As part of the media tour organised by Press Information Bureau under Viksit Bharat Sankalp Yatra, a media delegation from Uttar Pradesh visited Umden-Diwon Eri Silk Village – a quaint hamlet around 70 kms from Shillong on January 11.
The trip to this village was organised under the aegis of the Department of Textile, Government of Meghalaya with the aim of showcasing the rich weaving culture of Meghalaya.
Officials from the Handloom Department first took the journalists to the Design, Innovation and Research Centre (DIRC) which was set up in 2022 in collaboration with the National Institute of Fashion Technology.
The delegation were given firsthand experience of how different natural ingredients are being used for the dyeing of eri silk (ryndia) products, which are locally available and are used by the weavers.
They experienced the spinning of eri silk (ryndia) yarn from cocoons done by the spinners through the solar spinning machines. The journalists also interacted with the weavers who were dyeing Yarn at the Dyeing Shed at DIRC.
Recently the Department of Textiles, government of Meghalaya, in collaboration with the NEHHDC (North East Handloom & Handicraft Development Corporation) has launched a pilot project on “Digitalization of Handloom” products at the Umden – Diwon Eri Silk Village.
With the introduction of this Artificial Intelligence (AI) driven technology, QR Codes will now be woven into fabric to carry information about the authenticity of the unique handloom products of the state in general and the Eri Silk Village in particular, which will authenticate this special product.
NEHHDC is the technological partner in rolling out this project through the IOT (Internet of Things) device in local handlooms that will generate QR Codes, which will contribute towards facilitating efficient traceability, and empower customers with the knowledge of the product origin.
The quaint little village of Umden is famous for Eri silk production and weaving of traditional handlooms like ryndia, stoles in exquisite patterns. To witness these, the team took a tour around the village.
They visited the house of Swerlis Syngklis where she was seen weaving a checked eri silk (ryndia) stole on her traditional floor loom. The team was amused to see how her daughter Redolency Syngkli, who is doing her studies in Guwahati as a Lab-technician is in the village due to the Christmas and New Year holidays, is also on another loom weaving an eri silk (ryndia) stole and helping her mother.
During the visit to another resident of the village Kiloris Syiem, the journalists from Uttar Pradesh experienced women weavers on another type of loom – the Fly Shuttle Frame Loom where they weave the traditional eri silk or ryndia ‘jainsem’.
Their next visit was to the Zong-Hi-l, a production house of the Tmung.
Here, they could see many Fly-Shuttle Frame looms, all occupied by local weavers who are being employed by the Production House. Weavers were seen intricately transferring the designs from the graphs looking at their mobile phones to the clothes that they were weaving.
The delegation was later taken to the Umkon village which is also one of the villages in Raid Nongtluh which falls under the Eri Silk Village. At one of the houses of Margaret Rynshon, she was busy tending to the eri silk worms, in her house, feeding them with castor leaves and covering them with a cloth to keep them warm. These eri silkworms take a little longer, about 2-3 months, in winter to grow into a pupa and spin a cocoon round their bodies. Whereas, in summer, they grow very fast, in only about a month and are ready to spin cocoons. The village takes pride in continuing the age old tradition of producing silk following the unique method of not killing the silkworm during the process of extracting silk from the cocoons.
The last house that the team visited at Umkon village was that of Ciona Rynshon’s where she could be seen weaving a plain olive green ryndia stole, in her traditional floor loom. In one corner, she had just done some dyeing of eri silk yarn in black colour extracted from iron ore rock found in the village. The dye-bath was still on the fire. Her mother came talking to us with a home-made spandle in hand, as she spun the cake of cocoons in her hand, into yarn.
The team of journalists during their short trip in the Eri Silk village could witness all the steps in the sericulture value chain – starting from rearing of silk worms, spinning and reeling of silk to yarn production, dyeing and finally weaving.