Posts filed under ‘Ikat and Sambalpuri Saree’

western Odisha handloom industry struggles to survive

Following is from the Telegraph:

Bhubaneswar, May 27: The state-run handloom industry is struggling for survival and lags behind in popularising the indigenous patterns and fabrics of Odisha whereas private players are doing roaring business.

The plight of weavers, who cater to government textile organisations and many of who have quit their hereditary profession in the past few years because of financial pressures, reflects the fact.

Sonepur, the hub of Sambalpuri textile materials in western Odisha, is home to at least 50,000 weavers. But, absence of an organised market has pushed them into a state of misery. The weavers’ co-operative society, which used to look after the community, is now non-existent in Sonepur while the Odisha State Handloom Development Corporation has been shut down since 2001 and its 500-odd employees continue to struggle for their outstanding wages.

The condition of weavers in Sambalpur district is no better. Lack of proper support from the government and the soaring price of yarn have forced several weavers to quit their traditional profession. “The number of weavers in the state has decreased remarkably. Several weavers are quitting their traditional profession,” said Manabhanjan Meher, advisor to the local weavers’ society, Nikhila Odisha Meher (Bhulia) Samaj.

“One cannot think of supporting his family by weaving alone now. Hence, several weavers are giving up their traditional profession. There were 40 looms at Badbazar. But, a majority of the weavers gave up this profession. Now, there are only three looms at Badbazar,” he added. The government should take steps for controlling the price of the yarn to save the weavers, he said.

The state handloom and textile department said Odisha had 43,652 looms being run by 1,92,339 weavers. Of them, 86,355 weavers operate under 526 weaver co-operative societies and 18,154 are organised under the 1,511 self-help groups.

The weavers, who are not covered under co-operative societies, find it hard to run the profession because of inadequate wages, rise in price of yarn and absence of an organised market.

“I have to depend upon the sahukars (intermediate tradesmen), who supply me with the raw materials such as yarn, dye, and later in turn, take away the finished product from me. While the sahukars enjoy good profit by selling the product, I am paid a meagre wage,” said Parameswar Meher, a weaver of Ranipur village in Sonepur. Parameswar said the wage he got was meagre considering the fact that it took at least 15 to 20 days to weave a sari. “All my family members are engaged when I weave a sari. It takes at least 15 to 20 days to weave a sari and I get only about Rs 2,000 as my wage,” he said.

Rama Meher, another weaver of Kendupali village in Sonepur said it was difficult for him to run his family with the weaving profession. “I have to look for something else now to feed my family since our ancient profession of weaving is not enough for a livelihood. Many in the village have already quit the profession and are doing better as skilled labourers,” he said.

Internationally acclaimed Padmashree Chaturbhuj Meher, who established the well-known handloom store Meher’s that has among its clients President Pratibha Patil, film star Jaya Bacchan and many international cricketers, said the Sambalpuri textile had a huge market. But, there had to be right policies by the government to develop this market, he said.

“With the adoption of new technology such as the Jacquard loom, the weavers now weave more exquisite textile materials, but they don’t get the right price for it. While the independent weavers have to market their product themselves by travelling to the big cities, the others, who are not financially sound, have to depend upon the sahukars who exploit them,” he said.

Management head of the Meher’s Gouranga Patra said the government-run handloom organisation Utkalika was the reason behind quitting of weaving by around 300 artisans.

“It was doing good business, but in the 80’s, the management there was corrupt and they did not repay the weavers, who had taken huge loans to give Utkalika their consignments. This caused a permanent damage to the handloom industry in the state,” sai Patra.

He said the government could take up initiatives in giving weavers promotion to improve the scenario. “Once a weaver has expertise at a certain design or pattern, he should be given promotion by being assigned to work on a more intricate design and a costlier fabric, so he ultimately earns more and also acquires skills. We have around 3,000 weavers working for us this way and they are doing very well economically,” he said.

Last year, the department of handloom invited well-known designers from all over the country to promote the patterns of Odisha at their fashion shows. But, there are other important things to be looked at, feel experts.

“What our handloom industry needs now is better marketing strategies and design innovations. We could experiment with our patterns and add more creativity to suit the international market. Our silk and cotton fabrics are so rich that there is great demand of the Odisha fabric throughout the world. We must capitalise on it. I use it in my creations and get great response world over,” said well-known fashion designer Pritam Panda.

Officials of the state handloom and textile department said the state government was taking all steps for the development of the handloom units and weavers. Chief minister Naveen Patnaik has announced a special package for the handloom weavers that includes infrastructure development, capacity building of the weavers, intervention of modern technologies and marketing promotion. Naveen will inaugurate an exhibition of Odisha handloom products in London next week to showcase fabrics from the state.

“The handlooms production in Odisha during 2011-12 was to the tune of Rs 180 crore because of sustained efforts of the state government,” said a senior official.

Two major co-operative bodies — the Odisha State Handloom Weavers Co-operative Society (popularly known as Boyanika) and Sambalpuri Vastralaya — have significantly improved their performance. The sales turn over of Boyanika was Rs 52.62 crore in 2011-12 and it earned a profit of Rs 1.13 crore in 2010-11. Similarly, Sambalpuri Vastralaya had made a turn over to the tune of Rs 20 crore in the same year, said the official.

As Odisha’s textile products are facing the problem of duplicated products outside the state, the government has registered two textile items (Odisha ikat and Kotpad handloom fabrics) with the Geographical Indication Registry (kind of patenting at Chennai under the Union commerce ministry.

Five more indigenous and exclusive products of Odisha — Sambalpuri bandha, Sonepuri Bomkai, Dhalapathar screen, Habaspuri sari and Berhampuri patta and jodo — were in the pipeline, said the officials.


May 28, 2012 at 1:32 pm 2 comments

Centre of handicraft training-cum-design, Sambalpur

Earlier it was reported that Sambalpur will get an Apparel Training and Design Centres (ATDC). Is Centre of handicraft training-cum-design is another name of centre of handicraft training-cum-design or a different institute?

Following is from TOI:

SAMBALPUR: There’s good news for the artisans of western Orissa. The directorate of handicraft and cottage industries finally set up a centre of handicraft training-cum-design in Sambalpur on Wednesday for the benefit of local artisans. The centre will provide design development skills to artisans in order to help them produce articles in keeping with the market demand.

“The main aim of the centre is to provide design skills to artisans. There are many artisans who are engaged in traditional art and crafts, but they often face difficulties in making their products suitable to the changing market demand. The centre will equip them with design development skills in order to help them craft their products to cater to the new trends in the market,” the director of handicraft and cottage industries, Nityananda Palei, said. While inaugurating the centre at Kuluthkani area in Sambalpur town, Palei said they have recruited designers from Rajasthan to provide training to artisans keeping in mind current demand trends.

Sources said the Sambalpur training school would be the second such venture in the state. A similar centre is already functional in Bhubaneswar. The State Institute for Development of Arts & Crafts (SIDAC), an independent body under the directorate of handicraft department, will look after the centre. Twenty artisans from Bolangir, Sundergarh, Sambalpur, Deogarh and Bargarh have been selected for the training programme that will begin from this month.

“This time we have decided to provide design development skills to artisans who are already in the field. We have decided to cover others arts and crafts in future,” the executive director of SIDAC, B K Dash, said. According to him, the duration of training will be one year and lodging will be provided to the trainees free of cost with a stipend of Rs 1,000 per month to meet their food expenses.

On the other hand, artisans are elated at the opening of such a training centre in Sambalpur. They hope that through the centre they would able to develop their existing design skills.

“The setting up of the training centre at Sambalpur is a welcome step. Design development skill training will definitely give a new look to traditional arts and crafts industry,” said Paramanada Rana of Bolangir and Promaod Maharana of Bargarh, two artisans who have joined the centre to improve their skills in terracotta art.

February 7, 2011 at 10:20 am Leave a comment

Orissa government to set up sericulture R&D Institute

Following is a PTI report:

Bhubaneswar, Apr 15 (PTI) Targeting a production of about 500 tons of silk by 2020, the Orissa government today said it would set up a research and development centre for speedy growth of the sector.

“Sericulture has a vast potential in the state. It should be utilised to provide livelihood to tribals and backward caste people… the government would set up State Sericulture Research and Development Institute for proper management and growth of the sector,” Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said at a workshop on sericulture management here.

Though present growth rate of silk industry in India is about eight per cent, demand for the fabric is growing at 10 per cent, Handloom and Handicraft Minister Anjali Behera said.

While 10,000 weavers in the state need 500 tons of silk, Orissa produces only 81 tons. “The need is to strengthen the sector to fill the gap,” the minister said.

April 15, 2010 at 5:46 pm 1 comment

Odisha Govt. okays five-year perspective plan for the handloom and textile sector

Following is a report from The Pioneer:

The State Government on Friday finalised a five-year perspective plan for the handloom and textile sector. It put stress on the welfare of the weavers and giving marketing linkage to their products.

A decision to this effect was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at the State Secretariat.

About Rs 182.73 crore would be spent in these sectors in the next five years.

It was decided that emphasis would be given on the disbursement of loans to the weavers. More Women Self-Help Group would be involved in all these programmes. Handloom culture would be set up. Discussions were also held on creating a pension fund for those weavers who have already crossed 60 years.

In a bid to provide the necessary raw material to the weavers, he said 353 common facility centres would come up across the State with an investment of Rs 11.80 crore.

Steps would be taken to invite more investment in the field of handloom and textiles

January 30, 2010 at 7:53 pm Leave a comment

Ikat,Tussar, and Bomkai attracts unprecedented interest in world’s largest home-textile fair

Following is a report by IANS (text taken from

By Manik Mehta; Frankfurt, Jan 17 (IANS) Despite uncertainties that still plague the world’s home-textile industry with low demand and high unemployment in many traditional markets, India dominated the ongoing four-day Heimtextil fair in Frankfurt – the world’s largest fair for home textiles and furnishing products – by presenting the world’s biggest exhibitor contingent.

India dominates the show in sheer numbers: a record number of 385 exhibitors even surpassed, for the first time, the 381 exhibitors from Germany, the host country that has for decades presented the largest contingent of exhibitors. China with 380 exhibitors took the third position, though some German experts predicted that China could possibly overtake India at future events.

An elated Ajit Kumar, Indian consul general in Frankfurt, described India’s numerical superiority at the Frankfurt fair as a “signal” about India’s “forward march” in the textile industry.

“Germany is our leading trading partner in the European Union and not, as some believe, the UK or France. In 2008, India’s two-way trade with Germany amounted to 13.4 billion euros, with the balance slightly in favour of Germany. Textiles, which are India’s top export item, accounted for some 24 percent of India’s total exports to Germany,” Kumar said in an interview with IANS at the fair.

Some of the textile products India exports to Germany include man-made fibres, wool, raw and processed cotton, raw silk and silk yarn, among others.

While some Indian exhibitors complained about the “lukewarm response” at the show, the overall mood of Indian exhibiting companies was much better than in 2009 when the world was caught in the grip of a severe economic crisis and demand had plummeted.

Ashish Agarwal, partner at Balaji Overseas of Agra, which exhibited floor coverings and rugs, said that “2010 brings us hope which we can discern at this show in Frankfurt”.

“We are happy that business has not declined but stabilised and shows signs of rising in the future,” he said. Like Agarwal, other exhibitors also saw the proverbial light at the end of the dark tunnel.

Arti Ahuja, textile commissioner in Orissa’s department of textile and handloom, was “pleasantly surprised” with the “unprecedented interest” in hand-woven textiles, Ikat (yarn tie and dye), Tussar (wild silk) and Bomkai (handwoven jacquard) from Orissa.

“Despite the recession which seems to be receding, we had good number of visitors and received serious business enquiries,” she said. Orissa Minister for Textiles and Handicrafts, Anjali Behera, was also on a two-day visit to the Frankfurt show to promote her state’s textile products.

Detlef Braun, the managing director of Messe Frankfurt GmbH, which organised the Heimtextil show, spoke of the “positive overall mood” at the show, reflecting that the majority of participants were happy with their performance.

Braun sounded euphoric about China and India which, he believed, were “doing very well”.

“The large presence of exhibitors from these two countries provides testimony to the upbeat mood of suppliers at the show. India is an extremely important market for us. In fact, it is one of the most promising markets of the world,” Braun told IANS.

January 17, 2010 at 11:37 am Leave a comment

New Book- Western Orissa: Past & Present

Thanks to Mr. Tapas Sarangi for the following pictures and information:

From the content it looks like this books gives a nice  overview of Western Orissa. It has separate chapters on  history, heritage, religion, language, culture and art, tourist places, agriculture, education, and industrialization of Western Odisha or Koshal region.

November 18, 2009 at 2:21 pm 1 comment

The World famous craftsmans of Sambalpuri fabrics

Following write-up is from the navratna news:


  • Padmashree Krutartha Acharya

Born on 20th March 1900 in a brahmin family in Dabkatikra village of Bargarh district, Padmashree Krutartha Acharya pioneered in making the Sambalpuri design and fabric based on Tie and Dye method method inside and outside the country. He established the Sambalpuri Bastralaya in 1930 and subsequently formed a Cooperative Societies of weavers of the district and the nearby districts.


  • Padmashree Kunjabihari Meher

Born in 1928 is a resident of Barpali. He is one of the geniuses who have endeavored to enrich and glorify the splendid style of Sambalpuri fabrics at home and abroad. Being an ardent and devoted artist of Sambalpuri Ikat, he may be rightly called as KALA-GOURAV (Glory of Art) for his extraordinary skill, keen but delicate use of imaginative power, invention of new designs and his constant efforts to popularize Sambalpuri Handloom fabrics (Tie & Dye) at home and aboard. The artistry of this great master of weaving have been preserved in Port History Museum of U.S.A. and Museum of Germany besides State and National Museum of India. He has been honoured by Utkal, Sambalpur and Berhampur Universities of Orissa, State Award by Govt. of Orissa and National Award by Govt. of India. The President of India honoured him with PADMASHREE Samman in 1998. He was also presented with Honourary Felicitation of Liberty Bell by Governor of Philadelphia (U.S.A.). His live demonstration of Sambalpuri Ikat weavings at Philadelphia (USA), Hongkong and London were highly appreciated.


  • Padmashree Chaturbhuj Meher

Baandha weaving otherwise known as “tie & dye” weaving is the art of tieing and dying of warp and weft threads as per the required design. When both warp and weft are tied and dyed and woven it is called Patolaa. It is in the process of hand weaving that the design gets transmitted on to the fabric by the deft hands of the weaver.

It is this art which has been given new dimension and direction by Sri Chaturbhuj Meher, the Master Craftsman, by devoting his sleepless nights.

A great artist with a great and noble mind could not remain long within the four walls and the limited sphere of Govt. service. His heavenly soul aspired for greater Organisation and Institution of his own. The lucrative post of the Central Government had no lures for him. In 1982, Chaturbhuj Babu started his own weaving factory at his native place Sonepur. Here he applied his acquired experiences and knowledge for the production of numerous new patterns and designs of pure Silk and Tassar fabrics putting together of Baandha and other renowned traditional Handloom Arts of India. As a result. his production could fetch better price and demand throughout India and abroad.

Besides, the weavers working under him could earn better and alluring wages being conversant with new techniques and skill or handloom art.In 1984, Chaturbhuj Babu resigned voluntarily from his post of Expert Weaver in order to utilise his full time for the rapid and fruitful progress of this industry. Side by side, he never thinks of earning money after curtailing the wages of his weavers. Now with noble intention he has started a number of handloom weaving institutions for the betterment of the weaver community at large. Chaturbhuj Babu is fully happy and content now after observing the spectacular success and solid progress of his Institutions for which he has toiled hard day and night and utilised his talent, knowledge and long experiences in hand loom traditional and modern arts and techniques. What is more, with his simplicity, noble character and generosity he has been a fountain-head of inspiration for other artists in this field.

As some of the photographs of his creation given here illustrate the artistic talent. intuition and genius of Chaturbhuj Babu, it is not felt necessary to quote the opinions, impressions of the eminent lovers of Art and Culture of India on him. Though this renowned artist has attained the highest place in the world of Handloom, enjoying goodwill and high reputation, he is still working relentlessly without bothering for name and fame.

Apart from his precious contributions in the domain of handloom, artist Chaturbhuj Babu also spares his valuable time off and on for the upliftment of the Weaver Caste and for eliminating blind faiths and ill-manners in them. In sort, this extraordinary artist never hesitates to take part in such affairs that means good irrespective of any downtrodden caste and creed. May his professional successors profit and prosper by his guidelines for all time to come.

Throughout the world rare and exceptional is the Ekat or “Baandha” art of Westem Orissa. It is a unique type and there is nothing like it in the Wond of Weaving. This Art as a technique of weaving is so original and disparate that it has no resemblance whatsoever to tne other hand loom arts of India. If in Orissa. there ever grew up a peerless craft tradition in hand loom. it was because the Meher (Bhuliaa) weavers were also artists. The son watched his father at work. His hands at first acquired the skill. slowly his mind attuned itself to the work, developed sensitiveness, perceived new images and wove new patterns.Thus the tradition was preserved and improved by degrees.

On 13th October 1935 Chaturbhuj Meher was born as a second child and only son of father Sri Nilamani Meher and mother Srimati Mayavati. Nilamani Meher was weaving beautiful Butaadaar Kaptaa (saree) and managing his family comprising six members anyhow or other. But, as ill-luck would have it. mother Mayavati passed away leaving her only son and three daughters at their infancy. Then being depressed and downcast. Nilamani suffered from Sciatica and became unable to weave cloth. This budding prodigy Chaturbhuj Meher; at the age of seven was lacking even the bare sustenance. Having no way out.  the artist Chaturbhuj Meher and his elder sister had to earn the bread for their family by helping the weavers on the looms. While sitting or the loom, the cloth-beam used to touch the neck of this child artist. So a low stool with a pillow upon it had been arranged for him to sit on.

From such a poor weaver family. comes the extraordinary artist Sri Chaturbhuj Meher of Sonepur in Western Orissa. He is so to say a born artist of delicate charm and brilliant finesse. His sensibility of rhythm and colour, line and curve. size and shape made him a perfect designer and the master craftsman. The dreams of his mind are aptly executed by his hands. How artist Chaturbhuj, bcm in a poor weaver family, could. with his super artistic genius, surmount the difficulties of pecuniary wants and educational deficiency and marched forward. deserves earnest praise and co-operation from the lovers of arts and crafts of this country and abroad.

In the year 1947 artist Chaturbhuj Babu entered into the Weaving Factory of Sonepur and wove various patterns and designs of fabrics having Butaa, Baandha, Kumbha and Anchaa works etc. to the complete satisfaction of the incharge officers of the said factory and learned different techniques of weaving. In 1950 he worked and wove beautiful sarees for Utkal Purdah Agency of Sambalpur under the able guidance of Radhashyam Meher , the epoch-making Bandha artist of Orissa.

But this little wizard later on excelled his ‘Guru’ by learning the different traditional techniques of different provinces of India working as an Expert Weaver in various Weavers Service Centres of All India Handloom Board under Govt of India. Not only that. but he was deriving immense pleasure from teaching those arts and techniques to other weavers. This sort of generosity is rarely found with the other artists of this trade.


  • Surendra Meher

Born in 1959. This master weaver of Barpali, is the youngest son of legendary Ikat weaver Padmashree Kunjabihari Meher. After graduating from Sambalpur University he devoted himself in innovating and experimenting new design in age old traditional art of Sambalpuri Ikat art to make it a contemporary achievement with the touch of modernity. His intricate and beautiful works can never be replaced by machine because the spirit is part of the craft. This young artist created record by being awarded the State Award of Orissa for three years consecutively. He also received National Award in 1991 and Kalanidhi Award in 1993. He represented the country in India Week exhibition at Algurair Centre, Dubai (UAE) and India  A Celebration at Asian Art Museum, Sansfransisco, USA in 1997. His classic creation have been permanently in display in the Art Gallery of Crafts Museum, New Delhi and Asian Art Museum, San-fransisco, USA.

November 12, 2009 at 4:48 pm Leave a comment

Handloom products like Sambalpuri tie and dye, Bomakei of Sonepur, Pasapalli of Bargarh and Habbas of Kalahandi to get GI registration

Following report is from The Pragativadi:

In a bid to empower economically backward weaver community in the state, the Odisha government has identified at least eight handloom sub-products for Geographical Indications registration.
The products identified for the GI registrations are Sambalpuri tie and dye, Nuapatna tie and dye, Berhampur Kumbha design, Sonepur-Bomakei design, Pasapalli design of Bargarh, Dholapathara temple design, Khandua fabrics of Nuapatna and Habbas of Kalahandi.

We have engaged IIT-Kharagpur to provide assistance for getting the products registered with GI, Chennai, state textiles and handloom department secretary Arati Ahuja said.
GI is a sign used on goods that have a specific geographical origin and possesses qualities and reputations that are essentially attributable the place of origin.

Following is a report from the navaratna news:


November 12, 2009 at 4:14 pm 2 comments

Sambalpuri Saree, Barpali, and Chicago

The following are excerpts from an article published in the

It was May 2008; scorching tropical summer in India. It was a festive time in the little town Barpali for Sitalsasthi, the annual wedding ceremony of Lord Siva and Goddess Parvati. One morning in the market I met a fair-skinned young man whom I asked, “Are you a Nepali?” He said, “No, I am Charlie from Chicago.” I wanted to know, if he was a tourist and had come to witness the Sitalsasthi. He said, “My wife Jillian is learning ikat (tie and dye) at Kusanpuri.” To ease things up a bit, I asked how far would Chicago be from Kusanpuri. He said, “Are you mad?” That single question of mine grabbed all his attention. I enquired if he had met any of the Sambalpuri cloth weavers at Barpali. He said it had been just a few days since he reached Barpali and had not found time to visit the weavers.

I was able to judge their limitations on exploring the neighbourhood. They were not familiar with the local language. On the other hand, the weavers were conversant only in Oriya. This made communication between the tourists and the weavers near impossible. I took it up as my duty and every evening guided the foreigners to different master weavers. Whenever we entered any cloth store, we were greeted with a smile and offered chairs to sit. This was followed by tea and other delicacies. It was amazing to receive such attention and care. However, the irony was that the hospitality was offered only when there were foreigners.

While checking Sambalpuri sarees, Jillian took an interest to the different designs, motifs and patterns on the cloth and wanted to know more about them. The more the sales boy tried to explain, the more disillusioned he and the tourists got. The duo turned to me for solace.

I started interpreting sankha (shell); chakra (wheel); phulla (flower) and so on. Jillian started to appreciate the art and my ability to explain. “Wow, wow”. Earlier to this, Jillian was also pleased to have barra pukdi as it was a change from the pizzas she was used to back in the US. I also taught them the best expression for appreciating Oriya food — a buaa.

When the shopkeeper returned to take out the next saree, Jillian blurted out “a buaa”. With this expression of hers, the shopkeeper got surprised and looked at me; I looked at her.

 Every evening  during her stay over there Jillian would return from Kusanpuri and Charlie would join us at my store. One evening while we were talking about their life in US, Jillian started getting hiccups. While I kept them busy with my talk, I lifted my right-hand and struck on her head without a precaution. At one go Jillian got shocked and looked at her husband Charlie. Charlie got angry. “How could you hit my wife?” As a husband it was his duty to safeguard his wife. He patted his wife asking, “are you alright?” She had no words for a while. For about 10 seconds I kept quite, then started smiling. “This fellow has gone mad,” Charlie remarked. “If you have noticed, your hiccups have gone,” I told the couple. “This is how we in India treat the involuntary contraction of the diaphragm while the glottis is spasmodically closed. I didn’t hit her head, rather, I suppressed the hiccup.”

November 12, 2009 at 2:52 pm 2 comments



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