Handloom Village

1. Introduction

Silk, the queen of textiles dominates the textile industry with its luster, sensuousness, and glamour. The silk sarees of India are among the living examples of the excellent craftsmanship of the weavers of the country. The artistic and aesthetic sense of Indian weavers is not content with striking colors they choose for the fabrics but lies in their mastery over the creation of floral designs, beautiful textures, fine geometry, and the durability of such work. The weaver not only weaves with yarn, but with intense feeling and emotion. Indian handloom silk sarees known for their unique features like beautiful color combinations, intricate designs, and wonderful motifs, tops the demand of the domestic market. In India, there are a number of silk weaving centers spread all over the country, known for their distinct and typical style of weaving. South India is the leading silk producing area of the country also known for its famous silk weaving enclaves like Kancheepuram, Dharmavaram, Arni, Pochampalli, Gadwal, etc. The beauty of silk is the key to having wonderful silks. India's cultural diversity is perhaps best reflected in its handloom textile varieties, from Patola and Mashru in Gujarat, Gulbadan in West Bengal and Saktapar in Orissa, Chettinad and Kancheepuram in Tamil Nadu to Narayanpet and Pochampalli in Andhra Pradesh. Handloom weavers for thousands of years created a tapestry of designs and textures that have been the pride of India. But today, much of this treasure is lost to time and to the advances in technology. Handlooms are losing out badly in several parts of India and the skills are vanishing. The intimidation posed by various developed countries has made even the silk producers in India to respond and protect their silk related products under the Geographical Indication Act.

2. Profile of Pochampally

Pochampally is a Mandal situated in the district of Yadadri Bhuvanagiri in Telangana and is popularly referred to as the 'Silk City of India' for its beautifully crafted silk Ikat sarees and fabric. Pochampally is most popular for its Ikat style of saris and material and the world knows this quaint town for its spectacular Ikats. Pochampally, a cluster of 80 villages, is the place where threads and colors find their way into the hands of skillful weavers and meander into the market as beautiful sarees and dress material. Spread over an attractive and charming part of the Deccan plateau, the village is around 50 km from Hyderabad, the capital city of both the states i.e., Telengana and Andhra Pradesh. Pochampally is surrounded by lush green fields, beautiful hills, and big water ponds that receive water from the river Musi flowing nearby. Having earned a name to reckon with in the map of popular weaving clusters of India. Though there is a change in the lifestyle of the people over a period of time, we still find the rural atmosphere here. Pochampally is a typical weaving village and predominantly a Padmashali village, where the traditional weaving community is strong in number. Pochampally is the single largest handloom tie and dye cluster with about 2000 Pit looms and around 5000 artisans. Usually, Pochampally handlooms are made in cotton, silk, and Sico - a mix of silk and cotton. It is a treat for the eyes to see the artisans work.

3. History of Pochampally silks

Pochampally is popularly known as Bhoodan Pochampally. Acharya Vinobha Bhave started the Bhoodan Movement (Land Donation) from this village. Pochampally silk saree manufacturing history goes back to 1970 when it was decided by some village headmen of Pochampally to weave silk along with cotton (cotton weaving was being done since very long back), to make a better living. They have sent two young weavers to Bangalore to learn the secrets of the art. This was the beginning of a revolutionary era in the Pochampally handloom industry, which led to the eventual dominance of the Indian tie and dye patola Industry. Unlike the Orissa industry, the weaving of pochampally sarees appears to be a modern development without strong indigenous roots. The genesis of the decision to enter into new realms of silk weaving can be attributed to a new era, in the history of Pochampally ikat. It is believed that the ikat technique was brought to Pochampalli from Chirala, another town in Andhra Pradesh, a couple of generations ago, perhaps as early as 1915. The origin of this technique is not very clear, but it appears to have been learned and was not indigenous to the region. According to one version, weavers from Chirala who migrated to Nalgonda brought this technique of tie and dye with them. Another view holds that, the Nizams encouraged few weavers of Mashroo (brocaded cloth, with cotton inside and silk outside) here and that the Ikat technique developed out of that. Some say that local weavers went to Chirala to learn the technique, but found it difficult to execute the double Ikat weaving. So the weavers in Pochampalli started only with warp Ikat and only much later worked on double Ikat. The success of such Ikat saris in cotton led to experiments in silk as well. Silk Ikat saris from Pochampalli thus became a generic name for Andhra Ikats. Pochampally products are handcrafted to perfection by skilled artisans who are endowed with critical skills in intricate designs, having decades of experience behind them in their respective fields. In certain cases, these masterpieces can take up to one hundred and twenty days to take final shape, to the satisfaction of our craftsmen

4. Production Process of Pochampally silks