Exploring the festive flavour of Pochampally

It’s not just sarees that is the hallmark of Pochampally village, but also the Bhoodan movement.

By Author   |   Saurabh Chatterjee   |   Published: 16th Apr 2017   12:05 am Updated: 19th Apr 2017   12:57 pm
Pochampally
The Countryside: A Lady in the village Pochampally decorates the entrance of her house with the design of Rangoli. Photo: Saurabh Chatterjee

Having spent quite a lot of time in Hyderabad, experiencing traditional Ugadi in its full glory had been on my wish list for a long time.Though I asked friends where I could go to witness the festivities, over time I realised that it’s more of a family affair. While our search wasn’t fruitful during the festival time itself, we managed to go in the following week.

Desperate to capture the flavour of the festival, my friend Rajesh and I set out on our endeavour to try our luck on the outskirts of Hyderabad. We took a circuitous route through the villages to reach the handloom village Pochampally. The sight of the rising sun in the sky was a mesmerising one as we rode on the roads.

We saw this farmer getting started with his work as he walked into the fields checking his crop.There was greenery all around and the smell of the fields was enchanting. Egrets flew about chomping on the insects being unearthed from the soil being ploughed by the farmer.

Since it was the first day of the year, all houses and shops were decorated with mango leaves and were very neat and clean. The floors were waxed with cow-dung which is considered to have antiseptic properties and keeps the house free from diseases.


Mugguluor rangoli drawn with rice powder or chalk powder adorned the entrance to the houses which are thought to bring prosperity


Mugguluor rangoli drawn with rice powder or chalk powder adorned the entrance to the houses which are thought to bring prosperity. In the olden days, they used to be drawn with coarse rice powder which also served as food for the ants, birds and other creatures. This is also a welcome sign for Goddess Lakshmi. All around us we passed houses with pretty and elaborate muggulus. We stopped at a village to witness the celebrations.

After a lot of photographs, we finally reached Bhoodan Pochampally weaver’s village, our destination for the day.Surrounded by hills and lush green fields, Pochampally is a group of about hundred villages. The primary occupation is Ikat weaving or tie and dye weaving.It was fascinating to watch the unique process of transfer of design and colouring in different fabric like cotton, silk and sico (mix of silk and cotton).

Since we were visiting during the Ugadi weekend, most of the weavers were not working. Fortunately, we found one family which was busy weaving. We spent some time talking to them and took pictures.

In 1999, a young weaver C Mallesham from the village developed a machine for automating the time consuming and tedious process of winding yarn. His work was recognised and awarded by the National Innovation Foundation. So there is some respite for these weavers.

Besides being famous for its exquisite weaves,Pochampally also has a very interesting history. Ruled by landlords, most of the villagers didn’t possess any land.In 1951, Acharya Vinoba Bhave came to this village and requested if the villagers could do something to provide land to the landless. So two of the local landlords donated 250 acres of land to them, marking the beginning of a huge movement called “Bhoodan movement”.It went on to become the biggest land reform movement in India.Hence the name ‘Bhoodan Pochampally’ came into being.


How To Reach


Pochampally is 60 kms from Hyderabad and easily accessible. We took the longer way through the villages. It’s best to go by your own vehicle or hire one.



Activities


Watching the villagers spin the yarn, interacting with the kids and shopping of sarees.


Take Note

Do not litter.
Be respectful to the villagers who are taking out time for you.
Ask for permission and take off your shoes before you enter a house.
Don’t intrude on their privacy.
You can support them by buying some of their works.