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The marvel of a Mangalagiri weave

by Sundari Silks 12 Feb 2021
The marvel of a Mangalagiri weave
With a namesake town that translates to 'The Auspicious Hill', Mangalagiri weaves are a testimony to the region's centuries-old craftsmanship. It dates back to about 500 years, and at present, there are over 5000 master weavers in this small weaving town in the Guntur district. The defining trait of a Mangalgiri weave is its minimalistic motifs, tribal embellishments, temple designs, a plain body with an intricate border and detailed zari work.

Sarees are a narrative element and a poetic expression of the land, its community and culture. Much before it became a renowned saree destination, it has been an important pilgrimage site for devotees visiting the hilltop Lord Panakala Narasimha Swamy Temple. According to ancient traditions, pilgrims had to purchase a saree woven by local artisans as an offering to the Lord. This custom helped enhance the livelihoods of the weaving community as well as boost its popularity. Soft, feather-like and divine, the pure cotton drapes from Mangalagiri are loved for its durability, breathability, and sheen. 

The weaving technique of a Mangalagiri saree is highly elaborate and includes multiple pre-loom processes. Before the fine 120 count cotton yarn is dyed into a spectrum of shades, it is made free of impurities and stickiness by boiling, soaking, rinsing and drying it. This yarn is then stretched out and sprayed with rice congee to give it a glossy texture. This also ensures that the colour of the dye lasts longer. Did you know that the efforts of at least 30 people are required before the yarn is made ready for the pit looms? 

Another distinct feature is that the fabric is woven only pit looms, as it helps in exerting maximum force and results in a tightly knit weave. The plain body is accentuated by a zari border, with the most traditional one being the Nizami border. It is up to 2 inches thick and is made entirely out of pure gold zari. The designs on this border usually revolve around symmetrical gopuram and tribal motifs that are inspired by the regional art and architecture. 

Aesthetic and artistic, every inch of its six yards is profoundly beautiful and requires maximum care to maintain it. When it comes to caring for a saree, it is important to understand the nature of the fabric, the types of dyes used and the various embellishments employed in adorning it. Ensure you don’t squeeze, wring or brush your Mangalagiri cotton saree to remove dirt or stains. Soak it in water with a mild detergent and hand wash it gently. This helps in preserving its handiwork for a long time. 

Every handloom makes for an heirloom piece that speaks volume about our country's culture and traditions. Keeping up with our vision to uphold and carry forth this weaving legacy, we have at Sundari Silks feature a vast range of handcrafted Mangalagiri weaves. 
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