Siddipet, a district in the state of Telangana in Indian Continent is known for providing a type of cotton sarees. These sarees are special because of the amazing motifs and inlay figure work in them. This particular type of saree derives its name from the unique motifs that it carries. The figure work is inspired by the Gollabhama that mean the milkmaids in the folk language. Cattle’s rearing was a known profession and the community practicing it was called Golla. The sight of the women of this community carrying pots of milk on their heads, wearing bright skirts and veils has been captured in these sarees. That is how it gets its name “Gollabhama”.
The weavers articulate the image of the Gollabhamas on cotton as well as silk cloth in their looms. The sarees are special in a way as these images are not printed or embroidered instead flawlessly woven on the pallu of the saree. They are initially drawn on a graph and later woven in a pattern using 80-100 threads. Particularly these sarees have 3 different types of designs woven on the fabric namely Kolatam, Bathukamma and Gollabhama.
Gollabhama is the most common among these. Entire fabric is a single color cloth that is dotted with small Gollabhama butas and motifs articulated majorly on the borders.
Gollabhama sarees have a Geographical Indication (GI) tag attached to them. They are globally famous and in spite of recognition they face a danger of existence. Each saree earns revenue of only Rs 350/- to the weaver. The weavers that have the knowledge of this particular art have reduced to only two dozen from 2000. Also to add the weavers face tremendous hardships and financial crisis as the product is close to extinct.
K. Chandrashekar Rao, chief minister of Telangana state believes in restoring this glory that India receives from its ancestors. Despite being one of the best hand-woven products of the world and efforts made to provide subsidies on the stocks of yarn, the art of Gollabhama Sarees is on the verge of collapse. The weavers express their concern for the coming generation of the country who would just be able to see this art in the pictures as in the next 10 years no one would have the knowledge to preserve it.