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Mesmerising fabrics

--Photo: C.V. Subrahmanyam

Buyers selecting sarees at the Handloom Expo.

With Dasara and Deepavali round the corner, it is time to get set and go on a shopping binge. `Ethnic' being the buzzword these days, the handlooms top the list.

The ongoing Special Handloom Expo'04 at Prahalada Kalyana Mandapam satiates the womanly passion to see wardrobes full of exquisite stuff.

Sponsored by the Department of Handlooms and Textiles, the exhibition brings a riot of colours and shades to the 'saree wonder'. Over 52 weavers societies from 16 districts in the State have showcased a wide array of handloom textiles.

Elegant and timeless handloom cottons and silks with myriad designs and hues, motifs that tell tales are all under one roof. The creations of fresh designs on fabrics invariably have the ethnic opulence of the hereditary base.

A mesmerising collection of sarees like Pochampalli, Gadwal, Venkatagiri, Polavaram, Mangalagiri beckons you as you enter the expo. The Uppada Weavers Cooperative Society from East Godavari has a wide range of Uppada Jamdani sarees in cotton, pure silk and tassar silk.

The cotton Gadwal sarees range from Rs.300 to Rs.600 while the silk sarees are priced between Rs.1,400 and Rs.2,000. The Madhavaram Weavers Association has an exquisite collection of hand embroidery done in cotton and silk sarees priced at Rs.850, which is sure to catch the eye!

The expo also has a bountiful collection of Mangalgiri and other cotton dress material. With Khadi back with a bang this season, shirts and kurtas for men are a definite appeal.

Check out the `tie and die' Kalankari bedsheets and the beautiful divan sets ranging from Rs.150 to Rs.400. Mats and carpets are an added attraction.

It is a rare convergence of art and traditional skills. "There are so many varieties here that you don't need to go round different shops. I find the stuff cheap and quite good," says H.D. Menon, an enthusiastic buyer. "This gesture to promote the handloom industry at a juncture when globalisation is devouring their livelihood is really appreciable," says another customer.

"In the last three days, we made a total sales of Rs.12 lakhs," says M.A. Gaffar, Development Officer of Handlooms and Textiles Department. There is a discount of 10 per cent on all items.

The general opinion is that the regulars to such exhibitions need no explanation about the richness of the fabrics. However, visitors should bear in mind that it takes at least five days to weave a sari and that the weaver does not make much profit out of it and, hence it is necessary for us to encourage this industry and keep it alive.

The exhibition will be on till October 16, and it is open from 10.00 a.m. to 8 p.m.

N.G.

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