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Shocking: It Takes 20,000 Movements to Make One Saree

  • 15 Sep 2019
Shocking-It-Takes-20-000-Movements-to-Make-One-Saree

Many parts of India—Kanchipuram, Banaras, Chanderi—are popularly-known for the handloom sarees. The rural Indian economy used to thrive because of this art. However, in pursuit of cheaper and mass-manufactured powerloom sarees, many are forgetting the uniqueness and hard work of these handloom sarees.

What Are Handloom Sarees?

Handloom sarees are fully handmade, woven on a loom that is made of ropes and wood. It's a work of art, the ultimate definition of endless efforts. It takes over 20,000 movements of hand and leg to make a single saree, depending on the intricacy and design of the saree. An entire generation of handloom weavers is struggling to find a market for their creations as the increase of fake handloom sarees and middlemen intervention affects their business.


Today, in Karnataka, there are fewer handloom weavers left as compared to about 30 years ago—there were nearly 3,000 weavers in the city of Udupi.

India Times reported that 'as powerlooms (saree manufacturing machine) pushed handloom weavers out of the business, India lost much of its heritage fabrics. the sarees were first to fall, with many regional handloom weaves quietly erased from public memory.'


However, this centuries-old art is now being revived. Thanks to the efforts of the government for their 'IWearHandloom' and 'The Handloom Day' initiatives. Let's hope the tradition and art continues.

Here's a sneak peek of Udhayanidhi Stalin and Tamannaah starrer 'Kanne Kalaimaane' that got us curious about handloom sarees:

Did You Know?

- According to handloom weavers in Karnataka, it takes 3-5 days to produce A SINGLE SILK SAREE using conventional methods.
- In Kerala, a simple saree can consume 1 day while wedding sarees can take up to 1 week to complete.
- The constant movement of hands and legs on the loom often lead to joint problems. Still, the weavers continue to uphold their art.
- According to a 61-year-old handloom weaver, the demand for handloom fabric was much higher 30 years ago. An entire village depended on the earnings. However, the demand has shifted to machine-made fabrics
- Sometimes the weavers get ripped off by middlemen. For e.g. a handloom weaver in Kerala claimed that a saree bought for mere Rs 750 from him was being sold for Rs 5,150 plus delivery.

Now that you know the work and passion carried by every handloom saree, try to buy and wear them or even gift them to others to support the art and its weavers. 

If you would like to know more about India's art and heritage, let us know in the comments or simply inbox us!

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Source: Scroll India, Gounesco, New Indian Express, India Times
Photo Credit: Quora, Ketto, Vapusa, Filmibeat, South India Fashion, Twitter