I first heard of the Udupi saree in 2018 when I bought a couple from Maanini Vastralaya. I wrote about it as well – An Udupi Sari. My mother is still using the saree that I am wearing in that post. She refuses to let go of it because its soft and very comfortable.
More recently I started following this FB page purely by chance – Udupi Saree Revival. As I have not been active on FB, I sent a message to the WhatsApp number mentioned in the page regarding these revival sarees. I was interested because, the Kadike Trust which is running this revival project is training many young women and men in weaving the Udupi saree. That’s what I wanted to support.
Ms. Mamatha Rai is the founder of Kadike Trust and she gave me the following details about the Udupi Saree revival project.
Weaving has a tradition of 4500 years in India. Udupi Sarees are one of the finest example of this tradition. These delicate looking but strudy sarees lasts for generations together and later used as bed spreads, soft baby wraps and kitchen towels before being decomposed and has almost zero carbon footprint. Udupi Sarees are made with the finest single ply pure cotton yarns and dyed locally in soothing colours.
Udupi Sarees are woven in the geographical region of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts. 90% of weavers are from Padmashali( Shettigar ) Community.Sarees are woven using fine 40, 60 and 80 count single ply combed cotton yarns and has a very long life.
Udupi sarees are woven using Malabar frame loom introduced by Basel Mission. The Sarees have plain or checkered design on the body with contrast colour on pallu and border. Unique practices like dyeing pallu portions of entire warp of the saree in dark shade after preparing the warp, applying starch on the loom while weaving, using cut border technique to weave checkered sarees, weaving motifs using extra warp technique are some of features which brought Udupi saree GI tag in 2016.
Production of Sarees are carried out at Five weavers Societies : Udupi, Shivali, Brahmavara, Padupanamboor and Talipady and a KHDC unit.
Udupi saree having a history of more than two hundred years had a flourishing time till 1980. Later Udupi saree weaving went into to a diminishing mode due to various reason and became nearly extinct with only forty two Udupi Sarees Weavers working in two districts. In this grim situation,Kadike Trust Karkala , in association with Talipady weavers society started Udupi Saree Revival program in 2017.
After the intervention of Kadike Trust, the Brand Udupi Saree has been created with beautiful label with logo and weavers details, Weavers are being honoured, weavers remuneration increased , some weavers have comeback , new weavers are getting trained by the Trust with the financial assistance by NABARD , Young weavers coming to weaving is happening after two decades.
Talipady Society’s Weavers number increased from 8 to 25 and 10 fresh trainees adding to the total number of 35. Udupi Saree weavers number increased to more than 60 in two districts.
Naturally dyed Sarees and eco friendly VAT dyed Sarees are woven at Talipady Weavers society. Talipady Weavers Society became the first authorised user of GI tag for Udupi Sarees.
Now Udupi Saree has got customer base from all over India and abroad too.
Udupi Saree Weaving is one of the finest examples of ecofriendly rural livelihood which gives job opportunity to many.
In this crucial time of climate emergency, it is the duty of conscious buyers to support this sustainable rural livelihood by Prebooking Udupi Sarees and other handloom products.
I bought a few sarees from this project and they are an absolute pleasure to wear. The 60 count ones are softer and the 40 count Yaksha saree (checked) is a little coarse.
All these saree are pure cotton, handwoven, inexpensive and the weaver gets the money to make ends meet even as they sustain the art form ! Please do support the revival project by buying the Udupi Sarees from Kadike Trust. Many fake handloom sarees are being sold, so please ensure that you buy the genuine stuff from reliable sources.
To buy a genuine Udupi Saree, please contact Ms. Mamatha Rai @ +91 98808 35299.