Kullu, Himachal Pradesh

Kullu Weaving

It is said that weaving is practiced in Himachal Pradesh for around 5000 years. Till the 1830s, decorations to Kullu weaving was restricted to variations in twill weave, checks, and plaids and were devoid of motifs. But, when the weavers of Rupa village in Kinnaur faced persecution by the local king, things changed. They fled to Kullu and introduced their style of weaving to Kulluvi artisans. This led to the development of extra weft motifs in Kullu weaving. Intricate Kinnauri motifs were enlarged and simplified over time to form the bright bold patterns for which Kullu became famous. In this way, Kinnauri weaving is the predecessor of Kulluvi weaving.

The ancient trade and traffic along the Wool Route (Hindustan-Tibet Road) greatly influenced the weaving of Kulluvi and Kinnauri artisans. So much so, that the art of weaving decorative motifs on wool came to Kinnaur from Tashkent in Uzbekistan via China and Tibet. The influence of the trade route on Kinnauri weaving is evident through their traditional motifs such as diwar-e-chine (Great Wall of China). 

Earlier, traditional products were made. The idea for patterned Kullu shawls originated from pattus in 1942 by Master Weaver Tanjenram Bhagat. Raw material has changed from 100% locally obtained sheep wool to different types of wools like angora, pashmina, merino, yak, and local wool along with the use of cashmilon (synthetic yarns). The natural dyes have been replaced with azo-free dyes. Kullu shawls are protected under the Geographical Indication tag since 2006.



‘Desi Oon’ is sourced from different rural areas of Himachal. The wool fibers are extracted and collected which are hand spun on charkhas by women.


Warping is done and these yarns are transferred onto the Warp beam.


Each warp yarn is passed through one heald eye in a systematic order called shaft order. There are four shafts in one loom. Each shaft contains around 300-400 heald eyes. Then, the warp yarns are passed through reed.


The yarns are tied on a thin steel rod. This rod is tied to the cloth beam where the woven fabric gets collected.


A shuttle containing a reel of yarn called weft moves in the widthwise direction of the fabric. This shuttle leaves a weft which when beaten by the reed leads to interlacement of warp and weft yarns which results in the formulation of a woven fabric.


An additional weft is inserted at intervals to create bold geometric patterns. This means two yarns are woven simultaneously, one as the ground weave and the other as the surface.