With as many as 23 top designers of international repute and around 400 traditional weavers roped in, the only handloom park of Asia will be unveiled at Chanderi in MP’s Ashoknagar district in February next year.
“It took us 14 years to bring this up. Chanderi is a place where there is this fine mélange of architectural and living heritage. While the former features state-of-the-art buildings and decades-old construction, the living heritage is the weaving of Chanderi. We had to work on renovating both and therefore this much time,” says Jyotiraditya Scindia, Congress MP from Guna.
The park will comprise six building blocks, which will provide all basic facilities to the weavers. “There’ll be designated workshops, offices, eating area and even play area for weavers’ children. All the operations like planning, collecting raw material, weaving, product manufacturing, packaging and marketing will be happening here, so weavers won’t have to go anywhere for anything,” says Scindia.
Currently, there are around 5,000 looms in Chanderi and more than 9,000 weavers.
Initially the park will have space for around 300 looms, which can be increased later on. When asked about the park’s benefit, one of the weavers, Manohar Lal Kohli says, “It’s not about the number of looms or weavers included in the park. It’s about the opportunities. Right now, we get orders by middlemen, who then sell our product. After the park starts its operations, we will be meeting our end-user directly. This way, we can easily address buyer’s expectations and problems.
“Secondly, when big companies and designers will come to the park, the other weavers will also be benefitted as all of us would work for Chanderi and not only the park.”
A Bhopal-based fashion designer Anubhuti Beohar says, “It is a big boom for weavers in Chanderi. They will be provided with all the infrastructure needed to weave – the loom, yarn and they will be trained on software like auto cad and aravis. Also, after sometime, they will be given e-commerce training.”
She adds, “Most of the weavers in Chanderi used to tell me that they would not ask their children to weave because they don’t get its worth, but now they will get work and even make profits as they will be trained to do so.”
Water arrangement for the park, spread over 35-acre land, has been made from the Rajghat Dam, situated 14km away from Chanderi. Connectivity to Chanderi is also being improved. “The nearest station Lalitpur is just 2-hour drive from Chanderi and all the major trains stop at Lalitpur now. We are working more on the connectivity,” says Scindia. “We are developing the place as a tourist attraction as well,” Scindia adds.