfection that human creativity can fashion.  Wearing a Batik means more than just dressing up in exotic ethnic wear, it means that you’re carrying with you a centuries old artistic heritage and that you’re adorning yourself in a true work of art.

Advaya 1

ADVAYA TALES ® (these are images of products found at Advaya Tales)

Jamdani – The Legend of the Finest Fabric

In a dream you stride beneath the shade of monuments, in a time where the Mughals reigned in India. Amidst gardens that delight the eye and architecture that evades the tongue, lies a woman whose beauty captivates all senses, reciting poetry to a flower. But your ears hear naught and your heart sees naught else, once it spots the exquisitely designed cotton fabric, elegantly poised around the lady’s body; its many motifs suspended on a cloth nearly transparent and too supple for even light to grasp. As the immense beauty averts your glance, it catches the curiously diverted gaze, of the woman draped in this cloth of legends. Your transparent eyes question the fabric’s ethereal translucency. She smiles and reveals – “I am garbed in seven separate hand woven layers of muslin, though it may appear to be made by lesser than one. Tis called – The Wind Woven”.

jamdani 5

Found on Google Images


Muslin textile – hand woven to a near transparent wave of colourful cotton cloth, intricately designed with figured and flowery motifs – floating through its translucent canvas. As soft as a sigh, as light as the wind and considered to be the finest among fabrics. It was created by skilled commoners, valued by emperors and hailed for its undeniable par excellence in artistry – the world over. History pulled a veil over its glory, yet its legend keeps it alive in the present, as a treasure to be ever sought in its true authenticity.   

It was originally called Dhakai, after the city of Dhaka from East Bengal, now Bangladesh, where it was exclusively hand-woven for centuries. Its secret ingredient – an exceptional silky cotton plant (called phuti karpas) exclusive to the region, which grew near the banks of the River Meghna and failed to grow elsewhere. Although, it is also said that the art of making Dhakkai Muslin was a union of age old Bengali cloth making techniques and muslins produced by Muslims in 14th century Bengal.


Found on Google Images

When the Mughals reigned in India, they were so enamored with this masterfully finished fabric, that apart from offering its weavers extensive patronage, they affectionately named it in Persian after the floral patterns found in the Dhakai textile, ‘Jam’ – meaning flower and ‘Dani’ meaning container. In fact, while Jamdanis are usually found in the form of sarees, scarves and handkerchiefs, the Mughal Emperors commissioned grand dresses made in Dhaka muslin to display their grandeur, while having additional muslin-wear customized according to the their aesthetic sensibilities.

As Jamdani textiles travelled with trade around the world, from the past and towards the present, a renowned author of the Roman Empire from the 1st century CE called it the “Woven Wind”, for its lightness and mystical transparency. In present times the UNESCO has declared it an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, for the undying status it has acquired in the history of world art.

Creating a single Jamdani saree could take months and sometimes even a year of extremely skilled and laborious hand weaving, in order to complete. Perhaps this immense price in effort is what’s paid off and kept the Jamdani traditions alive and still sought after so many centuries. Yet, surviving history comes with a price of its own and the legend of this legendary Muslin isn’t as closely woven as its fabric.


Post the reign of the Mughals and during the initial reign of the British Empire, the Jamdani weaving tradition flourished for a while, as large quantities of Jamdani muslin were exported to England. However, cheaper industrially manufactured yarn imported to India by the British in the 19th century, caused the decline of the expensive and time-consuming Jamdani weaving industry in Bengal. Furthermore, the partition of Bengal in 1947 saw many Bengali weavers migrate to present day India, where they began Jamdani weaving traditions, which is now considered native to Bangladesh. As the governments and non-government organizations from both countries have collectively brought forth a revival of Jamdani fashion, there are many variations of Jamdani which can be classified regionally. However, there are four types of Jamdani weaves that are well known in India and Bangladesh.

Dhakai Jamdani

Found on Google Images


The most authentic and skillful display of the Jamdani artistic tradition are the Dhakai Jamdani, which are made using old-fashioned methods and tools, taking up to an entire year of painstaking weaving to complete. They are distinguished by being covered in multicoloured floral motifs, they come accompanied with carefully crafted pallus (loose end of a saree) and they’re famous for mango motifs which signify growth and marital bliss. A Dhakai Jamdani is well-known for intuitively falling on the contours of its wearer.


Another Jamdani native to Bangladesh is the Tangail Jamdani, which have clearly distinguishing motifs on their traditional broad borders, in the forms of the lotus, lamps and fish scales.

Found on Google Images


Woven in West Bengal and very similar in style to the Tangail Jamdani, this type employs intricately striped motifs to decorate its sarees. Its patterns include stripes and checks, while its texture is either an amalgam of fine and thick yarn or made from coloured threads.

Santipur Jamdani



Also hailing from West Bengal and named after its place of origin, these Jamdani are recognized by their usage of bold colours and dark borders. These are more tightly woven Jamdani compared to the Tangail and Shantipura variations.

Dhaniakali Jamdani

Found on Google Images


The modern revival of the Jamdani weaving tradition and the rising demand for exclusive and authentic artistic clothing is seeing an increased interest in ancient hand-crafted fashions such as the Jamdani. While the traditional version of Jamdani sarees preferred to be woven in pure cotton, modern versions weave in silk and even pure silk along with the cotton in their fabric, also making use of contemporary designs on the sarees. Two popular modern styles, include the ‘Self-Coloured Style’ where the base fabric decides which colour the weavings are done in, while the ‘Half & Half  Style’ does an interplay of two complimentary colours on the inner and outer side of the saree.

Once considered a privilege reserved for royalty – an authentic hand woven Jamdani is incredibly expensive, requires high-maintenance, but is undeniably elegant beyond measure. In a world of good appearances, great dressing and trends ever new, flaunted at weddings or surrounded by at corporate gatherings, an appreciation and understanding of the old that is yet gold, signifies rich taste and speaks volumes. And when it comes to adorning an authentic Jamdani saree, it speaks of times when emperors stood enamored and respectfully bowed before the sheer beauty hard-working human hands could summon.



How a Jamdani is Made 

Let’s make Hues..

Step out. See around. Visual References. Again.

Hues play an essential part in our lives as we tend to relate day-to-day activities, emotions, landmarks, and what not, to COLORS. But have we given a thought on how the colors came into existence? How the dyes got translated into fabrics? Let’s divulge.


Madder, obtained from the roots of the madder plant, is responsible for our introduction to the brilliant & exotic “Turkey Red”. The plants are dug up, the roots washed and dried and ground into powder. During the 19th century, the most widely available fabrics were those which had been dyed with madder. The madder plant continued to be used for dyeing until the mid-1800s when a synthetic substitute was developed.

Cochineal is a brilliant red dye produced from insects living on cactus plants. It was discovered by pre-Columbian Indians who would dry the female bugs in the sun, and then ground the dried bodies to produce a rich red powder. When mixed with water, the powder produced a deep, vibrant red color. Cochineal is still harvested today on the Canary Islands. Kermes is another insect which delivers a nice scarlet color that was identified back in the day & has a mention the bible book of Exodus.

Of cherries, and much more!

Of cherries, and much more!


Prussian blue was formed from prussite of potash and iron salt, making it one of the earliest known chemical dyes.

Until the Middle Ages, Europeans used woad to create a blue fabric dye. The woad was a shrub that grew abundantly in parts of Europe. The color was in the leaves, which were dried and ground, mixed with water and made into a paste. This dye was supplanted by Indigo whose color lay in its leaflets and branches. The leaves were fermented, the sediment purified, and the remaining substance was pressed into cakes. Indigo is a substantive dye, needing no mordant & yet extremely fast to washing and to light. The manufacture of natural indigo lasted well into the early 1900s till Adolf von Baeyer was awarded the Nobel Prize for discovering the molecular structure of indigo, and developing a process to produce it synthetically. This natural dye quickly gave way to the new synthetic, ending an ancient botanical history.

Go Indigo!

Go Indigo!


Yellow dyes were easily found in saffron, pomegranate rind, turmeric, safflower, onionskins, rubber plant, small snake weed & a number of weedy flowering plants. Limited evidence suggests that it is indigenous to England as it was an important dye of the ancient Mediterranean & Europe.

Yellow fellows!

Yellow fellows!


Being a secondary color, dyes that are responsible to create the reds & yellows of the world can yield oranges!  Navajo dyers create orange dyes from one-seeded juniper, Navajo tea or alder bark.

Call me Orange!

Call me Orange!


Very rarely we find any substance that yields the green shade. Woad & indigo collaborate with the yellow dyes to produce the greens. Woolen cloth mordanted with alum and dyed yellow with dyer’s greenweed was overdyed with woad and, later, indigo, to produce the once-famous Kendal green. Soft olive greens are also achieved when textiles dyed yellow are treated with an iron mordant.

Mean Green..

Mean Green..


Purple was made from a mollusk and clothing made from it was so expensive only the royal family could afford it. It was extracted from a small gastropod mollusk found in all seas or from a crustacean called a Trumpet Shell or Purple Fish, found near Tyre on the Mediterranean coast. Their body secreted a deep purple fluid which was harvested by cracking the shell and digging out a vein located near the shellfish head with a small pointed utensil. The mucus-like contents of the veins were then mixed together and spread on silk or linen. Estimates are that it took 8,500 shellfish to produce one gram of the dye, hence this dye became worth more than its weight in gold.

In 1856, William Henry Perkin, while experimenting with coal tar in hopes of finding an artificial quinine as a cure for malaria, discovered the first synthetic dye stuff which he called “Mauve”.   The color quickly became a favourite of the royal family, and a new industry was begun.

Mollusks to Amethyst..All things Royale!

Mollusks to Amethyst..All things Royale!


Cutch is an ancient brown dye from the wood of acacia trees in India for dyeing cotton. Cutch gives gray-browns with an iron mordant and olive-browns with copper.

Coffee & More!

Coffee & More!

Isn’t the color encyclopaedia GOLD in the digital print era? Know your hues & paint your imaginations. Advaya says Hola to their new line of products in traditional natural dyes which would go live soon. Stay tuned to AdvayaTales for more insights on fashion & styling tips for the upcoming winter/festive season.

Stay Gold!