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Heli Tourism

Enchanting Kerala


ISSUE: 258


The Warp and Weft of Tradition

The finesse of intricate designs, the sheen of fine craftsmanship, the bright yet elegant simplicity of colours and the beautiful texture of the fabric are what makes Kerala handloom products so special. One would never guess that they are hand woven and by families of weavers, who have been in this tradition for centuries.

Kerala handloom products have roots in specific locales. Each such centre of weaving has its signature characteristics that give each of them a stamp of uniqueness. Kuthampully, Balaramapuram and Chendamangalam are the three major weaving centres in the State.

Traditional handloom is part and parcel of the village life in Kuthampully in Thrissur district. The forefathers of Kuthampully came from Mysore about 500 years ago, to weave clothes for the erstwhile dynasty of Cochin and they never returned to their native place. They followed the traditional path in the early days and the different kinds of attires they created, like the kasavu double dhoti, veshti and set mundu became popular. Later on, embroidery techniques were deftly applied on traditional Kuthampully sarees to produce designer ones.

Handloom weaving at Balaramapuram in Thiruvananthapuram has a history that spans over 300 years. At the behest of Balaramavarma, the ruler of erstwhile Travancore, handloom weaving was first introduced in Balaramapuram. Seven weaver families from Tamil Nadu were brought and settled there to produce fabrics for the members of the royal family. Till date, only traditional methods and means have been made use of to create the legendary Balaramapuram handloom fabrics.

Known for their excellent quality, every product stands testament to the dexterity of the Chendamangalam weavers from Ernakulams. Here, the designs made using the age-old techniques still have an unparalleled appeal, which can attract the most sophisticated of customers. Apart from Kuthumpally, Balaramapuram and Chendamangalam, Kasaragod sarees and Kannur furnishings are also well accepted and recognized by the public.

Kerala handloom products are woven with every yarn of its warp and weft drenched in ancient tradition. This stamp of tradition is integral to the richness of Kerala's cultural heritage.

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