Venkatagiri sarees are known for their fine quality and workmanship and despite trying times have not lost their lustre to this day. The undimmed spirit of the weavers and their families has ensured the continuation of a tradition that has contributed immensely to Indian ethnic fabrics.
Venkatagiri saris are woven in silk or cotton, accompanied by attractive prints with subjects from flora, fauna and nature, and supplemented by elegant zari borders of varying widths and eye-catching designer pallus. The motifs are very attractive and chosen according to the occasion.
The quality of a Venkatagiri saree is borne out by the fact that even a jacquard woven saree cannot match the pattern work of a Venkatagiri saree. The figure work that is done is exceptional yet the cost of the saree is comparatively quite cheap. The embellished and spotted patterns give an artistic touch with the interweaving in golden zari making the saree look exceptional.
The Venkatagiri handloom saree, was once patronized by royalty for its weaving excellence. It is today sought after as an ethnic fabric of unique and long-lasting qualities. Continuing the tradition and sustaining this unique art of weaving is a sizeable population of the town, who have retained the old traditional art of weaving with new trends in keeping with the taste of the market and the present-day highly competitive and changing conditions.
There being a lot of experimentation, the variety and range of Venkatagiri Handlooms is phenomenal. The Jamdani Zari Saree, has ‘Jamdani’ prints on a Cotton base and a Zari border, which has fetched laurels from all quarters. It is a must for exclusive occasions. The handloom silk variant with motifs of mango, parrot, animals, birds and other themes of nature made from gold or silver zari, has a more traditional grandeur and feel about it, that make it apt for social occasions. There is an Institute of Handloom Technology, which attracts those wishing to make a career in Handloom fabrics, and have weaving as part of their practical curriculum. This also benefits Venkatagiri as a hub that subsequently has graduates to stay on to provide their knowledge, in suggesting new designs and modern techniques to implement in the traditional craft.
There are several stages involved in the making of a saree. Selection of the fabric yarn – silk, cotton, jute, linen, art silk or blends, coloring of the fabric yarn, spinning the yarn into threads of uniform thickness with long continuous lengths, weaving the threads into a fabric, making the additions to the basic weave like prints, painting, embroidery, patch borders etc. The stages could also vary with the variety of the fabric based on additional features specific to the variety.
So too with the Venkatagiri fabric.