Meet the incredibles: Vivek of Kalavilasa & Dhurries

This is a story of someone who graduated from the best Engineering institution in the country, and  then spent over two decades in the corporate world.  But then, drudgery and monotony set in, with a strong urge to do more than ‘just being’. These thoughts and desires to make a difference to the lives of others propelled Vivek Shrivastava into the direction of handmade dhurries (pronounced as ‘the-ree‘).  Using craft as an economic resource, he has worked tirelessly with rural artisans to support them and to give them a sense of pride in their craft, thereby generating respectable earnings as well. If you are fascinated by dhurries and Vivek’s journey, then read more about his work with his non-profit venture, Kalavilasa, that is focussed on creating the most incredible dhurries and rugs, whilst generating livelihoods for the rural artisans.

What is special about Punja Dhurries?

When you mention dhurries, Punja dhurries come to mind. So, what are these?  Punja dhurries made of cotton or wool, are the most sophisticated form of dhurries, which Kalavilasa started producing earnestly four years back. Punja dhurries, made originally in the Jodhpur region of Rajasthan, are extremely durable, light-weight and beautiful cotton floor rugs. All these traits in the Punja dhurries arise because of the special hand-weaving technique employed in producing them. They are still made using primitive looms by the most talented weavers…now, how amazing is this!

The dhurries borrow designs from Persian and Turkish kilims, the traditional Rajasthan dhurries, and the contemporary rug designs from Europe and America. Kalavilasa specialises in designing and producing them in cotton as well as wool. Despite market pressures to cut costs, Kalavilasa uses yarn dyed in azo-free VAT dyes, so that the wonderful creations don’t bleed colour or fade.

Dhurries, Rugs and Kilims

Dhurries can be handmade or made on powerlooms, as done in Erode, in India. In America,  “dhurrie” is referred to as a “dhurrie rug”, to make the meaning explicit.  Kilim is simply a rug (handmade or machine made) and is typically made in Iran, Turkey, and central Asia. With the lines almost blurring based on where a rug is made and therefore it’s nomenclature, the rugs inspired by the Kilim geometric designs are called Kilims,

In India, Rajasthan, Mirzapur, Warangal, Erode, Vavalgund, Gwalior, Agra and Sidhi are the leading centers for the production of dhurries.

What is Kalavilsa doing for the rural artisan?

Since this entire project is fuelled by Vivek’s love for uplifting the rural artisan, it is only fair that we share with our readers the work is he doing and how he is making a difference. Maybe, it will inspire you to do something similar …

  • Kalavilasa provides continuous employment for twelve months a year
  • They work in one of the most socially and economically backward districts in India, Sidhi in Madhya Pradesh. Locating the weaving workshop in Sidhi aligns with the objective of supporting rural livelihoods, as it stops these weavers from migrating for work to Varanasi and Mirzapur. Instead, helping them to earn a good living in their own home
  • A hard-working and talented weaver working with Kalavilasa earns between INR10K and INR12K per month. This figure appears low in the context of urban wages, but is quite impressive for a village in Sidhi district

I shall now share with you the beautiful process of creating these dhurries, all at Kalavilasa’s workshops:

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dhurrie, rug, handmade, india, kalavilsa, MP, craft, weaving

dhurrie, rug, handmade, india, kalavilsa, MP, craft, weaving

dhurrie, rug, handmade, india, kalavilsa, MP, craft, weaving

See Also

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A picture of some beautiful creations, that are now in homes of happy Kalavilasa customers:

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Contact Kalavilsa

Help support the artisan who makes your house a home…Be Notjustashopper!


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