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Traditional blanket weaving families of Lakkundi hit by pandemic, struggle to meet ends

Express News Service

GADAG: Gadag’s Lakkundi is not only famous for its historic temples and wells but also for blankets (kambali). Some families still prepare handwoven blankets in traditional method.

Besides the state, buyers from Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra too visit Lakkundi to buy these blankets during October just before the winter sets in. But this year due lockdown and the ongoing pandemic, the demand for the blankets has come down.

Earlier there were more than 50 weavers families in Lakkundi but the number has reduced 15 and many traditional weavers are moving to different jobs after the sales started gradually decreasing in the recent years.

“Now there are some families who still get orders from different parts of Karnataka and also from surrounding states. One family earns 1.5 to 2.5 lakhs when winter arrives, this time it has not even crossed one lakh,” said a weaver from Lakkundi.

Lakkundi’s blankets are special because they are handmade and they can be used for more than 20 years.

These weavers bring raw materials from the rural parts of North Karnataka like Haveri and Bagalakot and other parts. A blanket costs Rs 2000 to Rs 3500 depending on the quality.

These weavers have no shops or any selling centres but customers visit their houses and give orders but this time nobody is coming due to coronavirus scare. Some of the weavers called the customers of Andhra Pradesh and other states and they were told that they will come next year as there is no demand due to the pandemic.

“This year is really a hard time for all of us. August to October is a busy season for us where we used to sell more than 200 blankets of Rs 2,000 to 2500 but this time we are getting orders only from clients surrounding Gadag district and we have now sold hardly 14 as of now. Many weavers are looking for other jobs to lead their life. Women who are skilled in weaving are now moving to daily wages to run the family.”

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