What Makes Dhakai Jamdani Saree A Quintessential Feature In Your Collection


The neat weft of fine thin weaves stitched in a zig-zag pattern come together to create a translucent and intricate saree popularly known as the Dhakai Jamdamni saree. The origin of this saree can be traced back to Dhaka, Bangladesh. The word Jamdani is a combination of two Persian words; “jam” which can be translated to “bloom” and “dani” which can translate to vase. Thus, the name Dhakai Jamdani was given to this fine piece of artistry.

This saree is a testament to the rich textile history of Bengal. It showcases the influence of the Mughals on the Bengal’s textile culture. The translucent motif-heavy saree was quite popular in and around the pre-partitioned Bengal and was commonly donned by women of affluent families. However, during the British colonial period, this particular weave saw a dip in popularity and slowly faded from the choices of popular textiles. Nevertheless, after the independence of India, the Dhakai Jamdani saree saw a resurgence in popular culture and regained its popularity. The resurgence of this loom can be credited to the collaborative efforts of the government and non-government agencies of India and Bangladesh.

Currently, you can get a hold of a Dhakai Jamdani in Kolkata with ease. Let us look at why every connoisseur of saree should have one Dhakai Jamani saree in their wardrobe:

A Piece Of History:

When you place your hand on an authentic handwoven Dhakai Jamdani saree, you are dipping yourself a bit into the history of Bengal’s rich culture. The artistry of creating this weft has been passed down to generation by weavers. Thus, the handwoven rich textile doesn’t only carry the beautiful motif patterns intertwined in its weave but also a piece of history within itself. Thereby, when you pick a Dhakai Jamdani from a store in Kolkata, Dhaka or anywhere else, you are delving yourself into the deep textile history of India.

Preserving The Art:

Post the British colonial era and the dip in Dhakai Jamdani’s popularity, the weavers suffered gravely. Even after independence, during the partition, the weavers of this saree fled their homes in Dhaka to seek refuge in the state of West Bengal, India. Thus, a huge chunk of weavers were lost. These trials and tribulations marred the lives of weavers had set the tone for the absolute extinction of this artistry. Only a few weavers kept the art of weaving Dhakai Jamani saree alive. Yet the existence of this weave of the exquisite Dhakai Jamdani saree is proof of the weavers' laborious and continuous fight to keep alive the age-old tradition. Thus, by purchasing an authentic Dhakai Jamdani saree from a store in Kolkata or Dhaka, you are helping to preserve this art form and keep it prospering for future generations.

Technique And Artistry:

Not everyone can master this century-old custom of weaving a Dhakai Jamdani saree. This handwoven muslin is woven by dedicated artists who have spent their lives mastering the technique of weaving a translucent Dhakai Jamdani saree. Originally woven with cotton threads, the inclusion of silk strands expanded the possibilities. The classic geometric and floral motif that Jamdani is associated with is handwoven with heavier threads against the light and translucent background. Generally, these embellished motifs are handwoven against the translucent weft by the artist with the help of a bamboo stick or tiny spool. The twice-woven saree is typically found in subtle colours that act as a contrast which lets the vibrant motifs stand out. Thereby, whenever you pick an authentic Jamdani saree in a store in Kolkata, Dhaka or anywhere in India and Bangladesh, you are paying the due respect to the artisans for their fine craftsmanship.

These are some of the reasons why the beauty of a Dhakai Jamdani saree deserves a place in every saree lover's wardrobe. Since these sarees are so popular and expensive, machine-woven dupes have become widely accessible. You can get machine-woven Dhakai Jamdani for a fraction of the price, but it will lack the soul of an original and handcrafted Dhakai Jamdani. Thus, if you want to buy a Dhakai Jamdani in Kolkata, make sure you obtain the real weft and not a dupe machine-woven saree. 

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