Karnataka

It’s Udupi’s finest, but who’s to weave them?

Even while this cotton handloom sari seeks GI tag, weavers are moving away from the trade.— Photo: Ganesh Prabhu

Even while this cotton handloom sari seeks GI tag, weavers are moving away from the trade.— Photo: Ganesh Prabhu  

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The Department of Handloom Textiles may be waiting for the Geographical Indication (GI) tag for the famed Udupi handloom saris, but the irony is that too few weavers are left in the temple town to weave them.

Once in great demand, there are few takers now for the Udupi handloom sari. Hard work with low returns has led to weavers abandoning this trade.

Naveen Ammanna, manager at the Udupi Primary Weavers’ Service Cooperative Society, said the number of handloom weavers in the society had dropped from about 500 three decades ago to 28 today. Those who weave the finest in this variety (80 x 80 count) is down to just two.

What makes the Udupi handloom special? It’s made of pure cotton and is lightweight. It has art silk design on its border and pallu besides butta s of art silk dotting it.

According to Dayananda Shettigar (75), who has been weaving saris since he was 15, a weaver has to work 14 hours for two days to complete one 80 x 80 count sari. “We get Rs. 393 for every sari, plus Rs. 600 for making pallu for 32 saris from the society. These wages are too low. Besides, handloom saris have to face competition from powerloom saris,” he said.

Sitaram Shettigar, another weaver, says he weaves three to four saris a week with the help of his wife. “After 10 years, I think there will be no weavers left,” he said.

Sadananda Kanchan, Managing Director of the society, also blames it on change dressing styles. “Our clientele is now restricted to those who have crossed 60 years, and the very few who prefer only handloom saris,” he said.



Even while this handloom sari seeks GI tag, weavers are moving away from the trade



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Printable version | May 21, 2019 10:06:33 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/its-udupis-finest-but-whos-to-weave-them/article7124481.ece

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