Handlooms symbolise cultural wealth and the skill of weavers worldwide.

Trichy: From Weaving Hub to Solitude – The Last Woman Weaver in Tamil Nadu’s Textile Legacy

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In the thriving days of the Chola dynasty, Uraiyur was renowned for its weaving prowess. Today, Weaver’s Colony in Uraiyur stands as a testament to this historical legacy, preserving the ancient art of weaving. The Rajakesari Highway, once a bustling trade route, connected Urayur to the Bhoompukar port, transporting exquisite textiles produced in Chola Nadu worldwide.

In those days, boat traffic between Uraiyur and Poompuhar was a common sight, navigating the Cauvery River—a vital waterway for inland cargo transportation. However, the echoes of this vibrant past have faded, with only Indrani, a 75-year-old woman from Weaver’s Colony, keeping the tradition of boat transport alive.

Reflecting on her lifelong connection with handloom weaving, Indrani shared, “I’ve dedicated nearly six decades to handloom weaving, following the footsteps of my family. Education came second to our ancestral trade. My son and daughter-in-law have embraced this tradition too. Sadly, the rising cost of cotton yarn has posed challenges, making our business less profitable.”

For generations, the handloom weaving industry provided sustenance for many, enabling families to earn a livelihood. Weaver communities, once flourishing in places like Karur and Tiruppur, earned around Rs 600 per day, covering their daily expenses, including education costs. Women, often unsung heroes in this sector, played a significant role within their homes, weaving intricate fabrics and preserving cultural heritage.

However, the changing dynamics within the handloom sector, coupled with the rise of power looms, have marginalized these women artisans. Despite their invaluable contributions, the economic challenges faced by the handloom industry have impacted the livelihoods of both weavers and their communities.

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