The Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana share a rich history and tradition of handloom weaving of Silk and cotton sarees. Prominent among them are Narayanpet, Gadwal, Uppada, Pochampally, Kalamkari, Venkatagiri and Dharmavaram. Most of them are named after the place of their origin. Each of these weaving styles is distinct producing a unique variety of fabric, known for their fine cotton and elaborate pallu’s and beautiful borders with ornate gold/zari thread work.
Last week team rareitis travelled to Pocham Pally, a village in the Nalgonda district, 60 kms from Hyderabad. The drive from the NH 9 to Pochampally village is 12 kms with not much of any habitat on either sides. A temple of Lord Ayyapa bestows you with his blessings before you enter the main village area. The look and feel of Pochampally is like any other weaver villages in India. One can find weaving or activities related to weaving in every house. The Pochampalli textiles are made using the tie and dye technique of yarn. They are popular for their traditional geometric patterns in Ikat style of dyeing. The intricate geometric designs find their way into the hands of skilled weavers and make it to the market as beautiful sarees and dress material. Dress materials and home-furnishings are also made in these designs. Pochampalli sarees and dress materials are available in both cotton and silk. The Pochampally sarees also has the rare distinction from the Indian government, whose’s official air carrier, Air India air hostesses wear specially designed pochampally silk sarees.
www.rareitis.com, a concept with its uniqueness was welcomed by one and all we met there. Our friend Shankar who drew us to the village was our man Friday on this trip. He took us to his friends and relatives involved in the weaving and sale of Pochampally sarees. They showed us around in many houses where weaving, dyeing and threading were done. Then we went to the Rural Tourism Complex Bhoodan Pochampally, a museum on Pochampally weaving and art under the Department of Tourism. Shankar’s friends Aravind, Pardhu and Sudhakar also joined us to this place. Later we had a sumptuous meal at Pardhu’s house followed by a visit to another of their friend Natraj. All these young boys of Pochampally are involved in the business of these exquisite sarees and they use their knowledge of the modern information technology and internet to their advantage.
We then visited the Pochampally Handloom Weavers Co-op Society Limited, which was formed in 1955 and has been working closely with the weavers for their welfare and upliftment ever since. We met the current President of the society Mr. Bharata Vasudev and his team who are supporting him in this good cause.
Like all other handloom art, Pochampally is also facing a fear of extinction. There are only a few like Shankar’s friends who are involved in this art form. Others are flocking out for better earning and living as the proceeds they get for their skill and effort doesn’t help them to meet their needs. Lot is being done by the State and Union government, as is evident from the museum, society, tax exemptions etc. Still what is startling is the grip the middlemen have on this business and on the weavers of Pochampally. Now the onus is on us to do our bit to help these deserving weavers before it’s too late – Buying from genuine sellers who can get you these beautiful artwork directly from the Weavers.
To know more about Pochampally Sarees, please click here.