Weavers – Gadwal saree

Fascinating History of Weavers of Gadwal Sarees:

Engulfing our senses with their rich silk pallus and borders and fascinating colors, the Gadwal sarees are as interesting as intriguing is the history of the makers of Gadwal sarees. Shatika takes you on an un- trodden journey to the land of Gadwal.

The wondrous creation of Gadwal sarees is one of the fascinating creations of the Telugu weaver community called Swakool Sali also spelt as Swakulasali, Swakula sale or just Sali. Sali in Telugu means ‘Spider’. Symbolizing the weaving activity with the spider’s web, while the word Sali was coined for weavers, this community is the direct descendant of Lord Jeeveshwar Maharaj, the one who was born from the tongue of Lord Shiva.

The legend goes that when Adimaya requested Shiva to create a Punya Purusha who could weave exquisite clothes then as per instructions from Aadimaya, Shiva created a child from his tongue (JHIHVE) and goddess Parvati named him ‘Jeeveshwara – the one born from tongue’. The first piece of cloth woven by ‘Jeeveshwara Maharaj’ was a sari for Goddess Parvati  and so his clan came to be known as Swakul Sali which means those who gave their first saree to their clan goddess Parvati.

As Jeeveshwar Maharaj was born at sunrise, they are also called Suryavanshis. Marathi is the primary language spoken by the Swakulasalis. Salias are of Brahman origin with command over Rigveda and Samaveda. There was a time when they were travelling from one place to another to spread their Vedic knowledge while using their skill of weaving for earning their bread and butter.

Blessed by the weaving prowess of the great Jeeveshwara Maharaj himself, weaving sarees is not just a profession for Gadwal weavers but a way of life. Talented and adept at making wonderful cotton, silk cotton and pure silk Gadwal sarees, they can weave a six yard saree in such a way that it can be folded down to the size of a small match box.

Impregnated with such rich cultural history, it is indeed sad to know that Gadwal weaving is a dying art today.Younger generation of weavers is reluctant to continue the tradition and is looking for greener pasture as they think it is not only a poor income generating profession but also a profession that is looked down upon.


References: http://wpedia.goo.ne.jp/enwiki/Swakula_Sali



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