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Dazzling tapestry of India’s weaves under one roof

- Debut expo in New Delhi in 2011, Jharcraft takes silk route to 12 cities this year

Step into Kuchai Silk Expo 2014, the six-day silk sari exhibition at Radisson Blu hotel, Ranchi, to get transported into a world of luxurious weaves and traditions from across India.

The expo, which started on Wednesday, is celebrating its second edition in Ranchi. But the success story of its organiser Jharcraft goes beyond it.

Starting off from New Delhi in 2011, Jharcraft has reeled in 12 cities this year.

“The first expo in New Delhi in 2011 registered sales of Rs 85 lakh. Next year, it shot up to Rs 1.25 crore, prompting us to expand it across cities,” Dhirendra Kumar, managing director of Jharcraft, said.

So, in 2013, the expo was held in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Calcutta and Ranchi.

“This year, we have extended to 12 cities, including Bangalore, Kochi, Hyderabad and Nagpur,” he added.

This isn’t all. “While these expos stock silk products from across the country, we are also organising smaller ones exclusively for Jharcraft products in 40 tier II and tier III towns across the country this year. Some have already been held,” he said, adding the response was encouraging everywhere.

State industries minister Champai Soren sounded very impressed in his inaugural speech, stressing that the state had successfully established the value chain in silks.

“Jharkhand not only tops tussar production in the country but also does everything in the silk business, from producing cocoons to manufacturing finished products,” the minister said.

Kuchai Silk Expo 2014 has 42 stalls stacked with silk saris from states such as Jharkhand, Bihar, Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir.

“We have Banarasi tussar, pashmina jamdani and wedding saris. Prices range between Rs 3,000 and Rs 45,000,” said Abdul Ghani of Sadia Sarees, Varanasi. “I came to Ranchi last year as well for the city’s first edition of this expo, and netted sales of Rs 35 lakh. Ranchi residents know their silks,” he smiled.

We have Kanchipurams, Mysore silks and other pure silk saris in the same range,” added Mahesh Babu of the New Delhi branch of Karnataka Silk Kendra.

“It’s a silk connoisseur’s destination, with so many weaves from across different Indian states under one roof,” said Chandreyee Mukherjee, one of the early visitors at Radisson Blu.

The expo will be on till September 8.