In the evening after our visit to the step well, we travelled to Pethapur Village, which is at a distance of 7 kilometres from Cambay hotel. We took a bus and since there was no specific timing to visit the village, we decided to go there at 5 pm, explore the place in the daylight and see the life of the villagers in early night hours.
Located behind Sabarmati River , this village is famous for the Bandhini sarees and Bandhini materials. This material is famous not only within India but also in other countries. People used to export this material in large quantities to Singapore earlier. Though the number of productions of this material is low now, there are still some craftsmen in the village, who undertake the weaving of bandhini cotton and silks.
As soon as we entered the village, we found that it was indeed a beautiful village. Most of the people lived in mud houses and there were rangolis decorated in front of the house. The walls of most of the houses had painting and drawings of ladies dancing or men in the traditional Gujarati dresses.
The villagers were very friendly and when we informed them about the purpose of our visit, they took us to their huts where weaving takes place. They explained to us that the men belonging to the Gujjar and Suthar community undertook the weaving of block sarees and dress materials.
They showed us the blocks, which had designs on them. They used these blocks to create designs on clothes. The colour combinations that they use are exotic. The craftsmen explained that though the sarees are still in demand, it is the blocks that sell faster; especially in cities like Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Jethpur and Rajkot.
I explained to them that I would like to understand creation of the famous Bandhini silks and they took me to the place where the weaving was taking place. They showed me the pieces of clothes dyed together and kept aside. Once dried, they would use the designs such as dots, stripes, squares, waves or strips, which are the famous bandhini design. They explained that the colours that they use are all natural and hence they are in high demand.
The visit to the village was a good experience and we learnt the amount of work that goes in to create such a beautiful material! I took several photos and got a taste of their food, such a cordial welcome they gave us!