Kalangal Kurumba Blankets (Coimbatore - Tamil Nadu)

Last post, I wrote about how I ended up finding the Kalyana Venkatramana Swamy Temple at Kalangal Village thought I did not go there in search of it. So, what I did go there in search of actually. It was for the Kalangal Kurumba Blankets
But first, before starting about the blankets, the village itself needs a little introduction. In 3 simple words - It was awesome!!! 
The houses are still maintained with the old look. The houses themselves are about 100-150 years old where the village head and the other dwellers lived. 

The houses had the traditional wooden pillars in them. 
The roof was the traditional red clay tiles. In between them once or twice in the roof of each room were glass tiles. This helps to bring in the sunlight in day time without using any other source of energy like oil lamps in olden days or electricity in the present days.
The traditional old switches.
The gorgeous, exquisite, carved wooden doors.
The hooks fixed onto the ceiling to hang indoor swings.
These houses also have a lovely centrally placed open-skied courtyard with or w/o a gauze or grill atop. This are called 'muttram'. When it rains these become rain water harvesting tanks. In summer it becomes sunlit areas still safe from birds that helps to dry out anything.  
So now, back to the blankets - These blankets are made from the fibers shredded from the hair of the Kurumba Sheep. Though Kurumba sheep is widely grown in several places in Tamil Nadu, this technique of the handmade blanket is unique and reserved to this place. Like many other arts and traditional crafts of India, this too is getting really stomped upon by the new machine-made, mass produced stuff. 
This Kurumba Blankets are so precious It takes almost a month to complete one. Few decades back this was a part of the wedding trousseau taken by the girl when she moves in to her husband's place. The trade was once flourishing, but now with the increase of the mass produced blankets (thanks to globalization!!!), this is not a profitable job anymore and many families opting out of the craft to take up modern jobs. Obviously they would, they have to carry on with their livelihood!!!
The entire process of producing the Kurumba blankets is handmade. Right from shearing the sheep, to its cleaning, to its bleaching, to its making it into a yarn / thread, and finally weaving it. The looms are basic back-strap hand looms. Oh, pardon me for the technical terminologies, the textile designer in me is taking over!!!
The best part of it is that the fibers are generally not dyed. So the blankets are usually available in black, brown or off white, the natural colors in which the sheep hair is available. Sometimes using colored acrylic yarns (synthetic wool yarns) embellishment is given like occassional lines that occur vertically or horizontally or both. 
The feel of these blankets is inexplicable. Its slightly rough and yet pretty fluffy and light weighted. I can never compare it to the feel of any other blanket or texture. It was fabulous. Of late, thanks to the fading craft, its not available readily. However upon order they make the blankets esp. for you and a blanket costs about 2500 - 3000 bucks. 
I'm sharing this here, so that people would buy them, so they are kept employed and the craft survives the tsunami of globalization!!!



TO REACH THERE:
From Sulur in Coimbatore: 4km on Kalangal Road at Sulur Jn.



TO STAY:
Many hotels at all price points available in Coimbatore.
Sulur is in the outskirts of Coimbatore with regular bus service from anywhere in Coimbatore / Kovai.



Dedicated to my Mom

Bhushavali N

An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.

15 comments:

  1. Thats a nice piece of info.

    www.rajniranjandas.blogspot.com

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  2. wow! that is such an informative post!

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  3. Superb...I love these kinds of old houses! Should be absolute fun being there...

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  4. I have seen Shepard use this blankets. Also in some functions its used as a carpet. But the houses are lovely. Congrats for the elaborate journey you undertook to discover this

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  5. Hello,

    Lovely post. What I appreciate about your posts in general is that you do an in depth study and provide so much information.And this post is no exception.

    Best wishes,
    Joseph

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  6. Amazing post . Just loved the house .

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  7. Wonderful post - excellent photographs & crisp narration. I am curious as to what actually brought you to this quaint little village so far from Chennai :)

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  8. Very interesting. I remember using some of these in my childhood.

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  9. @Niranjan,
    Thanks dear.. :)

    @Magic Eye,
    Thank you so much dear.. :)

    @Siddhartha Joshi,
    It was indeed...

    @Sudhir Kumar,
    Thank you so much dear...
    Glad you liked the houses...

    @Joseph Cheta,
    Thank you so much Cheta. Its all your blessings that keep me going... :)

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  10. @Ram Cheta,
    The textile designer in me wanted to travel there to explore about the blankets... :)

    @Jose,
    So true... :)

    @Sankara Subramanian C,
    You did??? Great!!!

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  11. I like the concept of the house so different and unique......

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  12. Hi its my village i will provud tnks to comment.

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  13. Any idea, how to buy these Blankets ? any contact numbers please.

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