Chamoli the abode of Gods, reputed for its shrines and temples, is one of the hill districts of Uttarakhand, India. The Indo-Tibetan people who have made their homes in the High Himalayas for centuries (Mana and Niti valleys of Upper Chamoli) were called "Bhotiyas". The Bhotiya tribes, from ancient times when they had trade with Tibet, accepted the woollen industry as an essential part of their lifestyle. For centuries their women have been moving their small "pithachan" (Loin-loom). Ptdu, thulma, carpets, chutka, lava, shawl, asans, pankhi, gudma etc. were prepared very artistically. The entire mountain belt, from the Western Himalayas to the Northeast frontier region, produces wide range of woollen articles, each distinctive in its own way. Difficult geographical conditions and lack of transport resulting in difficult access to the region had helped in maintaining their monopoly over this trade for decades.

The returns are not at all comparable to the amount of input by these people in the form of labour and time, therefore special stress should be laid to encourage their craftsmanship and capabilities which would not only provide them with a valuable alternative source of income and personal development but will also preserve the extinction of the craft. The present study is the macro effort in this area.

Read Full Article