Kalangal Kalyana Venkataramana Swamy Temple & Kurumba Blankets (Coimbatore - Tamil Nadu)

IN SEARCH OF A TRADITIONAL HANDMADE WOOLEN BLANKET CRAFT

REACHING KALANGAL VILLAGE NEAR SULUR, COIMBATORE
I ventured to this little village called Kalangal near Sulur in Coimbatore, which absolutely no idea of what to expect and is one of the unusual, unique places to visit in Coimbatore. I got into the road that leads to Kalangal village at Sulur and waited there for some local bus or share auto to arrive. Well, some half an hour would have passed by, no trace of any public mode of transport. I got irritated and opted to take an auto. I enquired an auto driver only to know that the 5km distance would cost about 130 bucks. I did get irritated but then I again asked him the rate for an up n down trip. As I expected that worked out much economical. For up and down with 45 mins wait together it worked out for 200 bucks. 

beautiful villages of south India - Kalangal Coimbatore

beautiful villages of south India - Kalangal Coimbatore

beautiful villages of south India - Kalangal Coimbatore

traditional rural house architecture - Kalangal Coimbatore

traditional rural house architecture - Kalangal Coimbatore

ARCHITECTURE OF TRADITIONAL TAMIL HOUSES OF KALANGAL VILLAGE 
So, what I did go there in search of actually. It was for the Kalangal Kurumba BlanketsBut first, before starting about the blankets, the village itself needs a little introduction. In 3 simple words - It was beautiful!!! It is one of the most beautiful villages of Tamil Nadu, still carrying its old world charm. 
The houses are still maintained with the old look. Most of the houses themselves are about 100-150 years old where the village head and the other locals 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. There were those traditional old switches, the gorgeous, exquisite, carved wooden doors, the hooks fixed onto the ceiling to hang indoor swings and so much more. 
These houses also have a lovely centrally placed open-air 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.  

WHO ARE KURUMBA TRIBES & WHAT IS A KALANGAL KURUMBA KAMBLI (BLANKET)?
So now, back to the blankets - These blankets are made from the fibers shredded from the hair of the local sheep herded by the local tribal community called Kurumba / Kuruba. This technique of the handmade blanket is unique and special to this place and is one of the unique handicrafts of India. Unfortunately, like many other arts and traditional crafts, this too is one of the dying crafts of India, over-powered 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, 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!!!

HOW ARE KALANGAL KURUMBA KAMBLI (BLANKETS) MADE?
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 continues to survive. So, on your next visit to Coimbatore, one of the important things to do in Coimbatore would be to visit Kalangal and place an order for a Kurumba blanket.

Kurumba tribes of Nilgiris - Kalangal Kurumba Woolen Blanket

Kurumba tribes of Nilgiris - Kalangal Kurumba Woolen Blanket

Kurumba tribes of Nilgiris - Kalangal Kurumba Woolen Blanket

Kurumba tribes of Nilgiris - Kalangal Kurumba Woolen Blanket

Kalangal Perumal Temple

KALANGAL KALYANA VENKATARAMANASWAMY PERUMAL TEMPLE
Btw, on my way in search of Kalangal Kurumba kambli - An 1300 yr old Temple of Lord Vishnu!!! Yeah true, as I went through a long road with just vacant land and shrubs on either sides, I finally reached Kalangal. I enquired to the local shopkeeper to know where I had to go, but then, as I as venturing my destination, I spotted these 2 old 'stone mandapams' with several reliefs on them. They were not really dilapidated  but not in a good condition as well... In the central top portion of these mandapams were a relief of Namam with Sangu  & Chakra, the essential primary symbol of Vaishnavism or Vishnu devotees. Now that's a proof of the existence of an ancient Vishnu Temple in the locality. The very temple is called Sri Devi Bhu Devi Kalyana Venkatramana Swamy Temple. Sadly, I didn't visit the temple. However, you can check out more pics and contact details of the temple, here at the temple's website: http://kalangalperumal.org. Hope I visit the village again and visit the temple as well...

HOW TO REACH KALANGAL VILLAGE 
On Google Maps: Kalangal village
How to reach Kalangal from Sulur: 4km on Kalangal Road at Sulur Jn.
How to reach Kalangal from Coimbatore: 23km via Sulur

COIMBATORE HOTELS
Many hotels at all price points available in Coimbatore including budget hotels in Coimbatore like Ibis Coimbatore City Centre, comfort hotels in Coimbatore like Zone by the Park Coimbatore, Residency Towers Coimbatore, Grand Regent Coimbatore, Le Meridian Coimbatore etc and luxury hotels in Coimbatore like Taj Vivanta Coimbatore, Welcomhotel Coimbatore etc.
Sulur is in the outskirts of Coimbatore with regular bus service from anywhere in Coimbatore / Kovai.

OTHER BEST PLACES TO VISIT &THINGS TO DO IN COIMBATORE
Sulur Boat House, G.D.Naidu Museum, Gass Forestry Museum, Perur Patteeswarar Temple, Shop for books at Ukkadam Old Book market and visit Kovai flower market early in the morning.

Kalangal Village Coimbatore Kalangal Kurumba Blankets

Bhushavali

An ardent traveler by passion. Being an ex - Art History Teacher, my area of interest especially lies in Nature and Heritage. Visited 78 UNESCO World Heritage sites as of Sept 2020. I've been listed among the Top 7 Women Travel Bloggers of India, Top 50 in UK. I have been interviewed in a couple of TV Shows, Radio Channels and Events as well. Read more about me and read the testimonials of different brands

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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