A Village In Assam’s Sivasagar Takes The Silk Route, Shows The Way

Villagers holding bamboo plates with silkworms
Villagers holding bamboo plates with silkworms

SAMIRAN DUARAH

Amguri, March 13, 2019

Diksu Maut, a nondescript village located in Sivasagar district of Assam, has turned itself into a self-reliant village. The entire population of the village is now engaged in silkworm rearing and producing muga silk, the golden fabric of Assam. Silkworm rearing has become the only source of livelihood for the villagers.

In fact, each and every family in the village have engaged themselves in breeding silkworms. “Though the profit margin is less, we are happy with the outcome. We earn a minimum of Rs 30-40,000,” said a local villager.

Silkworms
Silkworms

“Silkworm rearing the source of livelihood in this village. The youths have also taken up the practice to protect the pride of Assam’s Muga, which is famous for its uniqueness among other fabrics of the country,” another local said.

Silkworm rearing

The silkworms feed on the leaves of only two indigenous tree varieties, Som (Machilus bombychina) and Soalu (Litsaea polyanthea). It is a process of several months as the worms devour on the leaves they have to be protected from birds and ants. To drive away the birds the people use wooden arrows and make sounds from their mouths and the ants are chased away by molasses and other food items.

Silkworms breeding
Silkworms breeding

Later, the fattened caterpillars are taken away from the trees, hung on baskets to reel their cocoons. The cocoons are later collected so that the butterfly does not come out and are cut through which becomes a thread. These cocoons are then boiled in huge cauldrons of water mixed with an alkaline solution and then dried.

Manchester of Assam

If your eyes want to witness the beautiful process of how the Muga threads are turned into gorgeous and breathtaking pieces of garments, the best place is to visit Sualkuchi town located in Kamrup district. Sualkuchi is widely known as the weaving village or the Manchester of Assam for its exquisite Muga silk production.

Muga mekhela chadors
Muga mekhela chadors

The art of weaving in this village is a lifestyle that every person follows. Children are taught to weave their own clothes and later in life, it becomes a source of livelihood.

Muga Mekhela-Chador the two piece of elegance that every Assamese woman loves to drape on them is always hand woven by this magnificent silk and it has, in fact, made its state proud in international stages.

Mentionably muga thread has obtained the GI (Geographical Indication) tag for its uniqueness and origin in geographic territory of Assam.