Whenever Payyanur is mentioned, Sri Subrahmanya Swami Temple is also referred as this is one of the main landmark that the people of Payyanur of the Kannur district of Kerala in India refers to. Just half a kilometer away from this temple is the Payyanur weavers co-operative society were the weavers of the Saliya community and others gather in making of the pure cotton materials from the raw to the finished goods. The temperature of Kerala generally varies from 19.80 C to 36.70 C with the moisture laden winds often. Due to the climatic conditions of Kerala mostly the cotton materials are largely preferred by the people, specially made at Payyanur.
The cotton fabrics are specially made in Payyanur, Kannur regions of Kerala. Known for the superior quality handloom fabrics for the export and the commercial sales. Kannur of Kerala is specially known as the city of looms that also has the facility of dyeing, stitching, weaving and packing accordingly.
Once upon a time Kannur had the great exposure of the skilled weavers that had a great experience in making of high quality, complex woven fabrics. Women also enter to this profession in supporting the family income taking the hardships of saving, mastering this craft and also in fulfilling the basic needs of the family.
It is the regular routines of the daily domestic life such as the dhoti to relax, traditional white towel, cotton sarees woven with the thick pure cotton of good quality and mostly environmentally friendly fabrics. Claims of the superior quality handloom are to take away the traces of the body and mind of the weaver. Where every inch of the cloth generally reveal the mood of the weaver when they were tired, distracted and careless during the beating.
Handlooms generally occupies the unique and distinct place in the Indian economy with a good reason of the identification of its needs along with the sensible level of resource input and structural attention. In Payyanur the winding, sizing, piecing are also done by the women community and weaving is generally done part by part.
It is believed that the Chirakkal Raja of Kannur brought the Saliya’s the traditional weaving communities from other regions and settled them in colonies in Kannur. It is also said that the weaving activities were attached to the Basel Mission during 1852-1859 with a good establishment and having a huge complex of workers. Initially it was largely the Saliya’s who used to particularly do this craft, nowadays it is also done by the Nair, Nambiar, Warrier who are the non-traditional weaving castes. Currently the cooperative society NHDC in Kannur provides the necessary yarns, dyes and the other required accessories.
Work sheds of Payyanur has both the men and women weaving on the frame looms were women are involved from the pre loom work. The old and the young weavers of the Saliya community gather in this society to wind, weave the cotton materials which was transferred through their generations. Those weavers who weave the Kaavi mundu, saree are paid more and then the Thorthus (Traditional towels) though it takes more strain in weaving them. There are inside and outside weavers were the inside weavers weave in the society building’s and outside weavers procure the yarn and accessories and weave in their own locations. Handlooms are one of the industry that employs large number of people in the country with many of them leaving this craft due to the less piece rates.