The Manamedu sarees have earned their reputation for being durable and gorgeous cotton-zari sarees that imbibe the culture of South India. These sarees have a tremendous amount of cultural significance attached to them. Moreover, the design of these sarees can be seen as simplistic, yet contemporary which makes them the perfect fit for everyone. The elegant stripes done on them, make them stand out and also make the wearer feel graceful and beautiful.               

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      Introduction:

      Usage:

      • Mainly women prefer to wear the Manamedu cotton sarees on a daily basis, as the weather is hot and these sarees are light and provide the required comfort.
      • The usage of the Manamedu sarees also ranges from daily wear to other occasions, depending on the type of the saree. The zari saree can be worn for special occasions whereas the cotton sarees with simple motifs can be used on a daily basis.
      • As they are available in a variety of options, these sarees are worn by the woman of every age group and it accentuates their curves and brings out their inner beauty.
      • Temple festivals form the foundation of South Indian culture. On various temple festivals that are specific to this region, women adorn themselves in beautiful cotton and silk sarees, attach flower garlands in their hair, and wear heavy jewelry.

      Significance:

      • The word ‘sattika’ has been mentioned in early Sanskrit literature which evolved to become the word, ‘sari.’ This also signifies that wearing a saree imbibes the spiritual qualities like sattvikta and chaitnaya, especially the one made using natural fibres like silk and cotton, like the Manamedu sarees. Thus, along with looking beautiful, these sarees also have spiritual significance.
      • Every region in India has its own way of draping a saree, especially in the earlier times, the saree was only draped according to the native style and thus became significant to that region. This can be seen even today in the rural regions of India. The saree drape also differs according to the caste, the marital status of the woman as well as her profession and the weather of the region.
      • This Manamedu cluster is gaining more acclaim and appreciation over the years and is becoming increasingly popular in Tamil Nadu. With the significant strides that are being taken by the government and the weavers, these sarees, with their different colour shades and patterns, hold the potential to become as popular as the Kanchipuram saree. Therefore, the Manamedu sarees offer a promising future market and sales.

      Myths & Legends:

      Saliyar weavers:

      • The history of the Sthala Puranam of Nalladai revealed that a person named Saliyar, belonging to a backward community, undertook the hospitality of a famous religious guru named Visaka Maharishi. Later as the result of his guru’s respect, he became a Rishi called Saliya Maharishi. Then he entered into wedlock with two wives.
      • The generation was created through his first wife called Saliyar; through his second wife called as Mottai Saliyar. The people named as Mottai Saliyar were sheltered at Mayiladuthurai (Mayavaram).

      Devanga weavers:

      • The Devangas trace the origin of their weaving tradition to a sage called Devala Maharshi.
      • According to this tradition, Devala Maharishi was the first person to weave the cotton cloth and to give it to the king, who up until this time had been using animal skin.
      • When Devala was taking the cloth to the king, demons came to attack him. Goddess Chowdeshwari (Chamundeshwari, a form of Durga, a warrior Goddess created by the Gods Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra, to fight the demon Mahishasura), perched on a lion, fought and vanquished the demons so that Devala Maharishi could give the cloth to the king.
      • Since then, till today the Devanga weavers worship Goddess Chowdeshwari before starting the process of weaving.
      • When the king got the cloth, he was really pleased with it and ordered the Devala Maharishi to weave clothes for everyone in his kingdom. This tradition was then continued by the sons of the rishi, who are now known as Devangas.
      • The devanga weavers are also said to be born from the organs of all the deities, to weave clothes for them and cover their bodies.
      • This is where the get their name devanga from, here ‘dev’ means god and ‘anga’ means organ.

      History:

      • The Woraiyur cotton sarees produced in Manamedu, get their name from the region of Woraiyur. It was ruled by the Varma Pallava I in 590 AD.
      • In 880 AD the Pallava king was defeated by Aditya Karikala Chozhan and he took over the kingdom. This was followed by the Pandya Dynasty, Mughals and then the Britishers.
      • The region being located near the river Kaveri, it was an important hub for the trade of spices, textiles and gemstones. Especially the textile trade was huge, as the cotton hand woven here was of premium quality.
      • Woraiyur was also known as Uraiyur and it was a huge trade hub for European traders.
      • Alongside the cotton, the muslins used here was also one of the finest in the world, according to the Greek traders. They called the muslins ‘Argaritic’ and the cotton ‘Tuhil’.
      • The Cholas introduced around 32 types of cotton during their time and made this region a prosperous cotton hub, as described in the Tolkappiyam and ‘Silapathikaram’.
      • According to ‘Seevaga Chintamani’, ‘kanjii’ or the liquid remained after boiling the rice was used to starch the cotton and silk textiles produced in Woraiyur. These were then perfumed using the smoke from the frankincense.
      • The history of the Manamedu saree is also the history of its weaver communities, that is, the Saliyar’s and the Devanga.
      • Both of these communities today can be found in different regions all across Tamil Nadu and have been engaged in the activity of weaving for generations. Even though both of these communities can be found in Manamedu today, they have different historical processes attached to their emergence and development.
      • In Indian society, after agriculture, most of the population has earned their livelihood through the process of weaving.
      • Tholkappiyam, ancient Tamil literature, reflects weaving in its poems.
      • The archaeological experts revealed that the weaving technology was invented during 2000- 3000 B.C.

      Saliyar weavers:

      • When we look at the Saliyar community of weavers, we find that this group of weavers was initially settled in Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu and was called the Sali community of weavers.
      • Today, there are five sub-divisions of Saliyar Community classified as Saliyar, Padma Saliyar, Pattu Saliyar, Adaviyar and Pattariar.
      • However, after some time, these weavers had to migrate from Kanchipuram to other areas such as Madurai, Trichy and Tanjore due to the problems created by the rulers of Kanchipuram.
      • As a result, these weavers settled down in different villages and towns across Tamil Nadu, including Manamedu.
      • From the beginning, the Saliyar community were vegetarians however they subsequently converted to non-vegetarians due to the changes in their culture.
      • This community is largely devoted to the worship of Lord Shiva and Lord Murugan.

      Devanga weavers:

      • The Devangas are also a community of weavers found in Manamedu who weave cotton zari sarees.
      • Devangas are of Brahmanical origin.
      • They are Prakrut Brahmins (meaning brahmins by birth).
      • The majority of them are weavers of silk and cotton clothes.
      • There were also famous Devang kings like Boja Raja of Ujjain (Uttar Pradesh, India).
      • Many were also warriors during Vijayanagar times, according to warrior stones found in Hampi, Karnataka. Their native state was the kingdom of Ujjain where even to this day they form the major community.
      • Their chief deity is Chowdeshwari (Chamundeshwari).
      • They are typical Kshatriyas of the South and can be compared with the Rajput and Thakur of the North.
      • As is typical with other castes, Devangas became an endogamous unit of weavers, either due to caste rules or due to typical social conditions of India.

      Design:

      • The earliest designs of saris from this cluster were plain bodied, with a small Resham (zari) line and a small Pallu.
      • The cluster was retrieved as a sari weaving body 50 years back, before which, it was the center for weaving white cotton dhotis only.
      • Tamil speaking Saliyar community and Devanga who also speak Telugu are involved in the weaving practice today.
      • 500+ looms working out of 1000 households in the village produce these lightly woven cotton-zari Manamedu saris.
      • These are mostly earthy and dark colored, mid-range, daily wear saris for women of all age groups in Tamil Nadu and outside.
      • The colours found on these sarees are mainly contemporary, as they are preferred by the women and are also great for daily wear. These kind of sarees with an addition of zari in the stripes and motifs are also made, worn during festivals or special occasions.
      • Earlier the zari thread used, was made out of pure gold, which is now replaced by imitation zari thread, mainly made out of plastic.
      • About 60% of the total lot today is made in dark colours like purples, maroons, browns and greens as this is the preferred pallet of south and the rest 40% in bright yellows, oranges and reds, for the more experimental city women.
      • Borders range from simple plain to Pettu, as well as tie and dye designs with colorful traditional short Pallus.
      • The artisan usually explores geometrical motifs; straight lines with motifs woven with art silk & mercerized cotton, making them standout.
      • Mainly these saris come in plain, striped & checked patterns. Some of the borders found here are the V Banaras border, the electric bulb border, the diamond border, Mukku (flower bud) border and the fish borders.

      Challenges:

      There are a large number of challenges that are faced by the weavers of Manamedu sarees as well as the overall handloom industry.

      • The average income of a weaver in Manamedu is just 6000 Rs. They have to work day and night to earn enough to sustain their family.
      • The mediator or the master weaver used to procure the products from the weaver for very less amount and then sell them in the market for a much higher price. In this the weaver just get a little amount, not enough to continue to weave. Though the establishment of Co-optex, somewhat resolved this problem, as it has made arrangements in the village wherein they get the product directly from the weaver, giving them the money they deserve and selling it to the consumer, making sure it reaches the people in its authentic form at an affordable price.
      • Government spending is mainly directed towards the agricultural sector and other prominent sectors due to which the handloom industry is often ignored. In particular, the handloom industry of Tamil Nadu faces a problem with alack of financial facilities. Various commercial banks have failed to provide the cooperative societies with resources and this has directly failed the cooperative movement in Tamil Nadu.
      • At the same time, there has been an unexpected sprout in the power looms which has led to a scarcity of yarn.Therefore, the main challenge is the lack of yarns. This points out the need for the government to supply yarn to the handloom industry. There has also been a sharp increase in the cost of production of these textiles due to which there has been a challenge in the process of selling. This is further worsened by the problem faced by this industry in the marketing of its products and the pressures of globalization. It has been suggested that the government must take more initiatives to modernize the power loom sector to make it more competitive domestically and internationally. Thereby, highlighting the need to improve the infrastructure in the industry.
      • The COVID pandemic was a major hit for the already vulnerable weavers. As the sales became almost nil. The previous orders were cancelled overnight, leaving the weavers with a huge stock of products and no payments. Their debts also increased.
      • Even co-optex had to stop buying sarees from these weavers, as the demands of the same decreased in the market. This resulted in the decrease of the production of the Manamedu sarees.
      • Only around 30 families are involved in the weaving of these sarees now, this number used to be over a hundred but since now, the weavers are not able to earn enough, they are leaving this occupation and also putting an end to their ancestral legacy. They have to leave this occupation, which was more than merely making sarees, it gave them pleasure and for some it was the only thing they had been doing since years.
      • These weavers shut down weaving, and take up jobs of mason at construction sites or others offered by the MNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act). As here their income is more sustainable.
      • There is also very little awareness about these sarees among people, as they are not publicized enough. Even though co-optex has been doing it, more work needs to be put into it, so that it creates a niche for itself in the market and the legacy of weaving these beautiful sarees continues.
      • The younger generation is also not interested and looking at the financial aspect, the current weavers also do not want their kids to join the handloom industry and instead they study and work in other industries with more earnings and less suffering.

      Introduction Process:

      Weavers from Manamedu of Trichy district are exceptional in incorporating smart and unusual designs in their Sarees. They are woven in soft 80s cotton with minimal thread work but high contrast in the borders and pallu. These sarees are made out of soft cotton yarn which are dyed in a variety of colors.


      Raw Materials:

      • Paavu (Mercerised organic cotton thread bundles): Procured from the National Handloom Textile Corporation in Coimbatore and dyed at the government approved dyeing center in Woraiyur local dying units or in nearby villages like Jayankondam. A regular 80s warp, 80s weft and 80s warp, 2/100 mercerized cotton weft is woven. Thirty yards to produce 5 saris are set in one warp.
      • Half-fine (artificial) Zari: Procured from Surat is used in the border.
      • Rice starch: To starch the threads on the loom itself.
      • Kerosene: Sprayed on the yarn in diluted form, during monsoon, to stop insects like grasshoppers from biting the threads.

      Waste:

      When we look at the waste generated from the saree weaving and production, we come across two noteworthy points, these are- cotton waste from pre and post customer usage and water after dyeing.
      Cotton can be recycled from pre-consumer (post-industrial) and post-consumer cotton waste. Pre-consumer waste comes from any excess material produced during the production of yarn, fabrics and textile products. For example, selvedge from weaving and fabric remnants from factory cutting rooms. On the other hand, post-consumer waste comes from discarded textile products. For example, used apparel and home textiles.
      During the recycling process, the cotton waste is first sorted by type and colour and then processed through stripping machines that break the yarns and fabric into smaller pieces before pulling them apart into the fibre. The mix is carded several times in order to clean and mix the fibers before they are spun into new yarns. The resulting staple fibre is shorter than the original fiber length, meaning, it is more difficult to spin. Recycled cotton is, therefore, often blended with virgin cotton fibers to improve the yarn strengths. Commonly, not more than 30% recycled cotton content is used in the finished yarn or fabric. Since waste cotton is often already dyed, re-dyeing may not be necessary. Cotton is an extremely resource intense crop in terms of water, pesticides and insecticides. This means that using recycled cotton can lead to significant savings of natural resources and reduce pollution from agriculture. In fact, recycling one tonne of cotton can save 765 cubic metres of water. This ensures that the wastage is curbed and environment-friendly methods are adopted.
      Another form of wastage that takes place during the production of cotton sarees is that of the water left after the dyeing of the yarn. Most of the time, chemical dyes are used for dyeing the yarn, the water then left is polluted and harmful since it contains chemicals A lack of proper waste disposal techniques makes it worst and contributes to environmental pollution and water wastage.


      Tools & Tech:

      • A Two Peddle
      • Single Dobby, single shuttle (Nada) Raised Frame Pit Loom is used
      • Paavu Vadis: Knee-level stone pillars
      • Kandus: Plastic Frames
      • Nool Raatai: Spinning wheel
      • Parns: Small Bobbins

      Rituals:

      • The weavers worship their deities, Goddess Chowdeshwari for the devanga weavers and Visaka and Saliya Maharishi for the saliyar weavers. This is religiously done before starting the process of weaving. As the weavers believe that the deities protect their looms and also ward off all the negativity, so that the weaving happens smoothly.
      • Some of the weavers also worship their loom and apply some of the Chandan or the sandalwood paste on it before weaving as it is considered auspicious and also brings abundance, wealth and prosperity in the lives of the weavers as well as the one who wears the saree woven on that loom.
      • At times the weaver also places a photo of some famous political leader or an actor are also placed alongside the photo of a deity near the loom. The weavers seek both their blessings and start weaving.

      process:

      • The cotton thread bundles once procured and dyed, are starched using rice starch
      • Warp is usually set by someone from the society and the process of sizing is carried out on the streets.
      • Starch is applied on the yarns stretched between the paavu vadis or the knee-level stone pillars. This is done to remove the frayed ends and the faulty parts.
      • The yarn for the weft is spun by the women onto a plastic frame called kandus. It is done using a homemade spinning wheel, Nool Ratai.
      • From it, they are transferred to small metal drums called the Dabbas, to keep it moist and prevent from becoming brittle.
      • From these Dabbas it is again transferred to small Bobbins (Parn), to be fitted in the shuttle.
      • After every 10 inch of weaving, the woven part is given a starch coating.
      • Tiny motifs of peacock eye (Mayil Kan), mango (Keri), diamond, sparsely scattered on a plain dark background speak much about the visual vocabulary of the natives, who live in rather similar terrains of dark or red alluvial soil, at times fresh with green drapes, but sparsely sprinkled with hutments.
      • Beliefs based on symbolism; whether it is through the trident sculpted right at the entrance of each house or the Tilaks decorating foreheads of their men, women and looms alike, give birth to a rather graphic vocabulary seen in their evident and elaborate Pettu borders, flourished with traditional motifs like Mango, Vanki, diamond etc. forming the quintessential base of the beautiful saree.
      • A weaver can take around three days to weave a saree.
      • From one cotton pavvu (a bundle of white thread), five sarees can be produced in 10 days.

      Cluster Name: Manamedu

      Introduction:

      Like the strings of an old violin closely attuned with his master’s call, the thread of life that passes here sings with harmony. Fresh cut green bunches of Banana carried by women on their heads, trailing along the border of the road, with their saris held just above their calves and a sway in their walk, is still a scene prevalent in the village of Manamedu. The greenery in this region is like a breath of fresh air and the beautifully handcrafted Manamedu sarees compliment the colours of the surroundings.
      district Manamedu
      state Tamil Nadu
      population 2813 (2011)
      langs Tamil, Telugu, English
      best-time October to March
      stay-at local hotels
      reach Timmachipuram Rail Way Station , Lalapet Rail Way Station, Manamedu's nearest airport is Tiruchirapalli International Airport situated at 44.0 KM
      local Auto Rickshaws, Tempo Rickshaws, Taxis, Buses.
      food Sambar. Puliyodarai. Paruppu Payasam. Pollachi Nandu Fry. Rasam.

      History:

      Archaeological evidences and ancient literature support that Tiruchirappalli, a city of historic significance, was the capital city of Cholas in 300 B.C. The city is shortly known as Trichy now. There are several literary sources that tell you how Woraiyur continued to be under the control of Cholas even during the days of Kalabhrainterregnum (A.D. 300 - 575). Later, Woraiyur along with the present day Tiruchirappalli and its neighboring areas came under the control of Mahendra Varma Pallava I, who ascended the throne in A.D. 590. Till A.D. 880, according to the inscriptions, this region was under the hegemony of either the Pallavas or thePandyas. It was in 880 AD that Aditya Chola brought a downfall to the Pallava dynasty. From then on, Trichy and its adjoining regions became a part of the Great Cholas. In 1225 A.D, the area was occupied by the Hoysulas. Afterwards, it came under the rule of later Pandyas till the advent of Mughal Rule. Mughal rule was put to an end by the Vijayanagar rulers. The Nayaks,the Governors of Vijayanagar Empire, ruled this area till A.D. 1736. It was Viswanatha Nayaka who built the present day Teppakulam and the Fort. The Nayak dynasty came to an end during the days of Meenakshi. The Muslims ruled this region again with the aid of either the French or the English armies. For some years, Tiruchirappalli was under the rule of Chanda Sahib and Mohamed Ali. Finally, English brought Trichy and other areas under their control. The district was then under the hegemony of British for about 150 years till the independence of India.

      Geography:

      Trichy lies at 10.8050°N 78.6856°E and Manamedu covers an area of 313.21 hectares.

      Environment:



      Infrastructure:

      Trichy is a tier two city, well connected with the rest of the country by bus, taxi, railways and flights. It has many medium to low to high budget hotels for comfortable stay around the city. The city has many educational institutes, bringing in people from other parts of the country.There are several public and private healthcare centres in this region to provide care for the citizens. Moreover, basic facilities such as water and electricity are also in place.

      Architecture:

      All the settlements in this region are compact in size and is surrounded by agricultural fields and woody groves. In villages, such as Manamedu, every house has useful trees like drumstick, curry leaves, mango and herbal plants like Tulsi that are used for various purposes. Vernacular houses in this region have their origins in humble single spaced rural huts, built by locals with the available knowledge of materials and techniques. The most primitive form of rural dwelling which forms the origin of the vernacular architecture of Tamil Nadu is a single space multifunctional unit. These essentially simplistic plans however have also led to elaborately embellished houses built over a period of time by the more affluent segments of the society. Trade played an important role in history to fuel the imagination and combined with local craftsmanship, marvels of Chettinad houses were created. The space has essentially a tripartite division, viz., Tinnai (the raised verandah), Koodam (the inner living hall) and the Samayal (Kitchen). The outside verandah is the male zone and inside, the female zone. A woven Durry or mat to sit on, chit chat for hours, lie down or make strings of flowers, receive guests and perform other recreational activities like playing board games, is the only piece of furniture required here. A study box for the house accountant and an array of kitchen accessories to prepare Vethalai-pakku (digestive made of betel leaves, lime and areca nut) are also found here. Wooden pillars are an integral part of these houses. They may be heavy and intricately carved. The middle part, which includes the inner verandah is where most of the weaver community has installed their looms today. The doors are small and usually have photo frames of Goddess Laxmi or family members hung on top. Rear of the house remains the female zone, thus segregating the public, semiprivate and private activities in a dwelling. These structures were constructed using locally available permanent materials such as stone, Laterite stone, mud mortar, country wood, bamboo and tiles. The roof is pitched with a two sided slope Today, most of the houses are constructed with cement, but in village area roofs are still made using clay tiles. A single large water body or number of water ponds form an essential part of the settlement and were perhaps the reason for its growth and have a great impact on its micro climatic conditions. In towns a strict row housing pattern is adopted, narrow lanes connect neighbourhoods. As we speed across towns towards villages, the roads get narrower but also lighter and greener. We breathe air that nourishes our senses. Sparsely sprinkled over the red soil on fields ready for harvest, lush green draped are thatched roof hutments, some replaced by mud roof tiles and many by concrete buildings. Temple architecture of South, based on laws of Vastushastra is the seat of high craftsmanship of ancient value. The style of architecture is known as Dravidian architecture and is marked by highly sculptural pyramidal structures, grandeur of which has a humbling effect on people. Every temple is surrounded by beautiful streets, where even now, we can find Sthapathis, the metal and stone sculptors of Chola style living. These marvels of mankind are apart from being places of religious importance, great repositories of scriptures and rare manuscripts, sculptures based on perfected knowledge of human anatomy known as Shilpa Shastra, motifs and patterns textile has taken lead from and remarkable line of forms life can exist in, and still be worthy of worship. Among many Gods, Goddesses, Demigods and creatures, these temple premises also house Rakshashas. The order within a temple is much like that of a world in harmony with its good and evil forces together.

      Culture:

      Women generally wear a fabric drape around them, 6 to 8 yards of length. First tied round the waist with pleats gathered in front and then brought over the right shoulder, covering their breasts. A part of the drape is either let free hanging from the shoulder or brought in front along the waist. This part is called the Pallu and is commonly the most elaborately designed and embellished part of this drape called the Sari. Tucking the Pallu on your left waist in front is a very common style of wearing a sari in this region. This provides the women the required freedom of movement while at work. A sari in today’s time is worn on top of a skirt tightly fixed on the waist and a snug fit blouse covering the top. These stitched blouses cover the chest, leaving the midriff unto the navel exposed. However, we see many other ways a sari is draped on Goddesses in old temples of the region. A few other identified ways are; the lower portion draped like a Sari with front pleats alone, and the other end not covering the breasts or shoulders. Apart from sari, younger and unmarried women can also be seen wearing stitched salwars and Kurtas and skirts and blouses. There is also a considerable variety of gold jewelry women like to adorn themselves with. Ornaments like nose pins, anklets, ear rings, bangles and waist belts or a waist dangler carrying bunch of keys are common to this place. Some common designs of nose pins may have a circular metal ring around the nostril, a large metal disc sitting, and spiral like metal ring etc, nose pins are also very popularly worn on both sides of the nostril. They can be embedded with precious stones and pearls and are considered auspicious. Women wearing Jasmine flower garlands (Veini) in their hair are an age-old tradition in Tamil Nadu. While the choice of flower may vary from Jasmine to Hibiscus to Roses to Lilies, depending upon the season, wearing a Veini on oiled and pleated hair is a must. Many flower sellers can be spotted during morning and evening along the road. Flowers are also bought as a tribute to Gods by people who love visiting temples ritualistically. Hindu Gods and Goddesses are depicted wearing garlands & flower ornaments, which indicates that ancient fashion sustainably drew from rich tropical flora in India. Traditionally, Veshti (White fabric with simple line border) is the most common bottom-wear for men in Tamil Nadu. It is wrapped around the waist and legs. It is the traditional dress worn by men in marriages too… however, the material may be silk for special occasions. This rectangular shaped cloth is generally made with cotton for daily usage. It is mostly worn with a shirt or Angavastram. Angavastram is another significant part of Tamil dressing. It is a piece of fabric wrapped around the shoulders. Men also wear Kumkum or Sandlewood tilaks on their forehead in various formations. The most preferred formation being that of a horizontal trident across their forehead, with a dot in the centre, just as the one seen on Shiva’s forehead. around the nostril, a large metal disc sitting, and spiral like metal ring etc, nose pins are also very popularly worn on both sides of the nostril. They can be embedded with precious stones and pearls and are considered auspicious. With time more and more people are switching to cotton Lungi as their daily outdoor wear, for its less formalness. Lungis are available in different colors and check patterns very easily. They are made of lesser fabric and mostly cotton, which makes them cost effective and are worn above the knees, giving the wearer more flexibility to move around. While most of the native crowd can still be seen in traditional wear only, the younger ones and the office going men have also taken up denims and pants quite popularly. Sentimentally black is avoided, being considered a colour of death by Hindus. Growing paddy, banana, coconut, sugarcane, cultivating fish in tributaries of Cauvery and along the coast line of Bay of Bengal is the main occupation of the people here. Tamarind, Neem, Palm, Banyan and Gulmohar trees form a vault way for people to walk through. Amidst such proximity to mother earth one finds nourishment for all senses merely by being. Blessed with bounty, the land supplies food and supplements to its children living in towns and cities. A typical Tamil fully laid meal comprises of all the six Rasas of Ayurveda, namely; Sweet, sour, bitter, salty, astringent and pungent. A balance of these in diet ensures not just a tasty meal but also the essence of one’s being eventually. Spread on a banana leaf, freshly cut and cleaned are vegetables, rice, lentils, pickles and Chutnis(spices, fruits, vegetable pureed) in various proportions. While a poppadum made out of lentil, Coconut Chutni, onion tamatoChutni, Sambar dal, rasam, buttermilk and rice flavored with lemon or tamarind are a must, vegetables like ladyfinger, bottle gourd, peas, cabbage, potato, fish etc cooked in coconut oil, with or without gravy may vary. Pudding made of sweetened rice and milk, Ravasheera, Badam halwa and many more options for desserts are made depending on season and choice. This elaborate meal gets even grander during weddings and can be brought down to only a few dishes on everyday basis. The green leafy plate with all these colorful and multi textural elements placed on it in an array is called Sapad and is quite a visual delight. With their practices still rooted in their strong traditional values, people eat with their hands and mixing the food well on the thali itself before taking the morsel to mouth is a common practice. This is believed to be important to break down the elements of the food to a level, where all the Rasas mix well, the food tastes better and is light on digestive system. Sapad is usually the midday meal. Incontrast to this, dinner before sunset, usually withfruits or freshly made wheat bread with lentils ormilk is the lightest meal of the day.

      People:

      As the black plum vendor in the midst of a bustling road of this freshly woken city shouts at the pitch of her voice, we realize that the muscular armed, strong built, spiked haired vendor on the bicycle is a woman. Riding with a grass basket mound with fresh black plums, bright vermilion drape and yellow gold jewellery sparkling boldly on her black berry skin. With roots strongly embedded in ancient Tamilian culture, the society here today cradles many local casts- Kallar, VellalaGounder, Reddiyar, Saurashtrians, Mudiliyar, Nadar, andNaidus  living in harmony with each other. Prominently majestic temples and a lifestyle woven around them even today shows a very strong Brahmin influence in the region. People from all communities have been living here in unity frommany centuries. During the Karikala times, Yavanas (Greeks) lived here, and then Kalbras, Telugu, Muslims and at last European churches found establishment here. Examples of co-existence of religious practices can be found with Christians celebrating Pongal as Anthoniyaar Pongal and Muslims celebrating SanthanaKoodu (Sandal) festival Tamil is the widely spoken language, the standard dialect being Central Tamil dialect. Telugu, Thanjavur Marathi, English and Saurashtrian are other languages spoken here. Lord Murugan and Shiva are the most widely prayed deities. Pongal, Dipawali and Mariamman are festivals celebrated with great pomp and show. People gather wearing bright clothes as against the regularly preferred whites, decorate their houses and celebrate together with sweetmeats; Myorepak, Payasom, Adirasom (rice sweet) being a few favorites. Men wear Dhoti and shirts and women their six yard saris, with their hair neatly tied behind in a bun or pleat, decorated with strings of jasmine, rose, lily(as per the season). The people in this region is are employed in agriculture and industry. People are well educated, however, their primary occupation is agriculture. Though with changing times and a great emphasis in this region on education, we see more and more people drifting towards cities-some to take up jobs in big/small companies, while others to sell their fresh harvest of bananas. Many different communities here are also employed in making handicrafts including beautiful cotton and silk sarees that are sold all over the country.

      Famous For:

      Apart from the Manamedu sarees, the state of Tamil Nadu is also famous for paintings, musical instruments, jewelry, metalware, pottery, woodcraft, stone carving and other textiles including cotton and silk sarees from different districts.

      Craftsmen

      List of craftsmen.

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