Bhubaneswar: Pitala Cotton Saree is a famous Saree having a special trading importance all over India since decades of years ago due to its incomparable quality, cute artistic design and wide use by the handloom lovers. The very speciality of the Saree is that on visualising the women with this Saree appears to be more beautiful, attractive and sophisticated.
The age-old village, Pitala is situated on the bank of “Holy river Rushikulya” in Ganjam district and is 44 kms. from the district headquarter Chatrapur and 15 kms. from Hinjili Block. The village has a very good number of artisans. Most of the artisans are of Handloom weavers. Mainly two race of weavers are found in the village i.e. “Rangani” & “Dera”.
“Rangani” the weavers migrated far from “Nadia Navadeep” (West Bengal) during the reign of king Jajati Keshari. The migrant weavers inhabited in the districts of Odisha in a scattered manner. They belong to “Sanatan Dharma” „the eternal‟ raced of religions and followers of saint “ Goswami”. They were dyeing clothes for divine purpose and in desire of saint “ Goswami”. In subsequent periods, by profession they were called “ Rangani”. They were purely vegetarian and innocent in nature. In course of time and with the advent of coloured yarn and inspired by the ideals of Lord Sri Jagannath, they were ultimately adopted the weaving profession.
With the lapse of time, the Rangani of un-divided districts of Ganjam, specially of Pital area have adopted weaving profession either traditional or for livelihood.
The other type of inhabited weavers of pital village is “Dera”, the Telugu speaking weavers migrated from our neighbouring State Andhra Pradesh also adopted the inherent weaving profession as customary profession.
With the advent of time and development in infrastructure, standards of living and multifarious job facility, most of the weavers of pitala areas adopted to other lucrative and high yielding professions. The profession is still persisting among the weavers of the area in accordance with the change of pace in time and taste of customers.
In the early stages of weaving, they used to weave coarse varieties of Saree, Chaddar, Dhoti and Gammuchha using 10s. coarse count yarn for six decades. At that time they were selling their products in local markets and weekly “Hattas” used to sit in a particular place of village.
After wards during early 70‟s of 20th century, they used a bit finer count yarns i.e. up-to 26s in weaving Saree, dhoti and chaddar. With the revolutionary change in technology and market development, at the end of 80‟s and beginning of 90‟s of the century, they use 40s and 60s count yarn for weaving of different products.
The existence of Handloom Coop. Societies in Odisha came during the year 1940-41 with a view to provide employment and ample marketing opportunity to the weavers. In pital village, one primary WCS was registered to provide works to the weavers of Pitala and nearby villages. The then Govt. of Odisha created a Department of Handloom and Textiles for the weavers which paved the way for use of modern technology in weaving and to accomplish their fame and excellence in the field. Gradually the weavers applied Dobby, Jalla and Butti (single and cluster) designs into their products using various drafts and Bandha yarn.
In the early stages of weaving they used to weave 5 metre and 5.5 metre long Saree with horizontal and vertical stripe design in the boarder and aanchal only. Gradually with the development of Nuapatna, Maniabandha and sharp Bandha designs, they learnt its use and applied them in 40‟s and 60‟s count Saree. Some weavers are also use Dobby, Jalla and Butti design in the boarder of Sarees to make it more cute and attractive. Usually Pitala Cotton Saree refers to 60‟s single count Saree.
Because of its high attractiveness, artistic design and huge market demand throughout the country, the weavers of the nearby villages:- Aska, Makarjhola, Hinjilicut, Padmanabhapur and Kanteikoli were attracted to weave 40s & 60s count cotton yarn with buta design in body as well as in anchal.
The weavers producing pital cotton sarees are presently earning decent wages and get high returns to maintain their livelihood. The Pital sarees have good demand in the local and outside market for which the weavers are not facing any problem in selling their products. Boyanika, the Apex Handloom Co-operative Society of Odisha is providing marketing support to the products of the weavers of Pital and its nearby areas by selling their products through its own outlets functioning in and outside of the State.