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Feast on Chettinad's fabulous weaves



Tarunyaas has an ongoing exhibition of Kandanghi saris

PEOPLE IN Bangalore can avail of the finest Chettinad saris at the ongoing Revival of the Kandanghi exhibition organised by the textile store, Tarunyaas. The store, promoting heritage weaves, handcrafted textiles, and ready-to-wears, has been set up by Kausalya Satya Kumar and was inaugurated last week by the Bharatanatya dancer, Vani Ganapathi. The store is geared to revive the rich and ornate texture of Chettinad.

Tarunyaas was a result of Kausalya's love for textiles. An exporter of Indian fabrics, Kausalya's idea was to offer the best of Indian traditional weaves under one roof. Under a beautifully tiled roof, in what is a smartly designed structure, Kausalya has put together the best of textiles from Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Chattisgarh, and Bihar. "My exposure to the interiors of the country helped me source rare and beautiful traditional weaves," says Kausalya, a model for a gorgeous beige-and-mauve Maheshwari sari, a tradition revived by the Holkar family (of Rehwa fame).

The store has Maheshwaris, Vidarbha tussars, ikats, Kanchi cottons, uppadas, Chettinads, and pashminas. The ready-to-wear selection, carrying Jaipur's Cottons label, includes salwar-kameez sets, stoles, dupattas, skirts, wraparounds, camisoles, sequinned trousers, chudidars, and kurtas.

A mezzanine floor has swathes of cotton and silk dress materials. There is also a fine collection of Kandanghi saris, which come in cotton, silk cotton, and pure silk. The saris, worn predominantly by Chettinad women, are available in red, yellow, and black. In stripes and checks, with broad borders, the saris are worn with pleats at the back or with a pinn kosuvam.

The Kandanghi collection is by Visalakshi Ramaswamy, co-author of The Chettiar Heritage, and founder member of the M.RM.RM. Cultural Foundation. S. Muthiah and Meenakshi Meyyappan are the other authors of the book, which is an attempt to document the culture of Chettinad textiles.

The foundation works towards the revival of languishing crafts. "We facilitate the revival of dying traditional crafts and help transform them into contemporary everyday objects. Traditional crafts people can then regain their place in the economic mainstream," observes Visalakshi. The foundation also encourages traditional Chettinad weavers to train young weavers. "The idea is to give back a lost art to them," says Kausalya.

The exhibition, at Tarunyaas, is open from April 7 to 14. The prices seem to be on the higher side: a handloom top, for instance, costs Rs. 300, an Orissa cotton Rs.1,700, handspun khadi silk Rs. 2,600, Rs. 2,350 for a crepe, Rs. 2,750 for a pashmina, Rs. 3,350 for a Bhagalpur twill and the like.

Tarunyaas can be contacted at 500, 9th Main Road, 5th Block, Jayanagar, (near Grihavaibhava Showroom on the Ring Road) or on 6553122/6644787.

MALA KUMAR

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