Being regular travellers on the Hyderabad-Chennai route, every time we crossed Narketpally, we’d see the road to Pochampally and tell ourselves we had to visit the village some day and check out the famous Pochampally handlooms. As it turned out, during this trip, a colleague who hails from Pochampally was visiting his hometown that very day and called us over. So, our wheels turned towards Pochampally from Kolanupaka, a 55 kms drive through the villages of Nalgonda district.
Hand woven masterpieces
We arrived at Pochampally a little after 7 PM, met our colleague and visited his friend’s house where weaving of Pochampally silk sarees was in progress.
How little we value our traditional arts, crafts and weaves is evident from our almost zero knowledge of their history and how these arts came into being. Hardly anybody seems to know about how Pochampally handloom art started, the internet gives you vague information, even the locals and the weavers themselves didn’t seem to know much, they told us the village has known this art for more than 80 years and beyond that, “it goes back to very old times”, they told us !
We were then shown the sarees that were ready for sale. As the weavers unfolded each saree, we realised why handloom sarees are precious, every saree was sheer beauty, almost impossible to believe that they were woven by hand !
Each of these beautiful sarees are woven on this humble looking handloom.
Excuse the poor quality of pictures, they were taken on mobile phones under not so great lighting.
When you see the hard work and dedication that goes into making these pieces of art, even the non-shopaholics would want to indulge. We had only wanted to visit the village and see the art but we ended up buying sarees without even stopping to think what we were doing !
We spend almost an hour shopping and chatting with the weavers who were kind enough to show us how the handloom works. Like the one we saw at Patur, these handlooms too had a pit where the weaver stood and operated the handloom.
He explained the process of weaving a saree from scratch right from purchasing the raw material threads, dyeing, designing, setting the threads according to design and finally the actual weaving. We call ourselves skilled professionals but they are the one with real talent and skill !
It takes about 3-4 days to make one saree with a team of 4 people working on different aspects of the weaving. What if something goes wrong while setting the design or weaving? They simply have to discard it because you cannot undo the flaw ! So, you can understand the precision and focus that is required to weave a saree. The weaver told us if there was a mistake, they would usually sell it at a loss.
The current generation of weavers are tech savvy and have websites through which they sell the sarees online to customers abroad, they tie up courier services for the deliveries. It was heartening to know that the advent of internet into small towns has opened wide avenues for this traditional industry and even more impressive was how the young people have adapted themselves to it.
We told them to keep going and to never give up this wonderful talent that they have acquired and we made a vow to ourselves that if we ever bought a traditional attire, it would only be handloom textiles. Coincidentally, exactly a month after our trip to Pochampally, the Textile Ministry started the #Iwearhandloom initiative. More power to our country’s diverse handloom textiles !
At the start of the trip, we cribbed that a drive to Bhuvanagiri wouldn’t qualify as a trip but it turned out to be a journey into history, sculpture and art – yet another day spent marvelling at this incredible country of ours !
- Pochampally is about 45 kms from Hyderabad, hit Google Maps and you will do good. There are buses plying from Hyderabad to Pochampally.
- Pochampally silk sarees range starts from Rs.5,000/-, we checked online, the same saree would cost almost twice the price, so always buy at the source !
- If you are looking for Pochampally cotton textiles, you will find them at shops on the main market road of Pochampally. Weavers’ houses specialise in the silk variety.
- Shops usually close by 8 PM, so plan your visit accordingly.
- Good idea to combine a trip to Pochampally with Bhuvanagiri and Kolanupaka.
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