Apart from being popularly called the "tea capital of India', Assam is also known for its Rongali Bihu celebration. Bohag Bihu or Rongali Bihu is incomplete if you cannot flaunt those beautiful Mekhela Chador and dance to the beats of Dhul(traditional drum) and Pepa(hornpipe).
Mekhela Chador is not just a traditional attire of Assamese women but also a sentimental value.
Its time for women in Assam to drape their new set of Mekhela Chador. The attire consist of two pieces, one is 'Saador' and the other is 'Mekhela'. 'Saador' is draped around the body for added beauty and tucked at the waist. The bottom half of the dress is known as 'Mekhela' is folded into pleats to the right around the waist and where the Chador is tucked in.Read more
There's also a third piece 'Riha' that many have forgotten about. To be precise, Riha is traditionally an unstitched "corset" and this part remains concealed under 'saador'. Riha is now worn as 'Dupatta' by the Assamese brides.
Although it is unclear when the Mekhela Chador first entered the scene but it is understood that in the occasion of Bihu women regardless of their age, drape a new set of Mekhela Chador.
So when we prattle on Assam Silk, Sualkuchi will definitely cross our minds. Sualkuchi is termed as 'Manchester of the East' which is located some 30 km from Guwahati in Assam, on the bank of the mighty 'Brahmaputra'. As soon as you hear 'Sualkuchi' you get the vivid images of throbbing click-clack of weavers using 'taathaal' and 'Maku'. Sualkuchi is world-renowned for its production of Assam Silk.
Dating back to 1946, when Mahatma Gandhi visited the Sualkuchi village to see the weavers at their loom, he quoted "Assamese women weave dreams on their looms'. Yes, weaving is a part of our tradition. Read more
With a rhythmic clap of the looms, mostly silent and shutters of showrooms down, there is excitement for this Rongali Bihu.
Mekhela Saadors are generally found in three varieties on the basis of the silk :
Muga Mekhela Chador: Muga Mekhela Chadors are made with Muga silk which is the rarest silk only produced in Assam. The term 'Muga' means yellowish in Assamese. Apart from being rarest silk, the major highlight is its longevity. These Mekhela Saadors are the ones that are worn in Bihu dance.
Eri Mekhela Saador: Eri Silk ranks at the top for its attributes like super-smooth texture, isothermal properties, comfortable. This silk is known to be the world's most sustainable silk.
Pat Mekhela Sador: These Mekhela Chadors are the ones made from Pat Silk and usually have a natural white tint with a glossy texture. It is inspired by nature with their traditional motifs like flowers, animal motifs, ornamental motifs etc.
With the advent of Rongali Bihu, here are some ideas and inspirations that you can wear this season:
The classy white and golden look:
At the latest Lakme Fashion week, Bollywood star Lara Dutta Bhupathi scorched the ramp as Showstopper for Assamese Designer Sanjukta Dutta who is well known for reviving the silk of Assam. Take a look where the designer showcased her 'Shukoola' collection.
Bright Coloured Mekhela Chador(Other than red) for 'Rongali' Season:
You may want to take inspiration from Assamese actress Barsa Rani Bishaya where she aced this look with her bright and yellow-coloured Mekhela Chador.
Muga Mekhela :
Accessorise your Muga Mekhela Saador with Junbiri(Half Moon/crescent-shaped pendant), and with an exotic and unique 'Gamkharu'. Muga Mekhela Saadors are easily available in Assam. If you wish to invest some money for this Rongali season, you can buy muga mekhela starting from Kesa pat to Pat Muga.
Pastel- coloured Mekhela Chador:
Subtle, breezy and cupcake inspired pastel colours are the new obsession. You can choose to wear pastel-coloured Mekhela Chador if you opt-out of bright colours for this Rongali Bihu.