History of Textiles in India
The origin of Textiles in India traces back to the Indus valley Civilization where people used homespun cotton for weaving their clothes. Rig Veda, the earliest of the Vedas contains the literary information about textiles and it refers to weaving. Ramayana and Mahabharata, the eminent Indian epics depict the existence of wide variety of fabrics in ancient India. These epics refer both to rich and stylized garment worn by the aristocrats and ordinary simple clothes worn by the common people.
India enjoyed a flourishing trade with the outside world on account of its textile products. There was a great demand for Indian textile products in the Roman Empire. Indian silkwas popular in Rome in the early centuries of the Christian era. Cotton products, originating from India have been found many Middle East countries. Cotton textiles were also exported to China during the heydays of the silk route.
Textiles in Different Regions of India
Each and every region of India contributes in creating a myriad of textile tradition. The hilly region of the country produces a rich variety of woollen textiles. The Pashmina and Shahtoosh shawls of Kashmir, shawls and woollen garments of Himachal Pradesh and other North-Eastern states provides excellent examples of world famous woollen Indian textiles. The barren and semi barren regions like Rajasthan and Gujarat usually prefers embroideredbright coloured textiles. The coastal areas of the south eastern regions prefer light coloured fabrics and particularly cotton and silk textiles are very popular over here. The home furnishing utilitarian textile products like bedspreads and sheets, pillows and cushions, linens and mats, curtains and napkins, carpets and rugs and many such other items are produced by all parts of the country.
Apart from those mentioned, each and every region and state of India has its own distinct individual style in textile. Indian textile industry can be divided into several segments, some of which can be listed as below:
• Cotton Textiles
• Silk Textiles
• Woollen Textiles
• Readymade Garments
•\ Hand-crafted Textiles
• Jute and Coir
Distinct Style and Tradition of Indian Textiles
Silk and cotton weaving predominates the rich tradition of weaving in India. Silk weaving is most popular in various parts of the country. Assam, Banaras, Mysore, Kanchipuram and Surat are all important centres of silk weaving. All these centres specialize mostly in cotton and silk saree weaving and some of the popular traditional Indian sarees are Banarasi, Patola, Baluchari, Pochampalli, Paithani and many others.
The ornate style of ‘Applique’ most commonly done with bright coloured fabrics from the Kutchh region of Gujarat is very popular in the country as well as in abroad. The state of Punjab is famous for its ‘Phulkari’ work. Lucknow, a city in Uttar Pradesh is famous for its ‘Chikan’ work.