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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Kalamkari art...... Srikakulam not the one near Vizag...

In a first look, perhaps you would not notice anything other than sheets of water in this photo which appeared in The Hindu ~ on a closer look, one might observe something more – but still may not be able to tell what this is all about…….. !!

A frequent traveller via Vijayawada cannot miss Prakasam barrage – over river Krishna.  Krishna River  is one of the longest rivers in central-southern India, about 1,400 kilometres (870 mi). Krishna river originates at Mahabaleswar near the Jor village in the extreme north of Wai Taluka, Satara District, Maharashtra in the west and meets the Bay of Bengal at Hamasaladeevi  in Andhra Pradesh, on the east coast. It flows through the state of Karnataka before entering Andhra Pradesh. The delta of this river is one of the most fertile regions in India and was the home to ancient Satavahana and Ikshvaku Sun Dynasty kings. Vijayawada and Sangli are the important cities on this fast and furious river which at times causes devastation when it flows fully during monsoon. 

Miles away, nearer Odissa, lies Srikakulam, formerly called Gulshanabad (Garden city) during Muslim rule and was headquarters of Muslim fauzdars. It was renamed as Chicacole by Britishcolonial rulers; after independence, it was renamed Srikakulam. This region of Andhra Pradesh was part of Kalinga region at first, and later a part of Gajapati kingdom of Odisha up to the medieval period.  In 1759 the Fauzdhari ruling was ended and British ruling started, Srikakulam  became part of Ganjam district in the undivided Madras province. In 1947 after Indian independence, many including Potti Sriramulu fought for separate Andhra State and Srikakulam became a district of the State.  Perhaps I stumbled upon details of Srikakulam, when I should have been reading and writing on the other Srikakulam, which is a much smaller village on the banks of river Krishna  in Ghantasala (Mandal) of Krishna district.

Kalamkari ( కలంకారి) is a type of hand-painted or block-printed cotton textile, produced in parts of India and in Iran. The word is derived from the Persian or Farsi words kalam (pen) and kari (craftmanship), meaning drawing with a pen. Machilipatnam is famous for its kalamkari craft. Understand that there are two distinctive styles of kalamkari art in India - one, the Srikalahasti style and the other, the Machilipatnam style of art. In  Srikalahasti style of Kalamkari, the "kalam" or pen is used for free hand drawing of the subject and filling in the colours, is entirely hand worked. 

This has a religious identity - scrolls, temple hangings, chariot banners and the like, depicted deities and scenes taken from the great Hindu epics  profound this where only natural dyes are used involving painstaking steps.  In modern times the term is also used to refer, incorrectly, to the making of any cotton fabric patterned through the medium of vegetable dyes by free-hand painting and block-printing, produced in many different regions of India.

The cotton fabric gets its glossiness by immersing it for an hour in a mixture of Myrobalans and cow milk. Contours and reasons are then drawn with a point in bamboo soaked in a mixture of jagri fermented and water; one by one these are applied, then the vegetable dyes. After applying each color on to the motif, the Kalamkari fabric is washed after drying. Thus, each fabric can undergo up to 20 washes. Various effects are obtained by using cow dung, seeds, plants and crushed flowers to obtain natural dye.  Now read this report from The Hindu …….

Kalamkari workers are making a beeline for the banks of the Krishna at Srikakulam in Krishna district, as the water here is crystal clear without effluents, to wash textiles. They undertake the 40-km journey from their hometown Pedana every day during the summer to reach Srikakulam as the canals near their home have dried. The fabrics are laid in flowing water to get the perfect colour. “We believe the sacred Krishna flows for us. In summer, it helps us in two ways: promises ample water and brings out the perfect concentration of colour,” Kalamkari workers G Nagaraju and B. Prasad toldThe Hindu. Their team washes textiles that are meant for export to many European countries.

As written this Srikakulam is a Village located in Ghantasala Mandal in diviseema region of Krishna District, Andhra Pradesh. This place is known for the Srikakulandhra Vishnu temple built in the honor of a king named Andhra Vishnu who reigned before Satavahanas.

The other photo seen here : credits to : /www.india1001.com/

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

3rd Apr 2014.

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