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Top 5 Shawls for women
1. Pashmina Shawls
Pashmina shawls are one of the finest fibre, hand weaved from the wool of goats, found especially in the Himalayan region. In Persian, ‘Pashm’ refers to ‘wool’ or ‘soft wool’ because Pashminas are the products made from the wool of Himalayan goats.
Kashmir is regarded as the origin place of Pashmina, hence also known as ‘Cashmere’. The Himalayan goats used for Pashmina production are known for a different name across the world. Some of them being Changthangi Goats, Cashmere goats, Chyangras, and many more.
In Nepal, Pashminas are made from the wools of ‘Chyangra goats’. The popularity of Pashmina shawls can be referred back to the 14th century when it was one of the sophisticated products worn by Kings and Queens.
A pure and original Pashmina shawl is always hand-crafted by highly skilled and experienced craftsmen, who know the characteristic of wool inside out.
Pashmina wools are way too delicate to be machine-weaved, plus they lose their quality in doing so. Hence Pashmina Shawls are always hand-knitted, which sometimes takes months to complete.
At least 3 mountain goats are necessary to produce enough wool to make one normal size Shawl, one of the many reasons why Pashmina shawls are rare and expensive. Since the Cashmere goats are mostly found on the plains of Tibet and Ladakh, India, Tibet, and Nepal produce and export the most Pashminas found in the world.
Mostly during spring and summer, the wools are collected. The undercoats of mountain goats produce the softest and warmest wool which are used for producing Pashminas. The procedure of making Pashmina shawls includes:
Collecting the undercoats of Himalayan goats like ‘Chyangras’
Sorting out the raw Cashmere wools
Hand-knitting and Printing
If we look back a few decades ago, only the richest and wealthiest, including Kings and Queens, could only afford Pashminas' Shawls. But now most women are blessed with the opportunity to wear them at a reasonable cost.
2. Kullu shawls
Unlike Pashminas, Kullu shawls are coarser and brighter. You can identify these shawls from their characteristic colorful patterned borders designed on a plain body. Himachal Pradesh of India is famous for Kullu shawls. The technique to weave the Kullu shawls is known as the slit tapestry technique.
First of all the wool is collected from either Merino, the only sheep that has no guard hairs, hence produce soft and delicate wools, or Angora sheep, which has the soft and cold wool
The next process involves dying the wool with a variety of colors as per the requirement
After that, the borders are further designed with multiple colors giving a more artistic look to the shawl
Now the craftsmen add different themes like religion or decorate with nature
Kullu shawls are warm and comfortable that also gives the stylish look to the women. The traditional and cultural representation of these shawls is remarkable and unmatchable.
3. Naga Shawls
The Naga shawls are mostly famous for their predominant red and black colors. Most Naga shawls are also hand-weaved and designed by skillful craftsmen.
These shawls have an attractive geometric shape on a plain wool background with striking weft patterns.
The patterns show the cultural heritage and tradition of the Naga tribes of India.
Naga shawls are also internationally acclaimed shawls which are also cheaper than Pashminas.
Like Pashminas, Naga shawls are also warm and cozy to wear. You can see the head of tigers, elephants, or even humans decorated artistically on the shawls. These shawls are very traditional and perfect for ceremonies like weddings, parties, and cultural programs.
4. Dhabla Shawls
Dhabla shawls are the famous shawls coming from Gujrat, India. Being a semi-desert region, the night is very cold, so, plenty of sheep can be found here.
Originally the Dhabla shawls were famous and worn among the tribal communities of that region, and now, this shawl is recognized worldwide, especially dominating the South Asia region.
Dhabla shawls are also made from Merino sheep which has no guard hairs. Most Dhabla shawls are dominated by black and white colors which look great with artistic design. You can identify Dhabla shawls with their characteristic pyramid colors weaved along the borderline. Plenty of detailed embroidery & mirrorwork certainly adds more artistic value to the shawl.
The traditional value is also widely illustrated in the design as well
5. Rabari Shawls
Another artistic product of Gujrat, India, this Rabari shawl is hand-spun and designed from cotton and silk. Of course like Dhabla shawls, mirror-work and embroidery work are the important characteristics of this Gujarati shawl.
Earlier this shawl was most famous and limited to the Mutwa and Jat community, now the popularity is expanding across the Indian sub-continent. Merino wool is used to make the Rabari Shawls which are soft, comfortable, and easy to wear.
First of all the plain shawl is hand-spun and weaved, then chain stitching is done with a variety of colors to add an artistic look to the plain shawl
The borders are obviously decorated and embroidered with skillful craftsmanship
Later a detailed dye work completes the Rabari shawl
Red and golden metallic threads are the characteristics that best describe this Shawl.