Nourished by the creative and innovative energies of its craftsmen, South India’s textiles have a glorious tradition, dating back to about 50 centuries.
The textiles from Tamil Nadu can be routed on a map, starting from Chennai where simple white vesthis (dhotis) with zari border are woven in villages in and around Chennai. Travel south - west to Kanchipuram, a temple town which was the capital city of the Pallava Empire, which then became part of the Chola and Vijaynagara kingdoms.
From initially weaving Angavastrams or shoulder cloths for the gods to bringing to life some of the most stunning gold brocades of the country, its textile heritage is rich and dazzling beyond compare. The history can’t be complete without the mention of the Kornad sari of Kanchipuram, which was the hallmark of their textiles, and owes much of its revival to the tireless efforts of Rukmini Devi Arundale of Kalakshetra.
Today, sadly, this is a dying craft with a handful of weavers who are engaged in it.
Why you will love it
- Interactions with weavers who are fierce custodians of the tradition of weaving passed on by generations
- Learning how motifs from temples have been translated into elements in a sari
- Diving into its culture, history, and tradition, and learn how none of the raw materials that go into the making of these amazing sarees is local
What you will experience
You will delight in the visit to the Shiva temple, from where the artisans receive inspiration, translating designs on temple walls into motifs and designs on sarees.
Spending time at the looms unravels the amazing journey of yarn to exquisite fabrics come to life. Your facilitator acts as a bridge between you and the artisans, explaining the nuances of the elaborate weaves.
You will discover how the mulberry silk yarn comes from the neighbouring state of Karnataka, the metallic yarn (zari) is interwoven with the silk to give the metallic look comes from Gujarat, and none of the dyes are manufactured locally.
Witness different techniques of weaving and meet a computer designer who makes design graphs for these sarees.
Lunch is arranged at a local eatery with your facilitator. Post-lunch, you get to visit a centre where old Kanchipuram sarees are taken back for recycling. You will also meet some more weavers and visit a couple of stores where you get an opportunity to shop for exquisite sarees.
Please note this is an indicative listing of interactions; the final schedule is dependent on the availability of artisans, at the time of your breakaway.