The Lepakshi cotton and silk mela has a few surprises
The warm hues of deep maroons and dark chocolate co-exist with olive greens, ochre and peacock blues in two adjacent stalls put up by garment manufacturers from Bengal. While Soma Dey shows an elegant collection of cotton tunics and sarees with block print and geecha silks, some of them combined with net and lace pallus (Rs. 3000 to 7000), a salesman in the adjacent stall shows off tussar silks with Kolkata block print borders and pauses to pull up a surprise — tunics with vegetable dyed kalamkari patchwork. “We have to stock something to get the local flavour. During our last visit, we bought kalamkari cottons and got these tunics designed in Bengal,” he says.
His sentiment is shared by a saleswoman at a Rajasthani stall. She takes pride in her stock of vegetable dyed and block print cotton tunics, salwar kameezes, patialas and leggings, but she also has kalamkari patchwork tunics and tops on Mangalagiri cottons (most of the range priced between Rs. 250 and 600). She states it helps to add a local touch to connect with the buyers here and boost sales but adds, “I took Mangalarigiri cottons and kalamkari from here and got them stitched in Rajasthan. Yahan ka log stitching achche nahi karte.”
For more local flavour, there are stalls specialising in weaves from Gadwal, ikat cotton saris from Siddipet (the fine cottons with contrasting colours are priced at Rs. 1000 to 1500), Pochampally cotton sets in the range of Rs. 650 to 800, Mangalagiri sets in unusual colours with self-weaving textures and zari borders (Rs. 700 to 900) and a stall from Musapet stocks kalamkari saris and garments on crepes.
The emphasis is clearly on cottons to help beat the summer heat. A few Bhagalpur silk-cotton stalls are punctuated by a stall that sells a stand out range of Bhagalpur fine cotton saris in whites.
The number of stalls may be limited but shoppers won't be disappointed by the sheer range and quality.
The accessories department is taken care of by stalls selling trinkets in beads, pearls, wooden bangles, bags from Shantiniketan, jhumkas in white metal with Meena work and Kohlapuri footwear.
The Lepakshi cotton and silk mela is on at Kalinga Cultural Trust, road no. 12 , Banjara Hills, till April 17.