Silk is a natural animal protein fiber, which spells the class of excellence in the fiber domain. Raw silk is broadly classified into two types: plant silk and animal silk, based on its origin. The plant silk is obtained from the plant family Bombacaceae, while the silk from the animal is from mulberry and non-mulberry sources. Mulberry silk is derived from domesticated moths and Non-mulberry from a wild type. With its commendable aesthetic appeal, this fiber is believed to be originated in the 4th Millenium BCE when sericulture started in china. For more than 2000 years, the Chinese kept this silk extraction method a secret, playing a monopoly in the market and becoming the most zealously guarded secret in history. Then at around 300 CE, it spread gradually through the Chinese culture to the countries of Asia. Japan and Rome were the first to untie the secret, and soon they could obtain silkworm eggs. Simultaneously Arabs also began to process silk, and as a result of some religious crusades happened then, this slowly paved its way into Italy and other parts of Western Europe. Later during the medieval age, the business saw an upended change with the spinning wheel's invention. As a result, silk rapidly became a popular luxury fabric globally for its texture and sheen.
Silk Road, an ancient network of trade routes, played an important role in global trade and the introduction of silk. The Silk Road connects China with the West. Followed through the Great Wall of China to ending with the Mediterranean Sea, this route allows all the trading merchandise to be shipped to various countries. Asia is the main producer of silk, with 95% of the total global output. Even though there are 40 different countries on the world map of silk, China and India are the major producers to date. India contributes to around 18% of the total raw silk production while being the largest consumer too. About 97% of India's mulberry silk produce comes from the Indian states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, and Jammu and Kashmir. According to archaeological records, India is found to be the pioneer of silk production, with its traces dating back to our Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro civilizations. The Indus Civilization is believed of mastering the art in 2000 BC, while silk production in China commenced in 2570 BC. It is said that people of the Civilization either harvested silkworm cocoons or traded with people who did.
The Varanasi brocades, the luxurious fabrics of Karnataka, the dye craft of Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa, the Kashmiri weightless silk, the sheen crepes of Bandhej, the golden Assamese Muga and the temple silk of Kanchipuram are the few varieties of silk products woven exclusively in India, whose fame has went cross borders. In Karnataka, Chintamani is the one unique town with the largest silk market and centuries of expertise in sericulture. Here as silk production is the main occupation, people are well-versed in the harvesting of cocoons and silk saree weaving. The climate of the place exquisitely supports the growth of mulberry plants, thus harvesting silk.