Pradeep Pattanayak

As Ayodhya is getting ready for the consecration ceremony of the Ram Temple on January 22, contributions are pouring in from all across India. 

A weaver family from Bargarh in Odisha has also woven a saree, specifically for the ceremony. 

According to Dushyant Meher, a craftsman, the saree is not like any other ordinary saree. 

Dushyant, who is presently in New Delhi, is the brother of Ishwar Meher, the master craftsman who has woven the saree using the age-old weaving art, locally known as ‘Sambalpuri Bandha Kala’. 

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When asked about the speciality of the saree, Dushyant said, “We belong to the Meher family in Sambalpur. Our family has been weaving the ‘Bandha Kala’ saree for years. We use our own concept for weaving the sarees, giving it uniqueness. The saree that I have brought is woven by my brother, Ishwar Meher, who used his own concept and thinking.”

“The concept of the saree is ‘Ram Setu’. The concept is taken because the laying of the setu is a major event in the Ramayan epic where Lord Ram constructed the bridge to free Sita. The saree is based on this entire episode,” he said. 

Further describing the design of the saree, he said, “The border of the saree that runs along its length has images of fish and tortoise. The colour of the body signifies the ocean. While marine creatures are in it, in the middle of the saree, a black pattern runs from one end to the other. It is the bridge and it has stones with ‘Ram’ written on them in Hindi language. Its ‘anchal’ has images of Lord Hanuman, his soldiers, Angad, Nal, Neel and squirrels busy in constructing the setu." 

“The saree is woven on an experimental basis. The thread used in weaving is not moisturised cotton but is ‘Khadi cotton’. Natural colours are used, not chemical dyes,” he added. 

When asked how the concept came to his brother’s mind, he said, “My brother, who is a national awardee, had a wish to portray the Ram Setu event on a saree using ‘Bandha Kala’ art. The people who are coming to know about this saree are expressing their desire to know more about the art and what themes to come next."

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