Thirubuvanam Silk Sarees

There are many saree styles produced across India, ranging from pure silk to pure cotton with many blends in between. The styles and quality vary greatly, with some being hand-woven and some machine made. Some of the hand-woven sarees have been awarded a Geographical Indication Tag (GI tag) meaning that the government of India has recognised that the sarees are unique to the region where they are produced.


This is the case with the Thirubuvanam Silk Sarees, hand crafter in Tanjore district, Tamil Nadu, South India. My friend Anantha, a fifth-generation saree weaver and his team are some of the few remaining weavers of Thirubuvanam silk sarees, wholeheartedly dedicating their lives to their craft. The inspiration for them to continue the tradition of their forefathers comes from a profound inner belief that each piece is a work of art and created with love.

The stories woven into every saree are rooted in the basic needs of mankind, very similar to mud pots which have been used for thousands of years. According to Anantha, two basic human needs are food and clothing. As the potter creates the mud pots with attention to detail, Anantha creates the clothing, using the finest natural raw materials. Anantha told me that there are 26 people involved in the production of each saree, ranging from care of the silkworms to spinning the silk to weaving. His job is the last one before the saree reaches the final owner.


The sarees are woven with pure silk and zari thread. Zari threads are made of flattened metal (often gold and silver threads) that are wrapped around the base threads. This results in a high degree of lustre in the saree, contributing to it being a work of art.

 Another distinct feature of this saree is in its fan folding, known as “Visirimadippu” in Tamil. It takes two people to fold each saree, using wooden rods to help pull it tightly as it is folded first like a fan, then folded over and tied to help it stay in place.

Thirubhuvanam silk sarees are one of the most exotic forms of silk sarees available in India. One of the things that set this type of saree apart from other silk sarees is the fact that they are made by using filature silk for both the warp and the weft which ends up creating extremely high-quality silk which has a lot of lustre. As a result, this is one of the most coveted forms of silk sarees from the southern states in India.


An interesting aspect to note about these sarees is that they weigh anywhere between 450 grams to 1250 grams, depending on the kind of work that is done on the garment. Due to this, it is a richly made saree, making it mostly suitable for formal occasions as well as certain semi-formal occasions. Most often, these garments are worn for weddings, ceremonies, and festivals as they are the most appropriate for these events. They can be worn by women from different age groups and are extremely opulent and well-created garments in the world of Indian ethnic fashion.

I would love to help you learn more about Thirubuvanam silk sarees. Please do send me a message with any questions that you may have or if you would like help organising your travel to India. We would love to have you join one of our guided tours.