Shawls of Almora, Uttarakhand

The Almora district of Uttaranchal comprises the Kumaon region that has evergreen forests, meadows and lakes. The Almora town is situated on the banks of river Kosi. The kumaonis are the farmer communities who terrace their fields. Spinning and weaving is a common domestic activity. The shawls of the Almora region are made with nettle fibres that grow in abundance in the region.

The nettle or bichchu buti grows wild as undergrowth particularly in Almora and Chamoli region. These stem fibres are pliable and thus easily woven into fabric. The nettles are harvested by the villagers and stem retting is done in the river for few days. Once the stem softens and swells the stalk is beaten and thrashed on boulders to release the fibres. The fibre is bundled up and sold to the weavers. The weavers treat the raw fibres as per the finish required. The fibre is brown in appearance. This fibre is spun into yarns and knitted or woven into shawls. The other products made of nettle fibres are stoles and bags.

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