Sambalpuri fabric is created by an original style of craft known as Baandha. Traditionally, craftsmen created Baandha with images of flora or fauna or with geometrical patterns. Baandha fabric is created using a tie and dye technique. In earlier times, Sambalpuri saris were dyed using naturally extracted colorants from leaves, fruits, stems, roots, mud and the bark of trees.
Today, Baandha fabric is popularly known for its geographical and cultural name, Sambalpuri, owing to the innovative efforts of Sri Radhashyam Meher. In the year 1926 he brought the first handloom to weave textiles of ninety inches width, which brought about a radical change in the skills of the craftsmen and the quality of the fabric.
Sambalpuri is a major tribute to the traditional handlooms of Odisha. They are made in a unique way and are exquisitely designed, reflecting an ancient handicraft called “Bandhakala”. In Baandha, the yarns are tied according to the desired patterns which prevent the absorption of dyes, and then dyed.
The unique feature of this form of designing is that the designs are reflected as almost identical on both sides of the fabric. Once the fabric is dyed it can never be bleached to another color. This versatile technique enables a craftsman to weave colorful designs, patterns and images that are capable of inspiring a thought or conveying a message. Some of the saris feature border motifs that are inspired by tribal art.