Sambalpuri Ikat weave, which has its origins in the Sambalpur belt of Odisha, reflects a craft called Ikat (also known as Bandha in the local Lingo). It is an ancient dyeing technique used to create a distinct style of textile pattern. Bundles of yarns are wrapped and repeatedly dyed to create a surface design. The origin of the craft is obscure and variations of it are practiced across the globe. In India, the states of Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Odisha are well known for distinctive Ikat crafts.
As with other Indian regions, the state of Odisha also developed several Ikat techniques, each with its particular distinctions. Sambalpuri Ikat is one of the variations of Ikat found in Odisha. It has been produced in great amounts in the western parts of Odisha for ages.
The Bhuliya weavers of the Meher tribe have been producing it for generations. The weave reflects the region’s heritage and the ingenuity and skill of the artisans, for with each generation the craft has leveled up in terms of innovation and design.
In the past, Sambalpuri Ikat has utilized cotton yarn, which ensured that the color seeps in deeper and made any attire made from Sambalpuri Ikat suitable for any weather. Nowadays, it comes in both silk and cotton as well as other blends. Sambalpuri Ikat is known for its striking colors and minutely detailed design and motifs.
Throughout, a wide array of motifs are used - including geometrical themes, flora and fauna, landscapes, religious themes, and more. Recent developments witness new designs in Ikat depicting portraits, landscapes, and flower pods. The modern design Sambalpuri weaves are creative wonders and the patience, precision, and ingenious skills of the artisans are to be noted here.
Traditionally Sambalpuri Ikat weaves were made into sensational sarees, known for their feminine allure. But, the weave's unique colors, durable texture, and interesting patterns have attracted attention, and the material is now used in a variety of casual clothing wears, as well as footwear, jewelry, bags, and home decor items. As such, Sambalpuri Ikat weaves show off the brilliance of ethnic weavers while combining modern tastes with traditional weaving without losing the heirloom value.