In Karadaga, jali making hangs by a thread

It takes over 300 feet of cotton thread and 60 hours of knitting to make a traditional jali, a sling bag used by Dhangar shepherds. The art of handmaking this symmetrical bag now rests with only a few pastoralists like Siddu Gavade in Karnataka

September 25, 2023 | Sanket Jain
Pattu weaving is fraying at the edges
and • Bandipore, Jammu and Kashmir

Pattu weaving is fraying at the edges

In Kashmir’s Gurez valley, a small and ageing population of weavers from the Dard-Shin community struggle to keep their traditional craft alive

August 25, 2023 | Ufaq Fatima
Kotpad sarees: a weave in time
and • Koraput, Odisha

Kotpad sarees: a weave in time

During National Handloom Week, we look at how competition from cheaper products is threatening the livelihood of Odisha’s skilled Kotpad weavers

August 12, 2023 | Kavita Carneiro

Chalangi’s skilled chatai weaver
, and • Khunti, Jharkhand

Chalangi’s skilled chatai weaver

Jolen Sanga weaves and stiches seamless mats with date palm leaves. A Munda Adivasi from Jharkhand, she is a single parent and agricultural worker

July 16, 2023 | Anjani Sanga
'I work for days and earn nothing'
and • Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir

'I work for days and earn nothing'

Women who spin thread for pashmina products earn very little for this highly skilled work. A traditional occupation, it now has few takers among the younger generation

July 12, 2023 | Muzamil Bhat
‘My hands still have life’
, and • Kolhapur, Maharashtra

‘My hands still have life’

Bapu Sutar, the last remaining wooden treadle handloom maker of Rendal in Maharashtra's Kolhapur district, reminisces about a craft that died six decades ago in his village

August 1, 2022 | Sanket Jain

Varanasi weavers: facing a string of setbacks

It's been hard days for powerloom weavers in the city's Bazardiha cluster – with lockdowns and monsoon flooding. But it’s the UP government’s review of their electricity subsidy that has them the most worried

October 28, 2021 | Samiksha

Karnataka silk route: cocoon farmers in crisis

At Asia’s largest cocoon market in Ramanagara, Karnataka, a lockdown-driven steep fall in prices and disruption of the demand-supply chain has badly hit weavers, reelers and, particularly, silkworm farmers

June 21, 2020 | Tamanna Naseer

MP weavers hanging by a Chanderi thread
• Ashoknagar, Madhya Pradesh

MP weavers hanging by a Chanderi thread

The Covid-19 lockdown has brought the centuries-old Chanderi fabric trade in MP's Chanderi town to a standstill. Many weavers like Suresh Koli are in a fix due to no demand, unpaid dues and depleting resources

May 7, 2020 | Mohit M. Rao

In lockdown, this is no country for old men

A repairman, a weaver and a ropemaker – a Muslim, an Adivasi, and a Dalit, highly-skilled craftsmen – in Belagavi, Karnataka and Kolhapur, Maharashtra. All of them elderly and without work under the lockdown

May 4, 2020 | Sanket Jain

Locking down craft: handmade, hung out to dry

Craftspeople all over the country have been hit hard by the Covid-19 lockdown. PARI speaks to weavers, dyers, toymakers and village artists from north, south, east, west and central India to gauge the fallout

April 7, 2020 | Priti David
A life measured in metres and yards
and • Kolhapur, Maharashtra

A life measured in metres and yards

Only four weavers – among them 82-year-old Vasant Tambe – remain in Rendal village of Maharashtra's Kolhapur district, where thriving handloom karkhanas gave way to falling demand and powerlooms

July 5, 2019 | Sanket Jain

Pulling out threads for 500 minutes every day

Women from Odisha who work from home for the multi-crore textile industry in Surat, Gujarat, are not covered by labour laws, are unable to negotiate better rates, and are seen as unskilled workers

June 25, 2019 | Reetika Revathy Subramanian

Kuthampully weavers: off-white to darkness?

For centuries, they have created Kerala's classic off-white and gold sarees and veshtis. Now, low incomes, an ageing workforce, shifting demand and powerlooms are forcing changes in this traditional occupation

June 19, 2019 | Remya Padmadas
Weaving the story of the pashmina shawl
and • Leh, Jammu and Kashmir

Weaving the story of the pashmina shawl

From Changthangi goats in the Tibetan Plateau to retail stores in Srinagar, the making of the pashmina shawl involves many – pastorialists, wholesalers, spinners, dyers, designers, embroiderers and entrepreneurs

May 27, 2019 | Prabir Mitra
'Copying our designs is not correct'
and • Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu

'Copying our designs is not correct'

Despite a GI certification, the distinctive Toda embroidery of the Nilgiris is being widely copied. This, along with the falling numbers of artisans and a lack of collective action, are adding to the craft’s uncertain future

May 17, 2019 | Priti David
Labouring at the looms of Onnupuram
and • Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu

Labouring at the looms of Onnupuram

Almost every house in this village in Tamil Nadu has a handloom, and the bundles of colourless thread that enter Onnupuram leave for high-end showrooms in Chennai and other markets as rich silk sarees

May 16, 2019 | Anusha Sundar

Weaving a future, metre by metre

In the villages of Chirang district in Assam, where every Bodo home has a loom, Sama Brahma earns a modest income from weaving, and is trying to pass on this waning traditional skill to her daughters

January 3, 2019 | Anne Pinto-Rodrigues

Stitching together an upturn in Sittilingi valley

Lambadi women in Dharmapuri district of Tamil Nadu have painstakingly revived 'ghater', their community’s signature embroidery, and the income from this traditional skill has ended their need to migrate for work

December 14, 2018 | Priti David

Living in the rooms by the looms

Around 8 lakh workers from Odisha, after strenuous shifts in Surat’s powerlooms, stay in rotation in crowded rooms, amid power cuts, scarce water, filth and noise. Illnesses are common, as are stress and alcoholism

October 22, 2018 | Reetika Revathy Subramanian

The great Indian vanishing rope trick

Rope makers were once part of a thriving trade in rural Maharashtra. Now, farmers rarely buy ropes and many others prefer nylon versions. The Bhores are the last family in Boragaon village still hand-crafting rope

September 26, 2018 | Sanket Jain

Laxmibai’s skills hang by a rough thread
, and • Kolhapur, Maharashtra

Laxmibai’s skills hang by a rough thread

PARI volunteer Sanket Jain aims to traverse 300 villages across India and, among other stories, produce this feature: a photograph of a rural scene or event and a sketch of that photograph. This is the ninth in the series on PARI. Draw the slider either way to see the photo or sketch in full

July 17, 2018 | Sanket Jain

Synthetic fabric, authentic despair

Lakhs of migrant workers from Ganjam in Odisha who operate powerlooms in Surat, the country’s polyester capital, risk serious injuries and accidental deaths every day. But desperate for work, they continue

June 12, 2018 | Reetika Revathy Subramanian
From creating carpets to crushing stones
and • PIthorgarh, Uttarakhand

From creating carpets to crushing stones

Women of the Bhotiya community in Uttarakhand’s Gothi hamlet earn an income by breaking quarried stones – and recall a time when their weaving skills brought them respect as well as financial returns

October 31, 2017 | Arpita Chakrabarty

Tussar: the crumbling cocoon

The old weaving skills of Banka district, Bihar, are vanishing due to low returns, poor state support and cheaper imports. Only a few families in Katoria village still weave. This film features some of them

July 7, 2017 | Shreya Katyayini

Ladaiti's colours speak, her designs draw smiles
• Udham Singh Nagar, Uttarakhand

Ladaiti's colours speak, her designs draw smiles

Ladaiti Devi of Salmata village in Uttarakhand is a self-assured and wise warrior, who other women look up to. She tried many ways of earning some money despite her family’s displeasure, until she found her calling in weaving durries – and now her fingers weave a magic that is locally renowned

May 10, 2017 | Puja Awasthi
'The loom is my love, my legacy'
and • Leh, Jammu and Kashmir

'The loom is my love, my legacy'

When he is not farming, Tsering Angchuk of Sneymo village in Ladakh travels with his portable loom to other villages to weave his highly-reputed signature version of a woollen fabric called ‘snamboo’

May 9, 2017 | Stanzin Saldon
Threadbare in Santipur
and • Nadia, West Bengal

Threadbare in Santipur

The handloom weavers of Santipur in West Bengal’s Nadia district have been pushed into a corner by powerlooms and declining incomes – many have left the looms, others are in constant debt

April 19, 2017 | Sinchita Maji
‘Without khadi, I am not there’
and • Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh

‘Without khadi, I am not there’

Despite the slow decline of the renowned handlooms of Dharmavaram, Shankara Dhanunjaya tried to work hard and prosper. But in 2016, at the age of 35, debt and crushing policy changes drove him to suicide

March 28, 2017 | Rahul M.

A muted ‘maggam’, a bleeding block print

Most of the handloom weavers in Pedana in Andhra Pradesh are elderly, as are many of the town’s Kalamkari printers – a lack of state support and poor incomes have impacted both industries and forced the younger generation to migrate for work

January 27, 2017 | Rahul Maganti
Rogan josh
and • Kutch, Gujarat

Rogan Josh

In Nirona village in Kutch, the Khatri family's passion for Rogan art has kept the tradition alive for 300 years

August 22, 2016 | Jaimini Luharia
Weaves of Maheshwar
• Khargone, Madhya Pradesh

Weaves of Maheshwar

In Maheshwar town of Madhya Pradesh, weavers revive a declining craft

May 2, 2016 | NIdhi Kamath & Keya Vaswani

The warp, the weft, and the waning loom

The skilled weavers of Arani, Tamil Nadu, work as helpers in canteens and on buses

April 20, 2016 | Aparna Karthikeyan

The fading weaves of Duajhar

Weavers of Odisha speak of their waning craft and diminishing livelihoods

December 20, 2015 | Purusottam Thakur
The weavers of Walajapet
Sweta Daga • Vellore, Tamil Nadu

The weavers of Walajapet

The story of M. Murugaiya and his family of weavers

December 16, 2014 | Sweta Daga