Udayavni Special

Udupi Sarees: The drapes that came back to life


Team Udayavani, Mar 8, 2021, 7:15 AM IST

Udupi: After two prominent women from politics – Nirmala Sitharamana and Mamata Banerjee – had their names associated with the centuries-old Udupi sarees, the GI tagged a variety of women’s draping cloth received mass attention it so searingly required.

The manufacturing of this special variety of sarees was left to die a slow death with only a scattered few handloom units in nondescript locations in coastal Karnataka weaving them.

The most badly affected by this downfall were the women as most of those involved in weaving composed them.

Life was breathed into this sector by accident or maybe fortune when in 2016 the Geographical Indication tag was awarded by the name Udupi sarees.

Interest sprouted about them and funds poured into the existing and new weavers’ society but still demands outweighed supply.

Mamata Rai, who wanted to support eco-friendly enterprises for years, started the Kadike trust in 2018 along with others.

The Trust collaborated with Talipady Weavers Cooperative Society at Kinnigoli, near Mangaluru. Initially starting with marketing the Society’s products they now offer courses in handloom weaving.

Rai says that the rejuvenation of the handloom sector in the Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts has vastly encouraged women to pursue a dignified and independent profession.

“Mostly women in these districts would work in shops as salespersons or as beedi workers. Very few had factory jobs. Most of the people coming to our Trust for training are women in their 20’s. They say that the prime motivation to learn weaving Udupi sarees is to have a job that is prestigious and gives them the freedom to work as per their terms,” Rai said.

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