Kantha is a renowned style of embroidery that is originated from West Bengal. It displays the skill and talent of rural women in Bengal. It is the process where old clothes are reused for making something new. The type of stitch is normal running stitch. It is so simple and low-cost technique that has taken the fashion industry by storm.

Generally, it is being used to design dhotis, sarees, pillow covers, etc. But over the decades, it has become the central fashion style for Indian women. Not only in India, you can trace this embroidery in UK and Japan also. The reusability and low cost, these two properties attracted the weavers to focus on this industry.

“Kantha” means the “throat”. The word directly linked to the Lord Shiva. This theory states that how Lord Shiva consumed deadly poison while stirring up the ocean to save the earth. The word flows from the Vedic age.

Another legend says that “Kantha” means “rags”. Lord Buddha and his disciples used rags to cover themselves. The rags were stitched by collecting different clothes. In this way, the embroidery got its origin.

Kantha embroidery is a layer-based technique. Around three to four sarees are taken and sewn together to create the Kantha stitched art. Different art of stitches are needed to make this eye-soothing. The production cost is low because of the reusability but skill and talent are extremely important.

The Kantha stitch is the main product of rural women of West Bengal. That is why you can see the motifs related to birds, trees, fishes and sometime sceneries. It reflects the beautiful ambiance of Bengal villages. 

This embroidery is not only used to design sarees, but it also can design several things. Generally, there are 7 types of Kantha art i.e. 

  • Lep
  • Baiton
  • Sujani
  • Oaar
  • Archilata
  • Durjani
  • Rumal

The art is also used to design home decorations like furniture. The common use of the Kantha is for child clothes. The use of Kantha is growing day by day. This is a recycling process. You can’t use other clothes in this way to create other necessary things. Nowadays, The perimeter of this industry is not bounded by the villages. Many women use this technique in their homes. Some of them have already made their passions. Art has been already adopted on many occasions. The standard of this art has been included by the top weavers. This industry is now competing with the famous saree industries. If we gaze into it, this is a Women Empowerment. The rural women have done great things with their passion, talent, and skills. 

The saree I draped is Siuli Kantha. “Siuli” is a Bengali word and it is the name of a flower. The flower blooms in the Early Autumn. As you are watching, the Siuli flowers’ pattern has been stitched on the Bangalore Silk. I generally do not have many collections of this saree but this particular saree had attracted me. I bought it from Suchona- An unit of Excellence boutique of Bidisha Sarkar. I wore it on the occasion of Bijaya Dashami. the saree is very soft and comfortable. The entire saree is covered by work but this is comparatively light. Though the red and white combination makes it bright and gorgeous but in the daylight, it is very eye soothing. Every year, I use to drape red and white combination or only red in the Bijaya Dashami. This year I preferred Kantha. I am paired with my handmade jewelry and simple red churis.