Thulma blankets are well-known for their high-quality fur and captivating motifs. The people of Dharchula and Munsiyari, the border tehsils of the state, have been involved in the business of handicrafts for centuries. Along with dan, carpets, fans, chutkas, Thulma blanket is also made.
Once this marginal handicrafts used to have a huge demand in the market. The products from here used to reach all over the country. After the liberalization started in the country in 1991, marginal handicrafts started to lag behind. Lack of modern technology and training was the biggest reason for this.
Origin of Thulma Blankets:
Before 1962, wool used to come from Tibet to make Thulma. The merchants of the frontier brought wool from Tibet and made it available to the local people. After the Indo-China war in 1962, when wool from Tibet stopped coming, India promoted sheep rearing through the Animal Husbandry Department in the frontier. Now the region has become dependent in terms of wool production.
However, To increase the Thulma industry, it needs to be connected with modern technology. Along with new machines, by giving better training to the local people, new employment opportunities can be created in the frontier.
Thulma Blanket Making Process:
Thulma is a special type of blanket made from sheep’s wool. Women in the village weave the blankets, while men help with yarn spinning. The majority of men work in agriculture and sheep rearing. Thulma is woven on either a pit or frame loom. It is made up of long strips of fabric that are cut and stitched together. A blanket stitch is used to finish the edges. These blankets used to be made with wool that hadn’t been dyed, but due to high demand, they are now made with wool that has been dyed bright red, blue, pink, black, and green.
Thulma blanket weaving is an important source of income for the displaced Tibetan Community. The foundation of the blanket weaving is done by cotton thread. Gandhi Ashram Khadi Uddyog(NGO) purchases the wool from Tibet and Dharchula. After purchasing, the processed wool is given to the villagers so they may make the blanket.
Read complete making process of Thulma blanket here.
Tools and Raw Materials used to make Thulma Blankets:
|Raw Materials / Tool||Uses|
|Wool:||It is used to weave the blanket|
|Kayun (Comb or brush):||Pointed tooth brush used to brush the weaved blanket.|
|Punja:||It is used to beat on the weaved thread.|
|Scissors:||It is used to trim the fiber.|
|Knife:||It is used to cut the thread.|
|Weaving Loom:||It is used to weave the carpet.|
|Fly shuttle:||Its used while weaving.|
|Biring:||Bamboo stick used while weaving to maintain the stiffness on the weaved blanket.|
|Katliya:||Spindle on which the thread is spun manually.|
Thulma industry will get a boost from GI tag:
After the liberalization that started in the country in 1991, marginal handicrafts started to lag behind. Lack of modern technology and training was the biggest reason for this. Despite this, 200 families are still involved in the business of handicrafts in both Dharchula and Munsyari tehsils. Thulma Enterprises of Frontier has now got GI Tag (Geographical Indication). Now it is expected that this will lead to the branding of Thulma and the venture will gain momentum.
However, Only GI Tagging is not going to increase the sale of Thulma alone. To increase the thulma industry, it needs to be connected with modern technology. Along with new machines, by giving better training to the local people, new employment opportunities can be created in the frontier.
Yes, Thulma will now be branded after getting the GI tag. which will helps to remove any doubts from buyers regarding the quality. This will increase the export opportunities of Thulma to the colder countries of the world.
Where to buy Thulma blanket?
However, after getting the GI Tag, Thulma will now be branded. Which will help in increasing the export opportunities of Thulma. But in reality, the handicrafts of the marginal started to lag behind after the liberalization that started in the country in 1991. Lack of modern technology and training was the biggest reason for this.
But still, there are some companies, which are helping to save this handicraft from extinction.
we have included some online website links below for your reference.
1- Handmade Traditional Uttarakhand Thulma Blanket
- Dimensions: 7 feet x 5.5 feet
- Price: Rs. 5,900.00
- Link to buy: Click here
2- Traditional Thulma blanket
- Dimensions: 80”x23”
- Price: RS.11,650.00
- Link to buy: Click here
3- Harsil Wool Thulma Blanket White
- Dimensions: 70″ X 46″
- Price: RS.21,400.00
- Link to buy: Click here
However, there is less variety of options available online. but still, you can find good collections with better prices and quality in local markets of Uttarakhand.
Thulma Blanket Price:
Normally Thulma costs between Rs 2200 to Rs 2500, but prices may vary depending on its size, availability and quality. Hope the GI tag will improve the production of Thulma and we will get better prices and varieties.