Odisha: Government showrooms to sell Karuna Silk Khandua

Currently, only weavers of Routapada are producing Khandua weaves from Karuna Silk which is provided by the department.
Odisha: Government showrooms to sell Karuna Silk Khandua

BHUBANESWAR: Devotees willing to donate Khandua Pata made from the state’s unique Karuna Silk or cruelty-free silk to the Trinity at Srimandir may soon be able to buy them from government showrooms.

Into its third year of producing silk without killing the silkworms, the department of Textiles, Handlooms and Handicrafts is planning to make Khandua sets prepared from Karuna Silk for the Trinity at showrooms like Boyanika and that of the Serifed for convenience of devotees, within next few months. Besides, it plans to increase production of silk this year.

Currently, only weavers of Routapada are producing Khandua weaves from Karuna Silk which is provided by the department. Devotees have to buy them directly from the weavers and send them to the Srimandir. The Trinity adorn silk for eight months in a year. In the remaining two months from Akshaya Tritiya to Rath Yatra, the deities wear cotton attire.

Sources said since production of Karuna Silk in the state is done in limited amounts by adopting castor-based Ericulture method, the department has planned to keep seven to eight sets of Khandua in government-run handloom showrooms for devotees to choose from.

Under the Karuna Silk project, silkworms are allowed to grow and feed on castor leaves for 18 to 20 days till they reach their final size. The worms then start to create their cocoons. They slowly transform into moths and once they fly out of the cocoons, the silk making starts.

In 2023-24, the department worked with 2,000 silk farmers to generate 112 quintals of the cocoons. Around 8,000 metre of Karuna Silk threads could be generated from it. “We could supply Khandua Pata made from these cruelty-free silk threads for three months to Srimandir. The remaining days, the deities wear the normal Khandua,” said an official. Temple servitors use 88 metre of Khandua Pata which has lyrics of poet Jayadev’s epic Geeta Govinda woven into it, to dress up the Trinity.

In 2024-25, the department has decided to increase cocoon production to 250 quintal which could facilitate supply of Khandua made from Karuna Silk to Srimandir for a period of six to seven months in a year. Nearly 3,000 farmers are being engaged for the purpose. Apart from Eri silk, the department has decided to experiment with muga, tassar and mulberry silk for production of silk threads without killing the worms.

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