A group of foreigners visitors from Canada, US and France are in Indian state of Odisha to explore the textile wealth of the state at a time when the state is all set to explore into possibilities to promote niche tourism, this visit will encourage tour operators to include the textile circuit in the itinerary of tourists.
The group of tourist includes 16 Canadian, 7 from the US and one from France. The team will visit a palace-turned hotel in Dhenkanal and travel to Nuapatna, which is famous for its Khandua silk. They will also visit Barpali and Kendupali to see traditional "bandha" saris of west Odisha in the Sonepur and Sambalpur belt.
Charlotte Kwon, tour leader who also runs Maiwa Foundation in Canada to help organic traditional textiles of India, said that he had toured Odisha alone in November last year and discovered the beauty of its textiles. He planned this trip so that more tourists can see these things.
Bhubaneswar tourist officer Sashanka Rath said that the new avenue involving textiles will be interesting as the state is a storehouse of many textile forms, including those from the tribal belt.
The group will visit Nuapatna which is famous for the traditional tie-and-dye (ikkat) saris in silk and the weavers have been creating masterpieces for over 800 years. The group will also observe a natural dye demonstration session and steps in making "Khandua pata" or Khandua silk.
The group will next visit Barpali village to see the work of famous weaver Dayalu Meher, who is one of the sons of national award winning weaver of "bandha" sari Kunjabihari Meher.
The guests will have practical experience of how the famous ikkat saris of the Sambalpuri-Sonpuri region are made as they are known across the world for their intricacies and beautiful designs. After spending time at the textile museum established by Dayalu Meher in Barpali, they will visit the studios of Kendupalli's master weavers.
According to the Joint-secretary (textiles) Raja Parija, the long term project of constructing a mega textiles, handloom and handicraft museum at Gandamunda near the State Institute for Development of Art and Crafts at an estimated cost of Rs 22 crore will also help attract tourists. It is expected to be ready shortly.
Odisha Tourism and the directorate of textiles have requested all master weavers to display their best creations to the guests so that they can go back with wonderful memories.
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