All About The GI-Tagged Bhavani Jamakkalam Carpets Of Tamil Nadu

Pick up a Bhavani Jamakkalam product, and own a piece from a weaving technique that originated 200 years ago
The standard colours and stripes of the Bhavani Jamakkalam carpet. Credit Wikimedia Commons / Booradleyp1
The standard colours and stripes of the Bhavani Jamakkalam carpet. Credit Wikimedia Commons / Booradleyp1

Tightly knit from coarse cotton yarn in standard, vivid colours of red, blue, green, white, orange, and yellow, the now GI-tagged Bhavani Jamakkalam carpets of Tamil Nadu were first created and marketed in the late 19th century. They were a retaliation to and in competition with British-made textiles, which had flooded the markets.

Woven with rough yarns, jamakkalam handicraft, goes back about two centuries but is now on shaky ground. The rich craftsmanship of jamakkalam seems to be losing relevance in today's world. Bhavani village in Erode district is where Jamakkalam originated and was first woven by the weaver community called jangamars. There are various types of hand looms that are used to create the Bhavani Jamakkalam, including the pit loom and stand loom. Very high on utilitarian value, these carpets were woven in customised sizes. They continue to be used as prayer and dining mats and as seating at various social gatherings.

Bridging Borders

Did you know that Bhavani jamakkalams are exported to countries such as Singapore, Sweden, Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and Italy The very popular Swedish home furnishing brand has been importing Bhavani Jamakkalams, for sale across its stores, since the 90s

A Turn For The Better

As of now, there are only a handful of aged weavers in Bhavani who continue to practice this handicraft, as the competition from power looms has proved to be too tough to beat down. Also, power looms outside Bhavani are still being used to create fake GI-tagged jamakkalams, and it is adversely affecting the actual product. Producing a GI-tagged item, outside its region and on power looms is a violation of the Handloom Reservation of Articles for Production Act 1985. Recently the Tamil Nadu Handloom Weavers' Cooperative Society Co-optex in Chennai took the initiative to revive the Bhavani jamakkalam. They have trained and encouraged weavers in the Kumarapalayam, Mahendranchavadi, Erode, and Salem regions of Tamil Nadu to begin weaving jamakkalam textiles.

Nowadays, to pull in more customers and to cater to the demands of the home d&eacutecor market, the weavers are deviating from the standard bright colours, and creating jamakkalams in pastel hues, other non-traditional colour combinations, and patterns. Additionally, weavers are being introduced to new techniques, which will help them to create designs more suitable for the modern market. Apart from cotton, the combination of different yarns, such as jute and cotton, or silk fibre and cotton, will also help the weavers create newer patterns that generate interest in the market. Also, the Bhavani Jamakkalam is being turned into shoes, bags, clothes, etc., increasing the handicraft's visibility and market share.

The Information

How to get to Erode

By air&nbspThe nearest local and international airports are Coimbatore airport, at 90 kilometres, and Tiruchirapalli Airport at 140 km.

By railway&nbspErode Railway station comes under Salem Division of Southern Railways, connected with Chennai, Coimbatore, Tiruchirapalli, Madurai, Rameshwaram, Ernakulam, Bengaluru, Thiruvananthapuram, Mangalore, Mumbai, New Delhi, and Kolkata.

By road&nbspThe major state highways (SH) and national highways (NH) connecting Erode are the Erode-Bhavani-Metur (SH 20), Erode-Perundurai-Coimbatore (SH 96/NH 544), Erode-Gobichettipalayam-Satyamangalam (SH15), Erode-Kodumudi-Karur (SH 84), Erode-Kangeyam-Palani (SH 83A), and Erode-Sankagiri-Salem (SH 79A/NH 544). 

More information can be had from,&nbspPoompuhar, Tamil Nadu's state emporium, which can be reached here

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