From an ex­hi­bi­tion that’s trac­ing its history to Bol­ly­wood’s tryst with the colour­ful thread­work, here’s why the world is fo­cussing on phulkari

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Lifestyle - Snigdha Ahuja

The art of sto­ry­telling has many forms, and this em­broi­dery that finds its roots in Pun­jab, has a big role to play, not only in history, but also in clas­sic and con­tem­po­rary fash­ion. As we celebrate the har­vest fes­ti­val of Baisakhi to­day, here’s a quick les­son in phulkari.


The art of this thread­work goes back to cen­turies mark­ing mile­stones in a woman’s life. Tra­di­tion­ally, the em­broi­dery was done with silken thread on hand spun fab­ric by women of the vil­lage to com­mem­o­rate birth, weddings and was worn at aus­pi­cious oc­ca­sions. While phulkari, as the name sug­gests, con­notes the flower mo­tif, bagh (gar­den) is a vari­ant that in­cludes mo­tifs of birds, plants, in­tri­cate geo­met­ric shapes, tak­ing over the en­tire length of the fab­ric. Apart from these, there are many styles of phulkari and bagh em­broi­dery, based on the type of stitch done and what it aims to de­pict. These in­clude chope (em­broi­dery done on the bor­ders), reshmi shisha (em­broi­dery that in­cludes mirror work), sainchi (em­broi­dery that in­cludes fig­urines and scenes), thirma (em­broi­dery done on a white base) and dar­shan dwar (em­broi­dery de­pict­ing gates of a tem­ple).


The word phulkari was born in the lit­er­ary do­main, when Sufi poet, Waris Shah nar­rated the tragic love story of Heer and Ran­jha in the 18th cen­tury. Fast for­ward to

the present day and Bol­ly­wood has also shown love for the tex­tile by re­viv­ing it on the big screen. From Ka­reena Kapoor Khan in Jab We Met (2007) to Anushka Sharma in Phillauri (2017),

the em­broi­dery has helped rep­re­sent Pun­jab. It was also re­ported that Anushka sourced phulkari odh­nis from lo­cal mar­kets and weavers in Pun­jab.

(Left) Ka­reena Kapoor Khan’s phulkari suit in Jab We Met; Anushka Sharma sourced phulkari from lo­cal weavers in Pun­jab (right)

Us­ing the phulkari tech­nique, here’s a San­grur Bell in mak­ing

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