The magnificent mangalagiri
The small town of Mangalagiri is now a major fabric source for designers
WOVEN WONDERS Rich colours, attractive zari and ethnic touch are the fabric's USP Photo: K. Ramesh Babu
Does looking good in hot summer sound a little far-fetched? The legendary place of cottons, Mangalagiri, might just solve all the setbacks of summer clothing.
Located just 12 km away from Vijayawada, the handloom town is renowned for the skill of its artisans as also of the divine splendour of the famous Panakala Swamy Temple. With more than 3,000 looms in operation, the town is always bustling with activity as the weavers create magic on cottons.
Designing on the fabric is a lot more complicated involving the challenging tie and dye method. Here, the designs in various colours are formed on the fabric either by the warp threads or the weft threads or by both.
The weaver has to be watchful always, working in perfect rhythm and never to break the flow. Seven days of hard labour is to be put in just to craft that cool dress material you wish. So next time you start bargaining, do consider the effort put into this fine fabric.
The right mix of dyes and weaving patterns results in the fabric with its easy texture, durability, ability to absorb sweat and finesse to drape.
Keeping tradition alive
While weaving is the main segment, which involves hard work, making of warps and dyeing, the groundwork involves many people. It's not only providing a great means of livelihood, but also keeping the tradition alive.
"It has been our family business for long. More than 20 people work under us, to help us produce the final fabric, which I sell in my shop," says Damarla Bujji, owner of Poorna saris, an outlet in the area.
Though the dyes aren't self-made, the weaving is all done here. What is it that grabs you? Be it the rich colours or the zari or just the ethnic touch that it reflects, the abundance of diversity is all made accessible as you go hunting deeper into these tiny stores. If you want to stretch your creative parameters a little further, you could just order for your own choice of colour, zari and design, which they could deliver you in a week's time. If that is not catching, what else can? Reasonable price ranges that start from Rs. 200 to Rs. 750 in the sari market and Rs. 350 to Rs. 650 in the dress material make it, without a doubt, an affordable fabric to beat the city's summer heat. It is only the presence and absence of the zari in the fabric that sets the variation in the price tag.
"It is tough to weave in summer. The humid climate makes it real hard, breaking the threads. So, it takes longer than usual in the summer to finish a material," says Bujji. Next time as you single out your choice on these appealing cottons, make sure you carry them with flair of self-esteem and pride .
Send this article to Friends by