Handloom and its importance

Handlooms bring to our mind an image of the father of our nation spinning yarn and making cloth. We have a come a long way since then, with the invention of the powerlooms, yet handloom products are an integral industry catering to a niche market.

As we all know Kanchipuram is synonymous with silk and silk sarees. Silk sarees in Kanchipuram are all products of the handloom. These sarees are famous for their softness, durability and are suitable for all climates.

Handloom silk sarees are woven with silken threads along with the metallic threads of gold and silver. Artisans work on it to produce a unique creation on the borders, the pallav and the body of the saree. In a typical Kanchipuram silk saree, the border, body and pallav are woven separately and then interlocked together.

These sarees are an effort of labour. It is a traditional art where the weavers having aquired the skills from their ancestors, pass it on to the next generation.


These handloom silk sarees are given their due importance on all festive occasions and marriages all over India.

The disadvantage of the handloom is the limited scope of designs. Certain motifs and floral creations are standard and creativity is limited to the extent possible. Yet within these limits the artisits manage to create a work of art that is exquisite and everlasting.

Today of course a range of handloom cotton sarees are also manufactured which are just as well known as the silks.

Over the years, power looms have taken over and the introduction of synthetic materials and other cotton mixed varieties of fabrics, used for a range of products, have become popular due to its durability and easily maintainable texture. Production on powerlooms is also a lot easier than handlooms.

The power loom sector produces more than 60% of cloth in India today, while the rest 40% is still handloom. Traditional looms are still utilised in large numbers due to the preference of silks and certain varieties of cotton.

Although, handloom and power loom caters to altogether different classes of consumers, in India there is still a large demand for handloom sarees and products and will continue to be so as long as traditions are upheld.

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