Wednesday 9 January 2013

The village that clothed Tipu Sultan

Today it is a small village about 16 kms from Srirangapatna in Mandya district in Karnataka and about 100 kms from Bangalore. The village is well-known for its sarees and textiles and a small band of dedicated weavers have kept the clothing tradition alive for centuries.
The village has had its share of history. More than 200 years ago, it was known as the village that clothed Tipu Sultan and his royal family.
After the death of Tipu Sultan on May 4, 1799 in Srirangapatnam the Wodeyars who came back to power patronized the village and ordered clothes from them.
Today, Kodiyala, is a small village in Srirangapatna taluk, 11 kms from the district headquarters of Mandya. The village seems to have been forgotten by historians and tourists alike who throng to Srirangapatna and Mysore.
Of course, there are no monuments here. All you can get is clothes but remember that the small community of weavers had supplied clothes to royals of Mysore and Srirangapatna. 
Though the weavers have continued the legacy of their forefathers, the demand for clothes has not kept pace with the inflation and pressing needs of the people.
According to locals, 160 families of the Padmashali community of weavers migrated from Andhra Pradesh to Srirangapatna 300 years ago. Tipu or his father Hyder Ali gave them land near Srirangapatna and the weavers settled down and started their profession.
Their skill at weaving intricately designed clothes soon caught the eye of the royal household at Srirangapatna. The first few orders from the royal family was only a prelude which later would turn out to be a flood of orders for almost every members of the royal family, including Tipu Sultan.
Thus began a long relationship between the community and the royals and the weavers left no stone unturned to ensure that the Royals were clothed in the best of  cotton.
Tipu was reportedly very satisfied with the clothes that came from the village. He is said to have helped the community by giving concessions in royal taxes and importing raw material from abroad.
Munshi Quasim, a courtier and writer of the period, has given us an elaborate description of the dress of the Sultan and his penchant for flowing white robes and turban.
After Tipu, it was the turn of the Mysore royals to patronise the Padmashali weavers. Some of the old timers of the village recall with pride that the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was impressed with the weavers and their skill when she visited
the weavers colony.
Another distinguished visitor was the then Chief minister S M, Krishna. He was so impressed by the skill and design of the Padmashali weavers that he ordered the then KEb authorities to draw a direct power line from Tubinkere power station to the village. This is perhaps the only weavers colony in the State to have such a privilege.
Even today, the weavers produce high quality sarees, dhotis and other cotton based clothes. Of course, they are costly when compared to even branded clothes but remember that these clothes are special.
During the time of Tiu, the clothes were mainly from handlooms. Now almost all the families have switched over to powerlooms, using polycotton threads for better results.

1 comment:

  1. Hi,
    Nobody in India names their own children after Tipu, Aurangazeb, Gaznavi and Babar—because of their cruelty to humanity .
    WTE (waitress turned empress ) is trying to garner Muslim votes.
    Wanna know the truth?
    Punch into Google search TIPU SULTAN UNMASKED VADAKAYIL
    Capt ajit vadakayil