Gujarat, one of the famous states in India, known for its historical importance and culture, has made its own mark on the textile industry in India. Its legacy in the textile industry dates back to three thousand years with the climate and geographical conditions making a better impact.  The finest quality of textiles and versatility of designs has made the state a favourite around the world. The versatility and variety in the raw materials, availability of different types of yarns combined with the effective use of traditional methods in weaving, printing and dyeing makes the state the first among others in the textile industries. Most of the artisans are the villagers here and they follow the age old traditional techniques combined with the latest methods making their work one of the finest in the world.  The caste, community, tribes and regions of the state have a wide impact on the textile industry of Gujarat. The fabrics like tangalia, dessa are a few examples of such craft and art of Gujarat.

Formation of this Magnificent Work of Art

Tangalia can only be found in the district of Surendranagar in Gujarat. This is practiced and produced only by the Dangasia community here. This is a sorang like material usually worn by the Bharvad women during auspicious occasions like weddings. This work of craft needs a special method of lapping the extra wrap during the weaving process. Designs are made on this fabric in a unique way. These designs are generally made using beads which is made of cotton and other fibres and known as the bead work or dana work. These beads are available in different sizes, colours and textures. These tiny beads are twisted according to designs and they give an effect of bead embroidery and making it a unique pattern which is popularly known as the tangalia.

As the size of the loom is small, tangalia fabric can be made only up to 20 by 2 feet in size, which is then cut into two halves and stitched along the length. This complicated method of twisting the extra thread during the weaving process helps in creating beautiful linear designs and patterns.

In olden times, sheep wool or camel wool was used as the raw material for tangalia fabric. But with the increase in demand the weavers started using other materials which are used today. Some of the patterns created are locally known as Ramraj, Charmalia, Lobdi, Dhusia, Gadia, ambo etc. These designs have geometric and graphic touch to them.

Tangalia Fabric

As a fabric, Tangalia is used mostly by the women in Bharwad community who will drape themselves in dotted black skirts with contrasting patterns. The men of the Bharvad community use three blankets; first one is tied around their head, the second one is worn around their waist and the third one their shoulder. This is made from natural fabrics like wool, skin or cotton and bead work or dana work done with wool, cotton, acrylic yarns etc. Different shades of red, purple, maroon, blue, orange, green etc are used with black and white background.

Tangalia Facing Problems of Extinction

The changes and pressures in the textile industry and difficulty in finding markets for selling the finished products, have forced the craftsman to stop working on this traditional art. Lack of exposure to the global market can also be seen as a reason for the decline of this work of art. Moreover, the people who wear tangalia also became less and majority of craftsman began to live under the poverty, forcing them to leave their traditional work and find other jobs.

Bringing Back the Glory

Tangalia is one of the toughest works of art which only gifted craftsman can bring to reality. Government and other organisations realised the fact and have been making efforts towards skilful marketing and assistance facility for these. Tangalia comes under the five crafts picked up by the NIFT under its special SGSY cluster development program. Tangalia Hastakala Association was formed and gave membership to around 226 artisans from five villages in Surendranagar. The designers and students from NIFT provide all the needed assistance and help for these artisans. Training assistance, quality development, experimentation help are provided to them under this association.

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