Kullu shawls are renowned across the world for their simple yet
elegant designs. These shawls exhibit the artistic skills and
creativity of the craftsmen of Kullu, a district in the state of
Himachal Pradesh, India. Made of fine woolen fabric, a kullu shawl
is worn both by men and women. However, men’s shawls are called
Loi or pattu and are mostly plain, bereft of any pattern or
design. Kullu shawls feature geometrical patterns on both ends and
beautiful floral designs may run all over. The base of a typical
Kullu shawl is mostly black, brown, or gray in color and the
designs and patterns are made with bright colors such as red,
blue, pink, orange, green, etc. Each design may have up to eight
colors. With the increasing demands of customers from different
parts of the world, the craftsmen of Kullu have now started using
even pastel colors for the base. This makes these shawls appear
eye-catching and suitable for wearing on special occasions such as
weddings and festivals. Kullu shawls are mostly made of three
types of wool i.e. Merino wool, Local sheep wool, and Angora wool.
Sometimes these different types of wool are combined to form more
varieties. They are also crafted in Yak’s wool, Pashmina, and
other handcrafted material.
The process of crafting a Kullu shawl is time-consuming and
requires excellent skills. The tradition of making these shawls
has been followed by the local people of Kullu for many decades
and the skills are passed down from one generation to another. Let
us look at the steps involved in this elaborate process.
A fine variety of wool is the most important raw material for
producing Kullu shawls. The selection of wool for weaving depends
on the type of designs or patterns and the texture required.
After the selection of high-quality wool, it is allowed to spin
as a thread on a spinning wheel. The extracted yarn is then
wounded into a bundle.
The woolen threads are loaded onto the spindles that are
inserted into a fly shuttle. Multiple colored yarns are combined
together and added to the shuttle. The local artisans of Kullu
still use the traditional method of weaving on the pit and frame
loom. The loom is geared up and the weaving is completed.
Once the weaving process is done, a fine fabric is obtained and
now the artisans begin fabricating traditional designs
(geometrical shapes and floral motifs) by hand using
After the embroidery is done on the shawl, it is made ready to
be put for sale purposes. This is the last step of the making
process in which extra threads from behind are cut and removed
for giving it a finished and flawless look.
These handmade Kullu shawls have admirers from all over the world
and their cost depends on the variety of wool used, the type of
design fabricated, and other factors. The price usually ranges
from Rs. 1000 to 10,000. Despite their expensive cost, people love
to wear these shawls because the designs are elegant and the
warmth of the wool is comforting.
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