Origin and Evolution of the Handloom Industry of Fulia and Its Present Scenario, Nadia District, West Bengal, India:

Santipur city in Nadia district of West Bengal is located approximately 90 kilometres from Kolkata. The city and its neighbouring towns have for long been renowned for their soft and fine handloom saris.

The demand for handloom fabric in India as well as in other countries remains significant. But because of competition from powerlooms and falling incomes, among other factors, skilled weavers across the country have been struggling to survive for years. Many in Santipur too have abandoned their looms and migrated in search of other livelihoods.

he handloom sarees woven in Nadia district of West Bengal are known as Santipuri sarees. Thousands of handloom clusters in the Santipur-Fulia region make Santipuri tant, tangail, and jamdani handloom sarees in a variety of yarns like cotton, tussar and silk.



In west Bengal, there are many types of cottage industries and they are the important source of Bengal’s economy. In this field, handloom industry plays an important role. In Bengal, there are many districts like Murshidabad, Nadia, Bankura, Burdwan, Hooghly etc. which are famous for handloom industries. Among these districts, Nadia is famous for some special types of handloom sharis like Tangail, Jamdani, Dhakai-Buti, Santipuri etc. which acquire their own identity all over India and abroad as well. Handloom plays a pivotal role in the socio-economic status of this district. The traditional production on Jamdani of Nabadwip, Santipuri of Santipur and Tangail varieties of Fulia zone has been popular and these three are the main centers of handloom industry of Nadia. Once upon a time, Santipur was an important and famous center of handloom sharis and the history of the handloom industry of Santipur is very ancient. Probably from the beginning of the Sultani Dynasty, there were handlooms though they were not famous as ‘Santipuri’. In the reign of Lakshmana Sen, a few skilled weavers’ family came to Santipur from Dhamrai of Dhaka. They mainly weaved the famous ‘Muslin’ which after that converted into designed shari and known as ‘Santipuri Shari’. During the Mughal Empire, these sharis got recognition and production increased to such an extent that the sharis were expoted to Afghanistan, Iran, Arabia, Greece and Turkey. During the rule of the East India Company, this handloom industry had been expanded and in independent India, the number of handlooms had been increased due to the migratory weavers from the East Pakistan. Though the number of handlooms and production had been increased, the quality and also the demand was fallen because of lack of choice, poor colour quality, usage of low quality cotton etc. In this circumstance, a new weaver settlement was developed at Fulia, birth place of Kabi Krittibas Ojha, beside Santipur. Fulia became renowned all over the India as well as in the world for its ‘Tangail Shari’. In this paper, we have tried to throw light, how the Tangail Shariand Fulia are synonymous and what is the present scenario of the handloom industry.



There are records of handloom saree weaving activity in Shantipur, a centre of Vaishnavite culture and Bhakti movement, as early as the 15th century. Weaving flourished throughout the medieval era, and the famed indigo-dyed Neelambari made the Shantipur saree a household name.

There was a strong sense of identity among Shantipur weavers. They united to agitate against the stranglehold of the Dadni system of the British East India Company and even took their grievances to colonial courts during the19th century.

In the decades leading up to independence, Shantipur saw gradual inflow of techniques like the Barrel Dobby facilitating the conversion from Throw Shuttle to Fly Shuttle (1920s), the Jacquard Machine (1930s), and sectional warping and sizing that allowed production of warp yarns 350 yards long (1930s).

Materials and Methods

To prepare the paper, different types of journal, papers and newspaper cutting have been collected from different sources and literature study has been done. In field work, by using sampling technique, primary data were collected from 200 families related with handloom industry. Secondary data also collected from three main co-operatives of Fulia. The collected information has been studied through different analytical and interpretative methods. Data collected from secondary sources have been processed, studied, explained and presented for the perspectives of development.

About Fulia

Fulia is well known for its handloom sharis but geographically it consists of Sukpukuria-58, Belgoria-57, Fulia Township and Buincha-70 mouzas of Santipur block of Nadia district. Though there is a mouza named ‘Phulia’ which is the birth place of Krittibas. In memory of Krittibas, the rail station has been named ‘Fulia’ (Phulia) instead of ‘Buincha’. So all these mouzas are known as ‘Fulia’ based on its communication i.e. Fulia (Phulia) Rail station. But at present, according to census 2011, Sukpukuria-58, Belgoria-57, Fulia Township and Buincha-70 mouzas are joined together and named ‘Phulia’ as a Census Town. This area is located in the south-eastern part of the Santipur block.



After partition of India, many skilled weavers of Dhaka came and settled in West Bengal around Shantipur in Nadia district and Ambika Kalna of Bardhaman district, both traditionally renowned centres for hand-woven fabrics. With government encouragement and support, the talented weavers soon revived their ancestral occupation and the art of exquisite weaving once again flourished. Today, finely woven feather-touch textiles and saris in exotic designs and colours are being produced in the vast weaving belt of Shantipur, Phulia, Samudragarh, Dhatrigram and Ambika Kalna—each centre producing superb fabrics in its own unique weaving style. Dhatrigram produces jacquards and jamdanis while Kalna is famous for tangails and gorgeous jamdanis. Phulia and Samudragarh specialize in a combination of jacquard and jamdani work which are based on Tangail Saree Culture of Bangladesh while Santipur is known for superfine dhotis and jacquards. The produce is marketed through some whole sellers & co-operatives and various undertakings. But nowadays, the main problem in making the handicraft is the rising price of raw materials and inadequate supply skilled labour (mainly from Cooch Behar district of West Bengal & Assam region). So, the economy based on Tant Saree is a diminishing economy & the next generation is not so much interested in this crafts. The weavers need some economic & administrative supports from the Government.

Soaked in handloom tradition, deeprooted weaves

A small town called Shantipur, also called by Santipur, Nadia district in the Indian state of West Bengal. Santipur is famous for handloom sarees from ancient times, this place and surrounding region has been famous for handloom sarees.

Shantipur sarees are also called by name Santipore saree. This place is famous for handloom sarees from ancient times and elegant designs inspired from nature and especially known for its superfine dhoti and handloom saree with jacquard design. In this place, they generally use 'fly shuttle' frame looms filted with jacquard invariably used in Shantipur. Graceful looking sarees have been granted and awarded GI tag(Santipore Saree). To weave double-sided design they use Do-Rookha technique, the front and the reverse side of the saree looks extractly the same. After the partition of India, many weavers came from Dhaka of Bangladesh and started to reside here in Phulia region, which is a Panchayat area of Santipur. Bengali language prevalently spoken by the people of the state of West Bengal.

These magnificent sarees are available in two mediums such as

  • Shantipur/Santipore Cotton sarees
  • Shantipuri Silk sarees
  • The main body of the saree has fine stripes and delicate checks or a texture created by coloured threads or a combination of fine and thicker yarns. Many a times one can notice, tie and dye designs are also being used for the pallu(anchalas) and also jamdani designs butis. Striking borders could be either dyed cotton-silk or art-silk, viscose yarns, gold zari and silver zari. The motifs used are phool known as flower, tara known as star, hathi known as elephant, rajmahal known as royal palace.

    Some typical names of sarees based on the designs

  • Taskhupi
  • Sarbasundari
  • Chakaram
  • Various types of Shantipur sarees



    2.Taj Kalka




    4.Nilambari sarees








    8.Ganga Jamuna


















    Fabric care for Shantipur/Santipore cotton sarees

    Please check out for specific care instructions on the garment tag, once you purchase and follow the instructions carefully, it addition to it, here are certain guidelines

  • Soak the cotton saree for about 10-15 minutes with small amount of rock salt with warm water for first few washes and than can be washed with machine wash or manually, but if there are embellishments on the saree, than better to give for dry cleaning.
  • Use only mild detergent to wash a cotton sarees
  • If necessary one can starch the saree as well based on personal preferences
  • For ironing, keep the iron in medium or low heat
  • : Fulia Tangail :

    These are made by using premium quality material and advance technology. Our sarees are available in various sizes, colors and designs. Tangail Saree contains tiny repeating patterns, giving the feel of an embroidery work. Its borders are adorned with designs depicting temples and the patterns seen on the ‘rudraksha’ (a bead used for religious purposes). This saree basically comes in two varieties; one is a made from cotton while the other from silk. The cotton saree is light colored and is worn mostly in summer. The silk saree features dark shades and is mostly preferred during special occasions.

    The Tangail saree is known for its durability. It comes in embroidery motifs and flower designs. Its border has designs depicting temples and patterns seen on the rudraksha.

    It may or may not have a zari border and mostly comes in light colours.

    Weavers of Tangail, near Dhaka in modern Bangladesh, were famous for the incomparable Dhakai Jamdani saree. After Partition, the majority of these weavers immigrated to West Bengal, a large number settling down at Fulia with government patronage.Fulia weavers added a new jest to the handloom weaving scenario in Shantipur region. They developed their own version of the Dhakai, called ‘Tangail Jamdani,’ and a combination of Shantipur and Tangail styles called the ‘Fulia Tangail’.

    The Tangail Jamdani is similar to the Dhakai Jamdani in that it uses interlocking extra weft cotton yarn to produce floral or geometric motifs. However, it has a softer feel and sparser distribution of motifs.

    The Fulia Tangail incorporates vibrant colours and large, intricate designs woven in double jacquard. These sarees are also being woven in mulberry and tassar silk apart from cotton.


    :Jamdani :

    Jamdani, a word came from Persian language, is a combination of the words ‘Jam’ and ‘Dani’ meaning “flower” and “Jar” respectively that means- Jar of Flowers. Basically this is a saree weaving technique. This weave done by hand loom on brocade is a really time consuming process and is a blend of figures and floral motifs. Jamdani also known as muslin cloth has a weave of the typical gray and white, and sometimes a mixture of cotton and gold thread. If you want to know about the History of Jamdani Saree then let’s dig into the history. Jamdani weaving is related to other handloom weaving approach, at which point small shuttles of threads are passed through the weft. It is hand-woven on a bamboo loom with the weaver sitting in a trench dug into the ground.

    Traditional Jamdani, the pride of Bengal handloom, is now woven in Habibpur and Ramchandrapur near Fulia. The true Jamdani saree is woven without using even a jacquard machine. The weaver uses fine needle-like spindles to conjure magic with extra weft work that can rival the most intricate embroidery.

    The details on the infographics of Jamdani Saree step by step

    2 Weeks- Yarn Spinning

    4 Weeks- Yarn Dyeing

    1 Week- Loom Setting

    3 to 7 Days- Weaving

    3 Days- Washing

    3 Days- Finishing


    :Muslin yardage :

    Shantipur and its adjoining areas had a tradition of fine muslin yardage weaving, with 600 s yarns being used. However, at present there is no major muslin weaving activity in Shantipur. The finest muslins are now woven in Kalna, across the Ganga.

    It’s not that the Bengal handloom saree weavers of Shantipur and Fulia have remained confined in a time warp. A number of innovations in techniques and products have taken weaving in the region to the next level.

    Muslin is among the most fascinating and exotic fabrics known. It is woven from the finest variety of cotton that grows in Bengal, giving rise to an almost transparent, ultra-light and glossy fabric, that is renowned for its texture all over the world. muslin sarees are extremely light, sensuous to touch and exotic to behold. Traditional floral weavings using the jamdani technique are used to adorn the sarees.

    The muslin fabric is produced from a superior variety of cotton that was native to a region around Dhaka along the Brahmaputra river. The quality of the soil, level of moisture and other environmental factors also contribute to the development of the legendary muslin cotton plant. The threads produced from this cotton plant are both soft and strong and are woven by hand into the amazingly fine and beautiful muslin fabrics. Special skills evolved over the ages and passed down through the generations are used in the spinning and weaving of the exotic muslin fabric. Muslins are categorized based on the degree of fineness of the fabric: mulmul khas (or king’s muslin) is the finest variety, of which an entire dress or saree can pass through a ring. Abrawan (or running water) is the second best variety of muslin, the one which led Emperor Aurangzeb to chastise his daughter for being immodestly clad even when she was draped in seven layers of muslin! Shabnam (or evening dew), circar ali (or supreme ruler) and tunzeb (or ornament of the body) are the names given to the third, fourth and fifth best varieties of muslin.