Weaving six yards of grace

Weaving six yards of grace

Bhagyanagar, which lies adjacent to Koppal town, is known for its thriving sari industry. The saris woven here, known as Bhagyanagar saris, are much sought after in markets across the State and even outside. Along with Bhagyanagar, clusters of weavers in the neighbouring villages of Alavandi, Kinnala and Dotihala are also engaged in sari making.

According to an estimate,  over 700 people get direct employment from this industry and more than 500 people are indirectly benefitted. The fact that 980 of 1,197 powerlooms in Koppal district are present in Bhagyanagar indicates that it is a sari-making hub.

Bhagyanagar came into existence as a resettlement area for the people whose villages were submerged due to the construction of Tungabhadra Dam. “C N Shatri, who was in charge of the work, hailed from Hyderabad and hence, he named the area as Bhagyanagar, the past name of Hyderabad,” says author H S Patil. People are traditionally engaged in the production of saris here. Thus, one can find powerlooms in many houses here. Some people own multiple units, the maximum being 50. Those who are into large-scale production run a sales outlet too.

There are many such in-house showrooms in Bhagyanagar. Fortunately, there is a healthy competition and they try to attract  customers by improving the quality and design. Though famous for cotton saris, the weavers of Bhagyanagar also produce printed, cotton silk and semi-silk saris. They dexterously weave different designs into the saris, while prints are done in specific places in Andhra Pradesh. Though there are ginning mills in neighbouring districts, these weavers buy cotton bales from Coimbatore, which they feel are of superior quality. “Dyeing is done locally. Some of the colours are prepared locally, light hues are sourced from Andhra Pradesh and dyeing powder is bought from Atul industrial village in Gujarat,” says senior weaver Yamunappa Kabbera. 

Unlike its counterparts like Ilkal and Kanjivaram saris, Bhagyanagar saris don’t sell using their village’s name in the brand. But the quality, designs and texture of the saris have made them popular among people from a wide cross-section of society. “Our customers include teachers, social workers and stars of the tinsel town. Word of mouth promotion has proved to be beneficial,” says a textile manufacturer.
  
Every day, around six saris are produced in a powerloom. Dress material and blouse pieces are also produced here apart from saris. The daily turnover of Bhagyanagar textile industry is about 10 lakh. Though the saris are popular in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra are the major markets. Prices of the cotton saris range from
Rs 500 to 1,800 in the production unit’s outlet. “I like the colour and the traditional look of these saris. They have a good range for different occasions,” says Shobha, a customer. Apart from saris, Bhagyanagar is also known for its significant contribution in the fields of education and literature.

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