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Kothapalli Handloom Cluster
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Kothapalli Handloom Cluster

Under Integrated Handloom Cluster Development Scheme (IHDS)
Ministry of Textiles, Government of India,
Door No. 9-8-93 (E-1 Shed), (APCO Premises) Industrial Estate, Padmanagar, Karimnagar,
KARIMNAGAR-505 002, Telangana State, India.
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Andhra Pradesh State Handloom Weavers Cooperative Society:

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Capturing a timeless tradition in fascinating fabrics since 1976

The Andhra Pradesh State Handloom Weavers Cooperative Society popularly known as APCO, is a cooperative of traditional handloom weavers of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. This is under the control of Department of Handlooms and Textiles of Government of Andhra Pradesh. The organisation owns a number of shopping outlets in Andhra Pradesh. The Society was registered in the year 1976 with registered No.T.P.W.44 under the Andhra Pradesh Cooperative Societies Act Trading name APCO
Native name ఆప్కో
Industry Hand looms
Founded 1976
Headquarters Andhra Pradesh, India
Products Silk and Cotton Fabrics
Owners Government undertaking
Employees 466

History of Handlooms in India:

Handloom weaving in India is still largely a household enterprise, as well as being predominantly a rural activity (with the exception of Maharashtra). It has conventionally been one of the most promising sectors of huge employment. In fact, after agriculture,this industry is largest provider of work force. The abundance in the raw materials, thecontinuous supply of cheap work force is the contributing factors behind the success of the weaving industry of India.

The origin of the art of weaving in India:

Fragments of woven cotton and bone needles have been discovered at Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa, the ancient seats of the Indus Valley Civilization.Even the Rig-Veda and the epics of the Mahabharata and the Ramayana dwell upon the craftof weaving at length. These weavers of the past were true masters of their craft. Such wastheir capability that legend even refers to the fabulous semi-transparent saree (a greattechnical feat) worn by Amrapali, the famous courtesan. Indian cottons and silks wereexported in huge quantities, causing concern among the Romans because their wives couldnot have enough of these beautiful fabrics! Fragments of cotton fabric were also found in theEgyptian tombs at Fostat, China too was another big importer of Indian fabrics in ancienttimes. Moving ahead, silks were exported to Indonesia in the 13th century, India alsoexported a lot of cotton and chintz to Europe and the Far East before the advent of the BritishEast India Company.

Types of weaving traditions in India:

a) The Rural: Representing the familiar, unchanging images of rural life. These are abundantlyfull of joy and life, with figures of plants, animals and humans.

b) The Classical: Revolving around royalty and court life. Here the forms and symbols varied according to the patronage of the ruler. Symbols and myths were rendered graphically, with elegance andstyle.

c) The Tribal: These were usually bold geometric patterns and weaves in strong primary colours usuallywoven on simple bamboo looms.

Reasons for long-term survival of the industry:

Thus the art of weaving started some 10,000 years back. It was onan individual basis. That is, the weaver worked from his home andthe family members assisted. This form of working still exists inIndia. After the invention of spinning and mechanised weavinglooms, this activity became production oriented and required to be funded as machine wereexpansive and beyond the reach of individual community weaver. Gradually, spinning millsand weaving mills came to existence and after industrial revolution in 19th century; the simple crossing of threads became a completely industrial activity. Weaving and spinning millscame in to existence, employing thousands of workers.

Handloom Weaving & Embroidery Styles in India:

Pochampalli:- Pochampalli is a place in Andhra Pradesh, which is worldfamous as Silk City. Almost 100 villages in this region are involved inweaving Pochampalli saris. What makes them exclusive is a perfect mix of history, tradition, culture and modernity. With the use of traditional looms,Pochampalli sarees are woven intrinsically beautiful.

Brocade:- The art of weaving is quite popular in Indi, since the old times. Ithas been creating wonders and getting huge acclaim from world over for their distinctive style. The basic cloth required for this form is silk as it is quitedurable and stylish. Some of the weavers also make use of a mix of silk andcotton. With a variety of silk and cotton fabric available in India, one can getto see uniqueness in every piece. It is usually done in Varanasi in the state of Uttar Pradesh

Baluchari:- The art of Baluchari weaving came from Baluchar, a place near Murshidabad. Its best feature is that of using human brocade figures for decorating pallu and borders. What makes this weaving style more elegant isthe use of fine quality silk and silver zari work. Generally, in this pattern, theground colors are beige, red, blue and pink with contrast colored borders. Theentire masterpiece of Baluchari work enables the wearer to adorn a touch of grace and stands out of crown for being exclusive.

Jamawar:- The art of Jamawar was brought to Kashmir by Persians, centuriesago. But, it grew and reached its zenith in the Mughal period. From that timeto now, the art of Jamawar reflects a perfect blend of beauty, warmth andluxury. What made this style exclusive is the design based on flora and fauna.In fact, the most demanding patterns have been jaldar and buti work. Jamawar style of weaving is quite famous for a mix of creativity blended withtraditionalism. Its beauty lies in the stylishness of intricate designs.

Paithinai:- Belonging to the state of Maharashtra, Paithani art is known for fine weaving of embroidery and complex bleaching/ dyeing of the material. Itis, in fact, a merger of ethnicity and classicism

Ikkat:- Ikat is quite well-known for classy thread work, along with tie and dye process. Famous in Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa, this weaving style isknown by various names in different towns. It is the intricacy and beauty of the Ikat that has made it popular worldwide and a favorite among many people.

Chanderi:- Chanderi is a town near to Gwalior, which is famous for handwoven silk sarees. This style of weaving is considered to be extremely finewith intricately woven borders. Saris designed from this art were exclusivelyknown for their gossamer shimmer and delicacy.

Maheshwari:- The Maheshwari saree is quite famous for its sheer beauty andgossamer thin blend of silk and cotton yarn. This weaving art is carried outeither on a pure cotton fabric, or a mix of silk and cotton. It is characterized bygeometrical motifs, such as small checks or stripes made on the cloth withdark colored border. It belongs to Maheshwar a small town in MadhyaPradesh

Jamdani:- The art of weaving Jamdani started years and years ago that findsmention in Kautilya¶s Arthashastra. . Jamdani is a patterned piece of muslincloth used for embroidery during weaving process. It, usually, containsgeometrical and floral patterns dyed in a light shade. After this, the designs aredrawn on it using colors like maroon, white, green, black, silver and goldencolor.

Kota:- The style of Kota Doria started 200 years ago, when some weaversfrom Kaithun (near Kota, Rajasthan) used to weave coarse plain fabric. Withunique patterns and motifs, this design form has enabled people to showcaseculture in the best possible form. The uniqueness of this art lies in its stylishweaving with colorful threads and intricate motifs.

Handloom Trends & Traditions in India:

The handloom industry acts as the backbone of Indian culture and tradition. With a huge variety of designs, printing techniques, weaving art and materials used, the field of Indian handloom has created magic all over the world. Each and every state of Indian territory has a gift of designer handlooms to offer. Phulkari from Punjab, Chanderi from Madhya Pradesh, Tie and Die from Rajasthan and Gujarat, Ikats from Andhra Pradesh and Orissa, Daccai from West Bengal, Brocade from Banaras and Jacquard from Uttar Pradesh are some of the jewels that have been dazzling all over the world.

Andhra Pradesh Handloom Traditions:
Andhra Pradesh is distinguished for its handlooms and exclusive designs. The looms of Venkatagiri, Pochampalli, Dharamavaram and Narayanpet are famous for their cotton and silk saris. In fact, Andhra Pradesh has a rich treasure of Kalamkari style of printing. This style is carried out with the help of blocks. Another example of this state’s individuality is seen in Gadwal saris. These saris, generally, have the body of cotton and pallu or border in silk. This style is known worldwide for the perfect blend of cotton and silk. One can also see gold and silver zari work on the dress materials and saris of Andhra Pradesh. Another jewel in the handlooms of Andhra Pradesh is Chirala textiles. Chirala is a place in Andhra Pradesh, which is well-known for producing best fabrics. The weavers, generally, use wax and clay for smearing over the fabric on the loom. Finally, the fabric is dyed in different colors for giving them a distinctive look. With such a rich wealth of handlooms traditions, Andhra Pradesh seems to be the home of creative artists and weavers.

Assam Handloom Traditions:
Assam is a state that attracts visitors with its beauty, tranquility and style of handloom culture. It is famous for Muga and Eri silk varieties, which has natural yellow golden tone and becomes glossy with every wash. The quality of silk is so good that its durability is world famous. Even, its fineness is the plus point that has the tendency to attract anyone. The silk rearing in Assam began in the reign of its first king, Sukha-Pha in 13th century. This shows that the state of Assam has the expertise of making best silk. Along with this, it is also known for fine embroidery and prints in vibrant colors. The best part of the handloom in Assam is that they have maintained a level of originality and traditionalism. And this traditional touch has been seen with special vibes creating an everlasting impression in the hands of tribal clans. In fact, many industries have shown interest in this sector and have helped the art of Assam to reach in every corner of the world.

Gujarat Handloom Traditions:
The state of Gujarat has always been famous for folk art forms, whether it’s the matter of dance or handloom. The handloom sector in Gujarat has a bag full of weaving and printing styles. The prominent one is that of Bandhej, which is known as a spectacular tie and dye process. Another one to check out is Jari work, which showcases rich embroidery done with gold and silver threads. After all, Gujarat has got an opulent culture of elegant handlooms. The weavers of Gujarat have that artistic knack to create a style statement out of simplicity. This state is also a home to Mashru style of weaving silk with cotton. It is a fabric woven with a permutation of cotton and silk, which is popular among masses for bold patterns and vibrant colors. Another example of Gujarat’s excellence lies in the art of block printing (Dhamadka and Ajrakh). The handloom lovers can select from brocade saris finely woven with silver and gold threads, called as Ganga and Jamuna. Well, the road to Gujarat’s popularity does not end here. It moves further with Tanchoi weaving art and Patola silk fabric. This seems that Gujarat has a variety of handloom structure that can quench the thirst of any handloom lover.

Jammu & Kashmir Handloom Traditions:
The state of Jammu and Kashmir is famous for its eternal beauty. It is not just the beauty of mountains that add to the glory of this state; rather, one can also explore the exquisiteness of handlooms. From weaving very fine designs on the carpets to using vibrant colors on shawls or woolen handlooms, Jammu and Kashmir has created magic all over the world. Designers use Pashmina material for the shawls as it is warm and soft. In fact, it is the purest form of wool. At sometimes, Pashmina is also mixed with silk to give shiny look to the material. Apart from this, carpets tend to hold equal importance. The designs and colorful threads weaved on them shows off Mughal impact. Popularity of Jammu and Kashmir does not end on this. Its world-famous embroidery, called Kasida, is a good example of class and richness. In fact, this state has an exquisite talent in the field of handloom. With the vibrancy of handloom styles in Jammu and Kashmir, styles are getting news ways to express itself.

Karnataka Handloom Traditions:
Karnataka is world famous for Mulberry silk and Ikat weaving designs on them. The art of making fine silk has given this state a reputation of being largest Mulberry silk producer. It is the process of boiling silk worms and making silk out of them that enables the tourist to learn something new about the traditional style. Since, silk is known for glimmer and royal look, the quality of this product is seen in most parts of Karnataka state. With so many varieties of silk in India, handloom sector has always been gaining significance in the fashion world. The beauty of silk material or fabric is enhanced with bold designs of Ikat art style. Ikat is known to be a weaving style that makes use of resist dying process that involves tying the material, applying wax on it to resist extra dye and dipping in the color for fine impressions. Apart from this, the Mysore silk saris are well-known for their fineness and 100 percent pure golden zari work. These saris, generally, have thickly woven borders that make the saree look royalish.

Madhya Pradesh Handloom Traditions:
The art of handloom weaving and designing lies at the heart of Madhya Pradesh. It is the refinery in the textile weaving of this state that has made it famous among the people willing to go for something unique and different. Popularity of handlooms in Madhya Pradesh is due to the Chanderi style of weaving. Saris are hand-woven with sheer texture and glossy transparency. The material used in the saris is cotton and the motifs woven are inspired from nature, such as birds, trees, flowers, fruits and heavenly bodies. Indeed, handloom lovers can also take a pick from zari bordered bags, wall hangings and bed spreads. It is the artistic style of Madhya Pradesh that introduces everyone to the exclusivity of the state. From carpet weaving to using different kinds of embroidery styles, textile printing, weaving of silk and many other traditions, Madhya Pradesh has always carved a special identity for itself. The weavers, printers and designers in this state keep themselves updated with the ongoing trends for catching-up the pace.

Orissa Handloom Traditions:
Orissa is known for its artistic heritage of textiles. Bandha or Ikat in Orissa is the art of weaving stylish motifs of animals, birds, shells and other traditional designs by using sober and vibrant colors. These designs are, generally, woven in the fabrics of cotton and silk. Some of the textiles are also designed with a mix of Bandha and Bandhej (Tie and Dye) process. Along with this fine art form, Orissa is also known for its Bomkai thread work that features flamboyant borders and heavily embroidered drapes with touches of Ikat. The designs of Orissa’s handloom art are based on tradition and ancient times. The textile industry in Orissa is the proof of artistic capabilities and superior craftsmanship. Generally, the weavers make patterns of wedding customs, temple rituals, geometrical figures and natural scenes on the borders of the sarees. They are, usually, woven with golden and silver thread that tends to create a shimmery effect and make the saree or dress material look gorgeous piece of art.

Punjab Handloom Traditions:
The very mention of Punjab reminds us of royalty and richness prevailing in the heart of people. And the same is visible in the handloom sector of this state too. Though, Punjab is primarily an agricultural state; still, the art of touching senses with the style of handloom has a special place in this state. Famous for phulkari embroidery, the women of Punjab are almost busy in making beautiful designs. In this folk art form, when the embroidery is done closely and entire piece of cloth is covered; it is known as “Bagh”. This Phulkari work is seen, generally, on shawls, suits and dupattas. The embroiderers make use of vibrant colors to match the prosperity and the tone of celebration in Punjab. Apart from the gift of Phulkari embroidery, Punjab is also known for weaving stylish durries. The durries are known to be pile less cotton spreads used on bed or floors. With various kinds of patterns, such as animals, leaves, flowers and birds weaved in different colors; this art form is taught to the girls in a very young age. It is the handloom traditions in Punjab that has found a special place in the heart of people, staying worldwide.

Rajasthan Handloom Traditions:
It is the aroma of royalty that is present in the style of Rajasthan, even in the handloom sector. What one can find best in the handlooms of Rajasthan is Chunari and Bandhej style of tie and die printing. This art is carried out by tying a small point on the cloth and dying the entire cloth in different colors. On opening the cloth, one can see white spots on the tied portion, which is known to be Bandhej. On the other hand, the style of Chunari showcases a perfect combination of tie and die, along with direct printing. In this art, the wooden blocks with nails are used for printing. And later on, the nailed parts are tied with threads to prevent the effect of dye. In these two styles, Rajasthan artists have created an aura of style. In fact, hand block printing is quite famous in the parts of Sanganer, Jaipur and Bagru. Even, Barmer is well-known in the handloom industry for red and indigo colored geometrical Ajrakh prints and Chittor for Jajam prints. Along with this, another specialty of Rajasthan is quilt making. These quilts are available in Sanganeri prints with tie and dye material, which is known for softness. With so many varieties in the field of handloom, Rajasthan is a favorite spot for buying such materials.

Tamilnadu Handloom Traditions:
The state of Tamilnadu is known for its Kanjeevaram silk saris. It is the weavers of Kanjeevaram town that makes the use of heavy and rich designs woven on pallu and borders with heavy golden threads. And the inner side of the saris have lighter kind of embroidery weaved, so as to highlight the traditional rich work on pallu and border. Even, the blouse is woven in same style to give a royal look to the entire piece of art. After all, with the use of golden and silver threads, traditional motifs and customs are introduced to the world. This enables the Tamil people to make others familiar with their customary practices. In this contemporary world, the weavers of Anakaputhur in Tamilnadu have been experimenting with aloe vera fibers to make designer and stylish sarees. Such kind of beautiful sarees can be bought at reasonable prices also, which enables the weavers to earn more while giving creative trends to the Indian handloom sector. These creative innovations in Tamilnadu have turned a lot of heads towards this state for classy handloom materials.

Varanasi Handloom Traditions:
Varanasi or Banaras is famous worldwide for a spectacular collection of silk saris. In fact, it is considered as one of the prominent centers for silk weaving and trade in India. The saris, here, are made up of finely woven silk and are decorated with intricate designs that give it a heavy look. Usually, one can see gold and silver brocade work on these saris with lavish making them look ethnic. The best thing about these saris is that they are the example of finest quality silk material. Such kind of sarees are quite appreciated and considered apt for a variety of functions, especially weddings. It is the refinery of weaving silk into beautiful attire that has made Banaras quite famous among fashion followers. The popularity is such that, even the fashion designers have created a style statement with their unique designs of Banarasi sarees in Bollywood. By maintaining the traditional touch of these sarees, various fashion designers have experimented with the trends.

West Bengal Handloom Traditions:
West Bengal is known for sweetness in the nature of people. They know the art of stylizing fabrics to create innovative designs. The crowning glory of designer fabric is the Bengal’s Daccai Jamdani. This weaving style is carried out painstakingly on an old fashioned Jala loom. The art is so fine and weaved carefully that making of one saree can take a year long. Daccai Jamdani is a weaving style meant for heavy embroidery and party wear. Apart from this, West Bengal is also famous for other kinds of Jamdani designs that can be worn casually also and are available in lesser range than Daccai. Tangail, Shantipuri, Dhoneokali and Begumpuri are some of the other Jamdani styles. Bengal is also well-known for Baluchari style of weaving. At the time of kings and queens, this weaving was done in entire silver zari. And now, the weavers make use of silver with a mix of other colored threads also. In fact, one can see human brocade figures adorning borders and pallu of a silk saree. With this style of weaving, the entire piece of saree looks astonishing and gets a royal touch. This all shows that West Bengal has some of the best known weaving styles in the world.

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