Bomkai silk is a handloom sari from Bomkai in the Ganjam district of Odisha, India. These saris are woven on a pit loom and are also known as the Sonepuri. The weave is handcrafted with the confluence of two popular components of textiles in Odisha, ikat and embroidery, which are interwoven with each other.
The Bomkai borders are often in contrasting colors, and the pallus (edges of the sari) are marked by intricate threadwork.
The motifs on these saris are inspired by nature and tribal art, which lends a fascinating look. Ancient beliefs are often depicted through the motifs on the border. The fish motif in the sari is considered a sign of success and affluence.
Bomkai saris exhibit the skilled work of artisans of Odisha and are adorned with beautiful hand-woven motifs like lotus, fish, conch shell and tortoise. Although most of the coastal areas of southern Odisha are involved in the weaving of Bomkai saris, the most exquisite designs are found in Sonepur region. Hence, Bomkai got popularly known as Sonepuri saris.
Bomkai is also known as Bandha Bomkai and has been a part of the Orissan culture since 600 B.C. Since it is an outcome of ikat and embroidery, Bomkai is a magnificent innovation, well-known worldwide. Traditionally, it was worn as auspicious attire by the Brahmins of the south. Today, Bomkai is counted among one of the most cherished pieces of attire in the state of Odisha in India.