Ilkal Field Notes

Ilkal Field Notes

The Deccan Herald of Bengaluru last month published an excellent article by Geetha Rao on the Ilkal saree, which reminded me of my visit to that legendary weaving centre in March 2001. Here are my notes of the visit:

The Guleds of Ilkal are textile merchants. Phaniraj Konappa Guledís father was Konappa Guled, and his father was Chandappa, son of Rajappa. Chandappa began working, while he was still a teenager, as a gumastha [clerk] in a saree business, and then went on to set up his own business at the age of 50 in 1875. Phaniraj, today, is about 60 years old. The next generation continues in the business: Phanirajís son Vijay Kumar and his brotherís son Praveen. Praveen has a degree in Textile technology from a Raichur college. The Guleds belong to the Swakula Sali jati. The product they deal in is just one, the Ilkal saree, characterized by its indigo dyed cotton yarn and its distinctive design of a plain, striped or checked body, the indigo cotton in both warp and weft being alternated with silk or with Ďchamkaí, art silk [rayon].

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