Karnataka's own Kancheevaram sarees

Replica: A Kalamkari saree that resembles the famed Kancheevaram variety. DH PHOTO

How about our own version of the famed Kancheevaram sarees? The Karnataka Handloom Development Corporation (KHDC) has come out with a silken wonder that goes by the name Kalamkari, much to the glee of the State’s women.

The Kalamkari sarees, which earlier used to be weaved in the powerlooms of Anekal, Y N Hoskote, Kollegal, Molkalmur and Tiptur, are now the handiwork of KHDC. The smoothness of silk is now getting the magical touch of the KHDC weavers.

The designs made in the handlooms are more attractive than those of powerlooms thanks to the creativity of the weavers. While it takes two to three days for weaving a saree in a powerloom, the handloom version takes more labour.

It takes a weaver two to three days to make one silk saree, with the help of an assistant. Hand weaving provides greater opportunity for the weaver to experiment with his dexterous fingers, said Dinesh Masurkar, godown incharge of KHDC’s head office in Hubli.

KHDC came out with the ‘Kalamkari’ sarees, comparable to the Kancheevaram variety in quality, three months ago in a bid to provide an impetus to the handloom industry.

The Corporation is selling the sarees at discount rates from August 5 to September 1 to cash in on the festival season. The ‘Kalamkari’ sarees are now on trial sales in the Hubli region and the response has exceeded expectations.

Discounts between 30 to 40 per cent are being provided for the festival season. Sarees worth Rs 11 lakh have been sold in three sale outlets and the godown in the twin cities of Hubli-Dharwad in the last 10 days, said KHDC sources. While a saree with a ‘zari’ border is selling at Rs 8,000 to Rs 9,000 apiece, the one without comes at Rs 5,700 to Rs 7,000 per saree.

“Though Kancheevaram sarees are weaved in the border areas of our State, they are famous as the saree manufactured in the neighbouring state. We are presenting the same variety made in the handlooms of KHDC. The ‘Kalamkari’ silk saree variety joins the elite list of cotton, Udupi cotton, Molkalmur, printed and other silk saree varieties,” KHDC managing director Mohammed Mohsin told Deccan Herald.

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