We only have a few more stops left, our textile tour of India with @theindianheritagehut takes us to V for Venkatgiri Sarees, W for Woollen pile rugs from Ladakh & X for the X factor of Kanjivaram
V for Venkatagiri Sarees
The Venkatagiri Sarees, known for their fine weaving, date back to early 1700 when these sarees were produced at an artisan cluster close to Nellore called Venkatagiri. The place was then known as ‘Kali Mili’ and its famous product was patronized by the Velugoti Dynasty of Nellore.
The fine weaving and unique zari designs of the sarees made them the preferred choice of royalty in Andhra Pradesh. In the times of kings and queens, Venkatagiri Sarees used to be made only on order and that too just for royalty. Exclusivity is what Venkatagiri’s weavers excel in. In fact, the town of Venkatagiri has 40,000 inhabitants and 20,000 of them are weavers!
More recently, Venkatagiri Sarees got widespread publicity by importing the Jamdani design from Bangladesh. The weavers who brought this unique technique to India have also been awarded by the President of India.
Image credit: Utsavpedia
You can wear a Venkatagiri Saree to any occasion at any time of the year as these sarees are extremely soft, light-weight, durable, and most importantly, consist of the most exclusive designs found in any kind of sarees across India. Extremely suitable for the summer, they, however, have an all-climate appeal.
Info credit – Utsavpedia
W – Woolen Pile Rugs from Ladakh – Tsug – Dul and Tsug – Gdan
Ladakh, due to its climatic conditions, uses woolen and thick fabrics for their clothes and home furnishings.
TSUG-DUL and TSUG-GDAN are woolen pile rugs made of narrow woven strips that are sewn together. The strips are individually woven on back strap looms using a technique called the loop- pile structure. The pile is then cut to give it a shaggy edge. The tsug – dul, usually made of six strips, is used as a blanket while the tsug – gdan that is made of three strips is spread along the walls of the rooms and kitchens of Ladakhi houses and is also used as an additional floor coverings during ceremonies and feasts.
Image credit: Wearekal
Both types of rugs are made of natural wool – chiefly sheep wool but also yak wools and goat hair – accented with coloured acrylic (as in the tsug – dul) or motifs (as in the tsug – gdan). The colours selected greatly resemble those seen in the painted woodwork and ritual installations seen at the monasteries. The tsug – dul is composed of a border around a field. At the centre may be flower-like medallions called mentokh. Some fields have a chequered pattern called cholo. The borders of interlocking forms are said to have been derived from the Great Wall of China.
Info credit – Handmade in India by Aditi Ranjan
X – X factor of Kanjeevaram
Again, it is not possible to finish the ABC series of textile crafts without paying my homage to the queen of the silk i.e. Kanjeevaram (credit also goes to @crazyfeetkavya, for the idea of x factor)
The legend associated with Kanjivaram Silk narrates a wonderful tale about its origin making it the silk of God. Accordingly, the traditional weavers, weaving the Kanjivaram Silk for centuries are descendants of Sage Markanda, the master weaver of the Gods who is supposed to have woven tissue from the lotus fibre.
Image credit: Nalli
The historians trace the origins of the Kanjivaram silk back to the patronage of the Chola dynasty, which succeeded the Pallavas. It is believed that Raja Raja Chola I, between 985 CE – 1014 CE, invited a large number of weavers from Saurashtra in Gujarat to settle down in the area and establish looms to create a local specialized craft.
The transition of Kanjivaram silk from a local craft to a massive thriving industry happened only 500 years later, in the reign of Krishna Deva Raya (1509-1529 CE), the ruler of Vijayanagara Empire. During his reign, the weaving communities of Andhra Pradesh, the Devangas and Saligars, migrated south and settled in different parts of the empire. This second wave of migration of weavers meant that the old silk tradition of Kanchi was infused with new skills, new designs and techniques, taking the industry to new heights.
The Kanjivaram silk saris are prepared from pure raw silk known as mulberry silk and are characterised by the heavy use of zari in gold and silver. Though the actual weaving takes placeat Kancheepuram in Tamil Nadu, the silk comes from Karnataka and the zari is brought from Surat in Gujarat. The designs are inspired by the scriptures and art of the temples in Kanchipuram and of course nature. Some of the interesting motifs are temple border, conch shell, stripes, checks, peacocks, mangoes etc.
Kanjivaram is the queen of silk. It is a saree, literally dipped in gold.
Info credit – livehistoryindia.com