|The Patu is wrapped
around the body over the Kameri a full steeved shirt, in such a way that it covers the
trunk, arms and lower half of the body, down to the ankles. Both ends of the Pattu are
brought over the shoulders and held in place with silver pins or skewers linked together
with chains. The distinctive feature of kulu shawls is the stripes or bands running
horizontally widthwise at the lateral ends. These bands, a few centimeters wide and
varying from two to seven centimeters on each side are decorated with a variety of
patterns woven in brilliant colours like yellow, green, white or red on a blade background
or orange and green on a brown base. Some shawls display a flying bird motif scattered
over the surface. Motifs such as stylished floral patterns, phul; dolls with raised hands,
guddi; drops, tipu; and stars, tara; are evenly distributed between parallel lines.
Shawls came to be woven in Kulu after kinnaur
weavers settled there about a century ago. Before the arrival of these weavers, pattus
with chequered patterns, composed of black and white hands , were produced in Kulu, black
and white being the natural colours in wool. The local term for them is lungi dan: dhari
means stripes and lungi stands for alternating sections.All Pattus have borders varying
from one centimeter to seven centimeters in width, which merge with the stripes. Such
pattus are still woven but the size of square has shrunk.
The chadru worn by the men is
much simpler and display layer black and white chquered patterns. Wool is obtained from
the local sheep and men weave it themselves at home. In early 1920s, the Kulu shawl
industry experienced a slump and would have become a forgotten craft if the govt. had not
interfered and set up an industrial training school in Kulu district to train weavers.