Assam is one of the seven sisters of the North East India. The Muga of Assam to the world is the golden silk fiber for which Assam is famous. One can see the silk begin its journey from the cocoon stage, to its unraveling and then to the loom to finally emerge as an assam saris which is known as Mekhela Chadar. Ladies of all ages wear them on festive and auspicious occasions.
Muga silk is sumptuous royal, heavenly; it is exotic, erotic and sensual. But most of all, it is simply sheer beauty with ample strength and durability. Besides this, muga is washable at home and is free from the dry-cleaning hassles, unlike other silk fabrics. The muga silk filament due to less porosity cannot be bleached and hence cannot be dyed. All that glitters is not gold but all that is golden and shimmering is muga silk. The qualities of muga are unrivalled by any other fiber or fabric, and any comparison to muga is flattering to the compared.
Handloom weaving is Assam’s largest and oldest industry. Weaving has been a way of life in Assam since time immemorial. Tradition has it that the skill to weave was the primary qualification of a young girl for her eligibility for marriage. A soldier was sent off for battle with a dress material made overnight. And one that was considered as important as his weapon. This perhaps explains why Assam has largest concentration of handlooms and weavers in the country. Handloom of Assam is not confined to a particular group of people or to a particular region. Assam was one of the first places where the practice of rearing silkworms and using heir thread came into vogue. The practice is one that has survived the downfall of the Assam Raj and the alterations in the economic conditions of the people that is entailed, and in spite of the attraction of imported silk and cotton.
Muga silk ‘Mekhela Chadar’ is still the local dress of Assamese Weaving has been in Assam an age old affair descending down from generation to generation through the pathway of centuries old history. Assamese literature and scriptures bear ample testimony to this.
Assam is famous for modernity appealing sarees and its end, Muga and Pat silks exemplary saree collection. Intricately weaved Muga and Pat sarees and Mekhela Chadars (local costume) are available at most garment shops.