Mysore Silk Sarees Features, History and Popularity

Present Trends of Mysore Silk Sarees

R.S. Balakumar
Associate Professor
Dept of Fashion Design and Arts
Hindustan University, Chennai, India


Mysore is the place located in the Karnataka state of south India. This place is famous for pure Mysore silk manufacturing sector in and around the state of Karnataka. This Mysore silk is so softer and cost effectiveness is considerably higher due to its quality, and purity and durability. This Silk is very expensive because of its limited availability and cost of production leads to higher. As stated it takes more than 5,000 silkworms to produce just one kilogram of silk. The farming, killing, and harvesting of thousands of silkworm cocoons are resource-heavy, labor-intensive, and more costly processes are being involved.

beautiful mysore silk saree
Fig: Beautiful Mysore silk saree

Salient Features of the Mysore Silk Sarees:

  1. Mysore silk is one of the most popular,
  2. Finest and purest forms of silk.
  3. Known for its extraordinary quality and permanence of luster,
  4. People always wear some kind of silk as ritual.
  5. Mysore silk draws its fame from the purity of the silk,
  6. Its luster, softness and richness,
  7. Natural color which gave it superiority over all other silks.

The weight and the content of gold or silver thread used mainly in the sophisticated border and the pallu or the headpiece defines the price of the saris. A sari usually weighs between 400 and 600 grams (15-21 ounces). The silk is dyed using natural pigments and woven into intricate but, subtle patterns featuring motifs of birds or fruits, leaves etc. The painstaking production process by the weavers ensures that every aspect of the saree is perfect.

making of mysore silk saree
Fig: Making of mysore silk saree (Photo: Getty images)

Utility Purposes:
Mysore silk sarees with its amazing sheen of the fabric, purity of the zari, the distinctive drape, a wonderful non-crush quality, and a butter-soft feel gives an elegant look to any women wears it. So, women preferred to wear the Mysore silk sarees due to

  • Washable,
  • Aesthetic appearance and
  • Durability.

Rarely, zari too faded due to the yarn used has the maximum gold and silver compared to any silk sari in the country.

A Brief on KSIC:
The silk weaving factory in Mysore, presently owned by KSIC, was started in the year 1912 by the Maharaja of Mysore region. Originally the silk fabrics were manufactured and supplied to meet the requirements of the royal family and ornamental fabrics to their armed forces. The name Mysore silk is an appropriate tribute to its heritage.

KSIC the proud successor of this royal legacy, has precious it for over seven decades, has been producing 100% pure silk with pure gold zari. The business of manufacturing quality silk products of varied designs for end user consumption. The Mysore silk products are manufactured in the KSIC factory located in Mysore district of Karnataka State.

Workmanship of Mysore Silk:
Mysore Silk Sarees, whole body and border are woven together and then coloring is done separately. In the pure silk sarees, the zari is made of silver dipped in gold. Special features involved in Mysore silk sarees are as follows:

  1. The enchanting sheen,
  2. Amazing drape,
  3. Enamoring feel and
  4. The attraction to glowing

Glorious are the most distinct characteristics of Mysore silk sarees that long lasting for several years.

Some Varieties of Mysore Silk:
100% pure silk saris in Crepe-de-Chine, Georgette with or without Gold Lace in Borders, Body, Pallu (Cross Border), with or without prints, and plain and printed dress materials.

26/28 Denier untwisted Raw Silk Yarn in warp, 26/28 Denier 2 ply twisted yarn in weft, with or without gold lace in borders, body, pallu (cross borders)

26/28 Denier 2 ply twisted yam both in warp and weft, with or without lace in borders, body, cross borders and the persistence thereof.

Today it is estimated that nearly 35,000 meters of pure silk fabric is produced per month and turned into beautiful saris, dress materials and dhotis. This makes the annual production approximately 4,25,000 meters.  Mysore silk saris are also now manufactured in keeping with some of the style demands of buyers and also produced against the pre order based quantity.

Mysore Silk factory located in the heart of Mysore is spread across acres of land and is mainly responsible for silk weaving and distribution of silk products. The main source of silk for this factory is from the Ramanagara district in Karnataka which is also the largest market for silk cocoons in Asia.

Karnataka produces 9,000 metric tons of mulberry silk of a total of 20,000 metric tons of mulberry silk produced in the country, thus contributing to nearly 45% of the country’s total mulberry silk. In Karnataka, silk is mainly produced in the Mysore district. It is a patent registered product under KSIC. KSIC is an owner of the Mysore Silk brand.

Like other silk saris, kasuti ones will also weigh only 450 grams. Mysore silk sari expensive is its zari, which has 65% pure silver, 0.65% gold and silk. To make them affordable and attractive, customer chosen embroidery can also be made by the KSIC.

Types of Silk Used in Mysore Silk Sarees:
India has the unique distinction of being the only country producing all the five kinds of silk namely,

  1. Mulberry,
  2. Eri,
  3. Muga,
  4. Tropical Taser and
  5. Temperate Taser.

Among them, mulberry silk is the most popular variety, which contributes around 79% of the country’s silk production.

Factors which favor the silk industry in Karnataka are:

  1. It has enough fresh water from alkaline salts for the processing of silk fiber.
  2. Favorable temperature i.e. between 16°C to 30°C is suitable for silk worms.
  3. Karnataka state women showing their interest to buy and wearing this sophisticated saris for festival collections, wedding celebrations.
  4. Teen aged women preferred to stitch the Mysore silk sari material as their salwar kameez, cuuridar and short kurtis, Dhoti salwar and Patiala salwar and as well as Anarkali dress set.
  5. Even middle aged to old aged men are showing their interest to wear the sleeping suit, kalida rkurta and survar as the mens wear collections.

The best-known silk is obtained from the cocoons of the larvae of the mulberry silkworm Bombyxmori reared in captivity (sericulture). Since the sari zari contains 65% pure silver and 0.65% of gold, it is also one of the most expensive silk sarees in India. In December 1999, Parliament passed the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act 1999. This Act seeks to provide for the registration and protection of Geographical Indications relating to goods in India. This Act is administered by the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks, who is the Registrar of Geographical Indications. The Geographical Indications Registry is located at Chennai.

The Registrar of Geographical Indication is divided into two parts:

  • Part ‘A’ consists of particulars relating to registered Geographical indications and
  • Part ‘B’ consists of particulars of the registered authorized users.

The registration process is similar to both for registration of geographical indication.

The most distinct feature of the Mysore silk saree is the use of genuine silk and pure gold zari which gives it a natural sheen and rich texture. Since the sarees are entirely manufactured and produced, each piece has a distinct mark, that given to be sure of the truthfulness and long-lasting fabric.

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  4. Overview of Traditional Silk Sarees of India
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