Express news service
BHUBANEWAR: With the aim of integrating the centuries-old heritage of Maniabandha handlooms with tourism, the Looms and Textiles Department has started working on the development of a tourist center of the Buddhist village of Maniabandha in the village. of the Cuttack district.
The department plans to set up the center on an area of 6,000 square feet in the village which will house a state-of-the-art communal facilities center, a demonstration center and clothing training which will be managed by Apparel Training & Design. Center (ATDC) India, tourist facilities (cafeteria, toilets, rest huts) and a mini museum to present the Buddhist culture and the artisanal heritage of the village.
In the Maniabandha Handicraft Group which includes the village of Maniabandha, Badamba and Athagarh, there are 20,734 weavers, producing traditional tie and dye and Khandua Patta sarees. They own 14,108 looms. Of these, the village of Maniabandha under the Badamba block has 688 weavers with 624 looms. The cotton and silk sarees woven here with hand-spun yarns dyed in traditional plant colors have won a global market for their unique designs and texture.
Located near the ‘Diamond Triangle’ of Lalitgiri, Ratnagiri and Udaygiri, Maniabandha is one of the largest Buddhist villages in Odisha with over 520 Buddhist families. All of them are engaged in manual labor. There are eight Buddhist temples in the village.
Interestingly, they follow both Buddhism and the Jagannath culture which is reflected in their weavings. Whereas everywhere else silkworms are boiled alive to obtain silk fiber, the weavers of Maniabandha extract the silk thread from the cocoons thrown by the worms.
“Maniabandha’s saris and other hand-woven products are known around the world for their designs and texture, but we want to integrate them into Buddhist and rural tourism through this project. The center will play a dual role. It will not only provide vocational training for weavers in the garment industry, but also allow a tourist to witness various stages of production and procure hand-woven products directly from the weavers without the intervention of the weavers. ‘intermediaries,’ said JP Das, director, Textiles.
He informed that the project will help to better brand Maniabandha products and will also serve as a platform to showcase the progression of weaving from the beginning until it is today for a curious tourist. The project would arrive in a year with an expenditure of Rs 2.85 crore. Officials said that although the land for the center has been identified, a tender has been issued for the construction of its various components.