Harshakala handloom exhibition begins

 The much-awaited national handloom expo-2013, Harshakala, started in the City at the RBANMS grounds on Gangadhara Chetty Road in Ulsoor on Thursday.

Minister for Textiles R Varthur Prakash inaugurated the 21-day event, wherein over 90 handloom agencies from across the country will display their finest fabrics.

“Through the expo, the Government of India, provides a forum where handloom products can compete with readymade garments. Last year, the expo earned Rs three crore. In the past five years, around five lakh weavers have benefited from the exposition,” said the minister. The theme of this year’s exposition is ‘Handlooms - A Combination of Nature and Tradition.’

As many as 150 stalls set up across 15,000 sqft will exhibit exquisite collection of cotton handkerchiefs, pure silk and cotton sarees, printed silk sarees, dhotis and a paraphernalia of accessories. Buyers can avail 20 per cent rebate on all handloom products.

Rekha Das, a visitor, said: “I enjoy shopping for traditional handloom sarees at the exposition. The price of sarees, however, is disappointing.  The cost of pure silk sarees has gone up by Rs 300 to Rs 400. Even the price of cotton sarees has increased by 25 per cent. As these are handmade products, I do not mind paying that little extra. But this may not go down well with other visitors.”

On the rise in price of handloom products, Dhanappa Halappa Balkatti, a handloom weaver from Gadag, who has been participating in the exposition for the past five years, said: “The rate of cotton yarn / raw silk has gone up. As a result, we are forced to sell the products at a slightly higher price.”

The exposition, a Central government-sponsored event with State government’s aid, aims at providing a niche market for handloom products.The exhibition sale will conclude on February 12.

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