Mysore Silk Sarees: History & Style

Not all that glitters is gold; it can be silk too. From the princely state of Mysore reputed for its perfumed sandalwood oil comes a fiber with a stature of its own. Much in demand for their rich quality and shine, Mysore silk sarees have an enviable history owing to their connotation with South Indian royal history. The regal look and smooth texture of the silk make it a favorite among Indian brides. The growing demand for this silk fabric in the North resonates with a continued love for it in the Southern part of the country where it originated.

The story of Mysore silk

The tale of the fabulous fiber dates back to the Tipu Sultan era where the demand for this silk prompted an entirely new silk industry in the region during that period. Silk production got prevalent in Mysore and became one of the most profitable and widely accepted cultures during those times.

Production of this silk on a massive scale was revived again in the 20th century as the craze for Mysore silk sarees and its gold and silver combined zari drove many people to eulogize and emulate the well-known South Indian attire. Another interesting fact is that one can store these sarees for long as the color and shine of the zaris do not fade even after being worn for many years.

Inspiring an irrepressible style

The fondness for the glimmering Mysore silk among the Maharajas and Sultans was such that it prompted them to drape everything in silk. Both the intricate Mysore silk saree designs preferred by South Indian queens to the exclusive finesse of the weavers, both drew equal attention. The fascination for silk was such that its production grew despite the kingdoms embroiled in perennial war-like situations.

Silk production enjoyed the patronage of the Wodeyar Maharajas that gave way to the first silk manufacturing unit in India. This unit powered with 32 power looms from Switzerland is now run by Karnataka Silk Industries Corporation (KSIC) to weave what we know as Mysore silk sarees KSIC in today’s times.

Cherishing an exclusive piece

Mysore silk sarees have a sheen and luster not found in other silk saree types. An interesting fact about these sarees is that these are exclusively manufactured as opposed to other artificial silk fabric produced on a large scale. Every piece is distinct, thus, ensuring its longevity and originality. More than the glaze, it is the grace and simplicity that define it and lends a refined tone to its appearance and feel.

Authentic pieces can be identified because of the uniformity of their color. These silk sarees are single-colored pieces with zaris and gold-threaded borders. To add to the look, some sarees also have beautifully designed floral motifs along with delicately done patterns of mango buttis to enhance their look and appeal. One will find Kasuti embroidery and Bandhani designs fashioned on these sarees.

The traditional Mysore silk attire is not too heavy. However, women preferring light Mysore silk sarees can always opt for crepe and georgette. One can wear these sarees for casual events that make them fit right into the daily wardrobe list of many women. Most of these sarees are available in bright colors to complement the skin tone though one can opt for light colors like beige, elephant gray, coffee brown, etc.

Checking for genuineness

Mysore silk KSIC sarees are authentic though some buyers are skeptical regarding originality and look for ways to check and identify pure silk. Natural silk is eco-friendly and different from art silk used in industrial looms to manufacture artificial silk sarees.

Identifying pure silk is easy with a simple ‘Burning Test’ that one can perform anywhere at any time. Pure Mysore silk sarees have both the warp and weft made from pure silk yarns. Burning a small piece of thread from both directions helps to understand if the silk used is real. Burning pure silk feels like burning hair and leaves behind a black residue crushed to powder by rubbing it between fingers.

Both occasional and regular wear

The heavily embroidered and ornamented sarees are preferred for traditional events like religious ceremonies, weddings, and festivals. The opulence coupled with the weight of the elaborate designs and ornaments used to lend a somber look. However, one can opt for the lighter and delicate versions that are ideally suited for social gatherings and celebrity parties. One can opt for any color or style depending on the choice and occasion.