Gopalpur Tussar has flourished since 16th century AD in quaint village of Gopalpur in Jajpur district when Sri Chaitanya (propagator of Bhakti Movement) with devotees (some were weavers) visited Odisha. Good quality katia yarns for this are procured from Mankidia of Balasore & also from Nuapatna district.
Home prepared yarn is used in this wherein the Tussar silk cocoons are separated by specialized female artisans by using their own thighs for reeling, which comes out of really good quality. Some others like ghicha tussar yarn are produced from the wastes, which are coarse quality. Weaving done in a fly shuttle frame loom having auto take up motion and dobby attachment. The use of Brahmani river water for degumming imparts lustre and shine to tussar silk produced in this cluster, and give special 'Geographical Indication' status to it. The cluster produces many products: Saree, Stole, dress materials, bedsheet, mats, cushion cover etc.
We bring forward the ethos of 'Vocal for Local' through our series of "Utkala Bastra" (ଉତ୍କଳ ବସ୍ତ୍ର) Gopalpur Tussar Silk Sarees! "Utkala" like many of you know, is the old name of Odisha. "Bastra" means piece of clothing. Hence Utkalabastra means a piece of clothing from Odisha - yes...entire raw materials & making is from Odisha!! So normally when you go for any Gopalpur Tussar Silk Sarees, then the warp is made from Korea or China Tussar silk & weft is made from desi Tussar of Odisha. This is because, apart from cheap import price of Korea tussar, the processing of this tussar has been fine & good and it is easy for the Gopalpur Tussar weavers to weave the sarees & fabrics. The final product also stays finer. However, when on both sides (warp, weft) desi Odisha tussar is used, then it becomes very difficult for the weavers to weave. The women of Nuapatna & Gopalpur process the desi tussar by reeling on their thighs- a very cumbersome, time-taking & difficult process, which raises the cost of the processed desi tussar. Earlier, when imports were not there, most of the tussar silks of Odisha were UtkalaBastra only! People adapted those with full fervour. But when imports started, the UtkalaBastra started dying a slow death. Neither consumers wanted to pay higher price, nor producers wanted to get into hassle of production.
Still our weavers made, but very few of these UtkalaBastra. So now with the fresh call of Aatmanirbhar Bharat, these gorgeous sarees need to be encouraged widely! Go for this ink blue red Gopalpur Tussar, with phoda kumbha temples and beautiful straight lines work in the anchal!