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Telia Rumal : Ikat of Andhra Pradesh

Ikat/Yarn Tie & Dye

Telia Rumal : Ikat of Andhra Pradesh

In Andhra Pradesh, ikats and brocaded silks are woven under the supervision of master weavers in their homes. The richer the silks woven the better the wages; the weaver who makes plain silks does not earn much. Tie-and-dye weaving is concentrated in Pochampalli in Nalgonda district and Chirala in Guntur district.

The craft involves a delicate and elaborate process in which the warp and the weft are tied and dyed according to a predetermined design. Both cotton and silk are used. A special item called telia rumal (literally ‘oily handkerchief’), is a unique tie and dye technique that uses oil for the treatment of the yarn that helps it retain softness and has a distinct smell of gingelly oil. The earlier patterns used to be strictly geometric or vegetal patterns due to the preference of the patrons, but after 1930s the craftsmen started incorporating figurative elements like lions, elephants, birds, clocks and even aeroplanes, which required better weaving skills. It is no longer handkerchief-size pieces that connoisseurs can buy. The families involved in weaving now create saris, dupattas, dress materials and other made-to-order pieces with the same techniques and exotic patterns. Using just three colours: red ranging from crimson to orange red, brown red and maroonish red, white and black the craftsmen create their magic.

The patola or ikat saris of Pochampalli have a large variety of geometrical designs; the patterns are more pronounced at Chirala. A great variety of cotton lungis or cotton sarongs (draped around the waist ) for men are also woven in Andhra Pradesh, often with some ikat designs in the body or on the border. The exquisite saris and telia rumals of Pochampalli and the Asia rumals of Chirala were exported from India even in ancient times. Now the market for them has increased to a great extent and the craft flourishes to this day in these centres

Recently, Puttapaka in Nalgonda secured the coveted Geographical Indication tag,  is now on the global map as the centre for a handloom technique known as Puttapaka Telia Rumal.

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