The handloom industry is one of the most ancient cottage industries in the Salem district of Tamil Nadu, India. The history of handloom and spinning mills dates back to the pre-independence period. Till the 1960’s there were less than 5 spinning mills in Salem. Private handloom weaving started thriving in the region along with the large-scale weaving cooperatives.
Small-scale hand-dyeing units were started around the region to support the industry. Around the 1980’s the textile industry saw a massive growth, and to date, there are more than 125 spinning mills. Easy access to necessary inputs like yarns and dyeing facilities has led to the proliferation of the industry.
Elampillai is a small village in the Salem district. It is a thinly-populated village where people are engaged in agriculture and handloom weaving. The specialty of the Elampillai Sari is the butta (motif) design in the pallu (edge of the sari) and border. They are also well known for the durability of the colors and the weave in their fabrics.
The thread count used in weaving determines the softness of the fabric. The width of the sari is 51 inches. Each and every thread of the Elampillai handloom sari is hand woven. In Elampillai, a weaver weaves around 4 saris in a week.