Amidst the many weaves, handloom and weaving communities in East Godavari district, the village of Angara holds a special place. Jaya Siva Murty brings the story.
Resplendent in the many kinds of cotton and silks that are woven here, one is awed by the colours, designs and finish of the fabrics at Angara. A little village in the winding lanes of the scenic East Godavari district, this is where one finds an array of colourful Jacquards, buta saris, dress materials, kinds of cotton, Kuppadam silks, and much more. Painstakingly created on a handloom, the weaving community here takes pride in the work it does, as it works on bringing new designs on the loom.
The President of the Ganapati Handloom Cooperative Society, Sri Venkateswara Rao shares that they have even received awards and recognition in the past, both from the central and state government. Established in 1975, the society has come a long way with a community of approximately 800 members and 400 looms. The history of the weave dates back to many generations, however, and one would learn the work from the generation before them. He too learned to weave from his father when he was very young, he adds.
The process of weaving is a long and tough one, and many of the weavers here are in their 40s or are older. Involvement of the youth is lacking, he shares, adding that they prefer to take up other jobs instead. But the society does its bit to encourage whoever it can. Women weavers are encouraged, through various schemes, funds, and benefits. However, there is still scope for improvement shares Venkateswara Rao. “While we extend all benefits towards our community of weavers, it would be wonderful to have a good health scheme that gets them healthcare benefits as well.”
Talking about how they maintain freshness in design, he shares that they constantly keep a tab on the market, and try to create something novel. They have thus been able to bring fine kinds of cotton, buttery Uppada silks, classy slab yarn saris and much more. Then there are the time-tested classics which are a quintessential part of the community. Today many of the sales happen from their center at Angara, where many visitors tend to frequent, due to proximity. Sales also take place from their centers in Rajahmundry and in Dwarapudi as well. With the handloom scenario in Angara faring much better than other weaving communities, revival and engagement of youth are much needed for this beautiful work to continue.
How to get there?
The four and half hour journey by road from Vizag touches Rajahmundry and then takes you to Angara via the Jonnada – Yanam river bund.