Chennai: Taking a cue from the frenzy surrounding Athi Varadhar, the fig wood idol of Lord Varadarajan Perumal taken from water once in every 40 years, just doesn't seem to die down. Weavers from Anakaputhur, a small neighbourhood in Pallavaram have now come up with sarees with the images of the reclining deity embellished on the pullos.
The sarees weaved entirely from vegetable organic fibres like organic cotton, banana, bamboo, neem, turmeric and tulsi leaves measure about six-and-half metres in length and takes 15 days to complete.
Speaking to Deccan Chronicle, C. Sekar, president, Anakaputhur Jute Weaver's Association said, "These sarees are completely consumer-friendly since they are made entirely from organic materials. They are not heftily priced as we see this as an act to propitiate Lord Vardha and seek his blessings."
The initiative also has the approval of Kanchipuram collector and HR & NC department. The weavers' community in the region composed predominantly of women, had earlier produced jeans. Anakaputhur was once considered commercial hub for traditional weaving business. However, the 2015 floods in Chennai deeply impacted the livelihood of these people, who say the number of handlooms in the region dwindled to below 150 from 5,000 in the past.
Sekar, who himself belongs to the third generation of weavers dejectedly notes, "Many foreigners visit us every year to see our saree and handicrafts collection. When the Prime minister visited Tamil Nadu for the National Handloom Day in 2015, he even wore a shawl woven by us. Despite all this, we have received no compensation from the State government."
He said that they have still not been issued even identity cards as per law....