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Mesmerizing Mangalagiri-Land of Indian Weavers

      India is the seventh largest country in the world. Further, the greatness of India has been in accepting the best from all the invaders and intermingling the new customs and styles with the existing - this is visible in all aspects due to the culture of India is an amalgamation of Languages, religions, castes, architecture, food and customs. India is a hub of art and culture that has a rich tradition.

 

      Not only in languages, but also in each and every aspect with different unique customs even in terms of clothing also due to every place has got unique weaving technique. If we discuss about weaving of sarees in India, we can't reject some weaving centers to explain those are Mangalgiri, Venkatagiri, Uppada, Kancheepuram, so on.... In this article I would like to introduce one glorious and well known place for such unique weaving technique is Mangalgiri in which sarees are very much in demand in the fashion market.

      Mangalgiri means auspicious hills. Mangalgiri is a town in Guntur district and outskirt of Vijayawada, a well known city in the state of Andhra Pradesh. Mangalagiri is blessed with two well known temples as one is in the valley of Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple believed to be built by the King Krishna Devaraya. The other temple is on the hilltop known as Palaka Narasimha Swamy.

      A unique feature of Palaka Narasimha Swamy temple in Mangalgiri is the magical disappearance of the Palakam offered to the shrine. When palakam is poured into the mouth of the deity, half of the palakam is returned. The temple is opened only from morning to afternoon. It is believed that Demigods perform puja to Sri Narasimha Swamy in the night. For more

      Mangalgiri is well known for its traditional Mangalgiri handlooms. There are some designs which are exclusively used in Mangalgiri fabrics known as Nizam designs. The mixture of colour gives the durability. Usually Mangalgiri handlooms are made in cotton or cotton and silk mix or mercerized cotton. For more:

 

      Dyeing is a very important step in Mangalagiri textile production. For white sarees, the yarn is bleached using either bleaching powder or bleaching solution. The chemical name of the bleach used is Calcium Hypochlorite. The most important aspect in this process is the mixing of colours which will give unique and durable colour to the fabric. For more:

       The looms used in Mangalgiri are mostly pit looms. Pit looms are looms which are fixed in the ground level and there will be a pit in which looms peddle will be placed and the weaver will sit on the floor and use his hands and legs to weave. The weavers are into this profession traditionally. None of the weavers are trained but they have acquired this unique skill hereditarily from their ancestors. The art of weaving is passed on by way of vision and practice. There are no theoretical explanations or training for weaving. For more:

 

      The life of weavers is characterized by abject poverty, chronic malnutrition, varied health hazards and even hunger deaths and suicides. Input cost is unbearable for many and profit is taken by middlemen. Globalization has severely affected economically vulnerable small weavers pushing them below poverty line.

      Unfortunately due to the low wages the traditional weavers are opting out of this industry. New generation is not interested in this profession due to the low wages prevailing in the industry. During recession the weavers turned to the profession of Goldsmith which fetched them good remuneration. Now Mangalgiri is also having a very good number of people, who have left weaving and taken Goldsmith as their profession. Since Mangalgiri looms are pit looms, during rainy season the looms are closed due to the rain water getting clogged in the ground. The weavers demand that only if there is some kind of package at par with the farmers who have lost crops, which was offered by the government, then only handloom industry can survive. For More

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