Kantha, a popular style of embroidery that comes from West Bengal, is a significant symbol that displays the skill and talent of the rural women in Bengal. Kantha, which basically means ‘throat’, is associated with Lord Shiva. The story revolves around how Lord Shiva consumed poison while stirring up the ocean, and therefore the significance of this word goes all the way back to the Vedic times. This type of stitch is basically the ‘running’ stitch, and is very simple.Kantha is perhaps the oldest forms of Indian embroidery as it can be traced back to the first and second A.D. The thought behind this needlework was to reuse old clothes and materials and turn them into something new. This is what makes kantha embroidery only one of its kind.
Kantha work is approximately 500 years old, and there is a myth surrounding it which points out that Lord Buddha and his disciples used old rags with different kinds of patch work to cover themselves with at night, and this gave the kantha embroidery its origin. Traditionally women would take 4 to 5 sarees, layer them together and create different running stitches on them which they then used as blankets to cover their children with. However, what started as a way to make life more comfortable went on to become a big trend in clothes and furniture as well.