Assam, the gateway to the north-eastern part of India, has handloom weaving as its largest and oldest industry.
The traditional costume for Assamese women is known as the Mekhla Chadar; Mekhla is the skirt and Chadar the upper wrap. Assamese women, irrespective of their differences in tribes and clan, wear variations of this dress. Along with the Chadar an upper-wrap called Riha is used by the Bodo tribal women. Muga Silk, the high quality textile of Assam, serves as the material base.
The men of Assam dress themselves in Dhoti (a loin cloth) and Chadar, made from Endi (a material made from a blend of silk and cotton). Each ethnic group of the state such as Bodo and Mech (silk weavers by profession) has its own distinctive design and style.
Muga silk has a natural golden colour and rare sheen that becomes brighter with every wash. Muga silk saree of Assam is famous and is the costume for their traditional dance called Bihu. Assamese weavers produce beautiful designs on the borders of traditional garments such as the Mekhla Chadar and Riha and on the Gamosa (towel).
This video clip has been shot at Octave 2008, a cultural extravaganza held at Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, which showcased the rich cultural heritage of the eight north-eastern states.