Silk Trail of Meghalaya
Separating Assam from the plains of Bangladesh, lies the ‘abode of clouds’- Meghalaya. I absolutely love this north-eastern beauty and of course I have already shared one of the reasons why I love Meghalaya. Yes, I am referring to the living root bridges in Meghalaya. And, here I am sharing yet another reason to appreciate Meghalaya. A tourist in you may not able to explore the Meghalaya I have been to, but a traveler in you must visit the silk weavers village in Meghalaya- Umden.
Located just about 55 km from Guwahati City, this serene small village is an ideal getaway from the mundane city life. The village of Umden is famous for Eri silk production and weaving of traditional handlooms. Don’t forget to buy the beautiful stoles in exquisite patterns crafted using Eri Silk.
It’s been a while that I haven’t really motivated you all to go and experience north-east traditional practices. Trust me, this one’s totally worth it! Unlike other sericulture processes, this village has kept its old tradition of producing silk alive by following the unique method of not killing the silkworm during the process of extracting silk from the cocoons. This tradition of sericulture is known as ‘ahimsa’. Not to forget, one can witness all the steps involved in this traditional sericulture process- starting from rearing of silkworms, spinning, reeling of silk, yarn production, dying to weaving.
Image Courtesy: Directorate of Sericulture & Weaving
About Eri Silk in Meghalaya
Eri Silk or Umden Silk is a product of silkworms who feeds mainly on castor leaves.
How to Reach Umden
Either hire a car from Shillong to reach here or travel in shared jeeps till Nongpoh and then take an auto to Umden.
State Government’s Initiative to Award Local Weavers from Umden, Meghalaya
After a research set on weavers of Meghalaya, it was found that the weavers belonged to BPL families. And, so the weavers were unable to modernise and upgrade the outfits according to new-age customers. As a result, recently on National Handloom Day, the state government has decided to award the local weavers with all the necessary technical support including young assistants from well-known design institutes. This would help the local weavers diversify their market and of course will enhance trade and tourism in Meghalaya!
So, plan a trip to silk village at Umden in Meghalaya and interact with Bhoi people (sub group amongst the Khasi’s) to learn their culture and history.