News: The saris produced by this power loom weaving hub near Salem have found fans everywhere, thanks to social media.
Elampillai saris come in a variety of styles and colours, but most of them are soft-textured and have a jacquard self-design that improves their drape considerably.
Silk is a natural protein fiber, some forms of which can be woven into textiles.
The protein fiber of silk is composed mainly of fibroin and is produced by certain insect larvae to form cocoons.
The best-known silk is obtained from the cocoons of the larvae of the mulberry silkworm Bombyx mori reared in captivity (sericulture).
Silk is produced by several insects; but, generally, only the silk of moth caterpillars has been used for textile manufacturing.
Silk has a long history in India. It is known as Resham in eastern and north India, and Pattu in southern parts of India. Recent archaeological discoveries in Harappa and Chanhu-daro suggest that sericulture, employing wild silk threads from native silkworm species, existed in South Asia during the time of the Indus Valley Civilization (now in Pakistan) dating between 2450 BC and 2000 BC, while “hard and fast evidence” for silk production in China dates back to around 2570 BC.
India produces a variety of silks called Mulberry, Tasar, Muga and Eri, based on the feeding habit of the cocoons.
India is the second largest producer of silk in the world after China. About 97% of the raw mulberry silk comes from six Indian states, namely, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Jammu and Kashmir, Tamil Nadu, Bihar and West Bengal.
In Tamil Nadu, mulberry cultivation is concentrated in the Coimbatore, Erode, Bhagalpuri, Tiruppur, Salem and Dharmapuri districts. Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, and Gobichettipalayam, Tamil Nadu, were the first locations to have automated silk reeling units in India.
India is also the largest consumer of silk in the world. The tradition of wearing silk sarees for marriages and other auspicious ceremonies is a custom in Assam and southern parts of India.
Silk is considered to be a symbol of royalty, and, historically, silk was used primarily by the upper classes.
Silk garments and sarees produced in Kanchipuram, Pochampally, Dharmavaram, Mysore, Arani in the south, Banaras in the north, Bhagalpur and Murshidabad in the east are well recognized.