Venkatagiri sarees are generally made of cotton, silk mix, pure silk that are weaved mostly on the traditional pit looms. These sarees are mostly woven with art of Jamdani weaving followed from about 14 generations. It is believed during the time of Venkatagiri Raja, this art of weaving started. Now about 70,000 people of Venkatagiri are involved in the making of the classic Venkatagiri saree. Previously the people from the caste of Padmashali community was mostly involved in this work, nowadays other people are also part of this work. The craftsmen from five generations are involved in the making of this Venkatagiri sarees. As Venkatagiri is a small village of the Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh.
Pure zari threads are brought from Kanchipuram, artificial zari threads mostly ordered from Surat with a cost ranging between Rs. 300 to RS. 3000 as per the pattern of the design. The adai system is followed for the insertion of the Jamdani work on the loom.
Previously more of cotton was generally preferred to suit the climatic conditions, today pure silk is favored as per the customer’s requirement. Many other craftsmen exports the raw materials from different places in India gathered here and made at this place like cotton yarns from Coimbatore, Silk yarns from Bangalore, Zari from Surat and dye stuffs from Chennai, Vijayawada. It takes minimum of two days to complete a simple Jamdani work saree but gives the weaver with only RS. 200- 300 after the completion of the saree. But still the weaver is happy to see the completed beautifully designed saree which gives him/ her the satisfaction that this work was done by their hands and then they proceed to weave the next pattern of design allotted to them.
It takes minimum of two months to set the new design, lot of work goes behind it once the pattern is confirmed to them, the design is transferred from butter paper to graph sheet to the setting on to the loom. For each line of weaving the weavers set the adai settings in order and continue the laying of the pattern of design. Most of the loom sheds in Venkatagiri have the coconut rooftops that help in a good weaving of saree.
Most of the houses have a loom attached to it where the craftsmen work. Venkatagiri is located in Andhra Pradesh, as a small town at the Nellore district. It is the firm motivation of the weavers and their families the tradition of weaving of this saree is continued till today. This is usually woven with cotton or silk with zari, in some cases along with the prints from nature and elegant borders with eye-catching pallus.