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A handloom expo that's full of variety

G. Narasimha Rao
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The huge tent has 125 stalls selling clothing, garments, dress material and blankets

value for money: College students selecting dress material at a stall in the National Handloom Expo in Visakhapatnam on Thursday. — Photo: C. V. SUBRAHMANYAM
value for money: College students selecting dress material at a stall in the National Handloom Expo in Visakhapatnam on Thursday. — Photo: C. V. SUBRAHMANYAM

Varieties and designs which Vizagites have not seen so far are on display at the National Handloom Expo 2010-11 which is on at the Andhra University Golden Jubilee ground here since December 21.

This is after 1994 that the Union Ministry of Textiles is organising the National Expo in the city and weavers' cooperative societies from more than a dozen States are participating. The huge tent has 125 stalls selling clothing, garments, dress material, blankets, bed sheets, carpets, shawls, towels, dhotis, hand kerchiefs and there is also a stall selling a variety of books.

Some visitors say the exhibition is an excellent opportunity for the locals to buy the latest varieties and quality products that are coming straight from the weaver's loom.

Corporator Peela Suhasini, who is making her fourth visit to the expo told The Hindu on Thursday that it is a good collection of garments. She is particularly impressed with the Uppada sarees. “Their genuineness and quality are assured. They are selling sarees with designs which are just one week old. Many colours and shades are there and they are available only here,” she said. There is also a lot of difference in price compared to the market outside.

A housewife B. Ramadevi said she was seeing a lot of variety for the first time in the city. Prices were reasonable and one would not feel like haggling over prices of cotton clothes and dresses since the weavers were explaining to the customers the spiralling cost of production, Ms. Ramadevi added. Her daughter Ujwala, who lives in the US and on a visit to the city picked up many tops, bottoms and chudidars. These clothes were really good said a senior journalist Sharmila as her daughter who is on a visit to India is busy selecting the varieties with her younger sister.

It is also interesting to see the expensive Uppada zari sarees at the stall put up by Sri Durga Handloom Industrial Cooperative Society from East Godavari. The saree costs around Rs. 30,000 an it takes three weavers nearly 40 days to weave one saree. The labour charges comes around Rs. 12,000 and pure silk and silver zaree are used. There are sarees worth Rs. 1 lakh but they are made on order.

Mehmood Khan came from Srinagar in Kashmir with a big collection of pure wool products. A ladies' stroll at Rs. 350 is the cheapest. He is selling shawls of different varities.

The small size Aari shawl costs Rs. 4,500, it is woven with a needle called Aari. Another shawl for which an ordinary needle is used costs Rs. 2,500 and the Kaini shawl, in preparation of which is sued a wooden stick like needle, is priced Rs. 4,500.

The government department and the weavers expected a good sale at the Expo and are hoping the business to pickup as the Sankranti is nearing. Sale at the stalls selling products from North India is good, probably because the locals have seen the varieties from AP. However, APCO stall is having a different experience. Thanks to the varieties of clothes and readymades brought from different parts of the State, the sale is good in the stall. President of Vijaya H.W.C.S.Society from Tamballapalli N. lakshmaiah said the response was good and customers were comparing the prices here with that in the shops outside.


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