“The weavers derived inspiration for the dotted patterns of ‘sungudi’ from the stars in the sky”

Madurai’s traditional textile ‘sungudi’ has withstood time by adapting to contemporary designs and techniques to suit the market. On Friday, students of Thiagarajar College here had a taste of history as members of Federation of Tie and Dye Hand Printed Textile Cloth threw light on the origin of ‘sungudi’ at a workshop.

Federation secretary A.K. Ramesh said, “When weavers from Gujarat migrated to Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and other States, they were given a warm welcome by the rulers and the people. To weave something extraordinary for the kings, the weavers came up with the idea of ‘sungudi’ pattern.”

“The weavers derived inspiration for the dotted patterns of ‘sungudi’ from the stars in the sky. And they came up with the idea of tie-and-dye method after seeing women knot their hair,” he added. “Sungudi saris, until a few decades ago, were made only using the tie-and-dye method. Owing to shortage of manpower, they are made with printed patterns now,” said federation president P.S. Prabudoss. He said several new patterns had been introduced in the last few years to keep up with the times.

The workshop on ‘Sungudi sari revival and sustainability’ was organised by the Thiagarajar Crafts Foundation. Principal T. Rajasekar underscored the importance of keeping alive the ‘sungudi’ tradition.

P.K. Madhanlal, former secretary of Madurai Sungudi Textile Manufacturers and Traders Association, and federation member P.S. Shyama were the other resource persons.

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