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Chirala – Famous for Chirala handlooms

Handlooms of Chirala

Chirala handlooms are well known for its designs. Chirala handlooms are made with cotton or this hand woven silk saree from Chirala is having contrast border and hand butta designs in the body woven with golden zari cotton and silk mix.

The count used in weaving gives the softness and hardness of the fabric. The count in a handloom fabric means the number of threads woven length wise and breadth wise known as warp and wept respectively in a square inch. In Chirala counts are used upto 120 (lengths) – 120 (breadths) for soft woven sarees and 40 – 60 for dress materials.

The Chirala Kuppadam solid saree border which is registered under Geographical Indicationsof goods (Registration and Protection) Act 1999. Sri Kurapati Subba Rao who is a master weaver of Iburupalem was awarded National Merit certificate by Indian Ministry of Textiles for the year 2005 for his talent in preparing Kuppadam solid border saree. Around 5000 looms are now preparing Kuppadam sarees.

Dyeing of Fabrics in Chirala

First the yarn is washed and then dipped in the required colour which is in a boiler and the worker goes on turning the yarn so that the colour is evenly mixed in the yarn.

The most important aspect in this process is the mixing of colours which will give unique and durable colour to the fabric. Then it is again washed and dried. These yarns are then starched. Starching of the yarn is where the colour in the yarn will get more permanent nature and gives the yarn a polished look. The starched yarn is brought from the merchants by master weaversand is distributed to weavers. (Master weavers are also weavers but they will be having a group of weavers under them). Then it is turned in a charka. The turning in charka is where the yarn will become thread, which is used for wept.

The loading of yarn in warp is the next process. Then yarn is loaded into the looms. The length of yarn which is loaded as warp is known as Pacham. One pacham of Chirala is 36 yards in length and a weaver can make 6 sarees from one pacham. Once pacham is loaded weaving starts.

Weaving of Fabrics in Chirala

The looms used in Chirala are mostly pit looms. Pit looms are looms which are fixed in the ground level and there will be a pit in which looms peddle will be placed and the weaver will sit on the floor and use his hands and legs to weave.

The weavers are into this profession traditionally. None of the weavers are trained but they have acquired this unique skill hereditarily from their ancestors. The art of weaving is passed on by way of vision and practice. There are no theoretical explanations or training for weaving. Government of India provides training to 100 weavers every year for designing.

The looms are mainly situated in Iburupalem and Perala which is 5 KM each from Chirala. Kalamkari printing is also a specialty of Chirala Sarees. There is an export market for the special quality of handloom cloth produced in this area. The handlooms in Chirala are famous for the softness and durability. The handloom fabrics are soft and comfortable to wear and also suites all the climates.