August 2023
Guledgudda, Karnataka


Guledgudda in the Bagalkot district is home to weavers of the traditional Ilkal sari and embellished blouse pieces. Practised by entire families, the knowledge and designs of the craft have been passed down through generations. The 400-year-old Ilkal sari mixes cotton and silk fabrics to create unique designs while the Khanas have motifs from nature and religious life. However, lowering sales and diminishing income has led to the younger generations of weavers to give up weaving and migrate to the cities for better livelihood opportunities.

Weavers receive Rs 150 a day to weave 4 metres of Khana. The dim prospects have led them to dissuade their children from taking up the profession. Some weavers reported receiving Rs. 650 for one complete sari, split between all members of his family.  Seven people are required to weave one Ilkal sari.

Khana Weaves, started by Ramesh, is an organisation focused towards reviving the art form by working directly with weavers, bringing it more into the public eye, and creating a bridge between the buyers and the producers. Khana Weaves works with 30 hand looms and has been innovating with Khana products to generate new demand. We were hosted by Ramesh, the founder of Khana Weaves, as we tried to understand how weavers practise this historical art form and their socio-economic problems regarding the same.

Alaka S and Jhelum Mukherjee are currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Development at Azim Premji University.

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