Sualkuchi- The Textile City of Assam
Sualkuchi is a beautiful village located on the north bank of the river Brahmaputra. It is a place remarkable for its handloom industries and is called the ‘Silk Centre’ of Assam. The natural environment of Sualkuchi with a serene atmosphere is worth mentioning. The historical handloom industries are still continued by the people of Sualkuchi. During the independence revolt, even Mahatma Gandhi paid a visit to Sualkuchi. He once said,
‘Assamese women weave dreams on their looms’
Thus, we can easily understand the beauty of the clothes weaved in Sualkuchi and its historical significance.
Sualkuchi is also popularly known as the ‘Manchester of East’ for its huge number of handloom industries. Almost more than half of the population in Sualkuchi is engaged in carrying on their historical family business of handloom industries and the remaining population are either engaged in agriculture or other activities. Sualkuchi is also rich in agriculture with its fertile land. Green fields stretch to many distance on both sides of the road. But Sualkuchi’s remarkable achievement is in the production of silk or Assam Silk. And that is the main reason for what Sualkuchi is famous for.
Assam silk is well-known all over the world for its beauty and eye-catching colour. It is of three types-Muga silk, Paat silk and Eri silk. Particularly, Muga silk or golden silk is found and produced only in Assam. Paat silk is usually light in colour and is one of the treasured possessions of Assam. Then comes Eri silk or known as Endi silk which is used for making winter garments. The people of Sualkuchi are engaged completely in the production of silk or sericulture. The traces of the history of Assam silk can be even found in Kautilya’s Arthasastra.
The silk production and the art of weaving in Sualkuchi have a huge historical significance. Assam is well-known all over the world because of its silk production. It’s main attraction is muga silk, known for its crisp and golden colour. Due to its golden colour it is also called golden silk. Geographical indication (GI) is a name or sign used on certain products which corresponds to a specific geographical location or origin. The muga silk produced in Sualkuchi has been given the Geographical Indication (GI) status since 2007.
Sericulture or the rearing of silk and the legacy of the taat xaal is still prevailing in Sualkuchi. Along with the use of modern machinery systems the taat xaal is still used there for silk production and making beautiful mekhela sador out of it. The muga mekhela sador is one of the most beautiful among them. Muga mekhela sador is one of the significant dresses of Assam. One can sense the sound of the taat xaal, the beauty of green fields in Sualkuchi. Sualkuchi attributes a handsome amount in the Assam Economy due its historical silk production and tourist attractions.