September 27, 2016 2:24:21 am
For generations, Ganesh Raut (36) and his family has indulged in making sarees for most of the Devi pandals in Mumbai. For 75 years, his sarees have donned goddesses, while making every colour count during the nine days of the festival.
Situated on Ranade Road in Dadar, Raut claims though his shop, Saree Ghar, sees crowds throughout the year, the pressure of making sarees during Navratri is the highest. Delivering more than 1,000 sarees during the festive period keeping in mind the details required for each day is a challenge, he says.
“Almost every mandal in the city gets sarees from my shop. In the past, Navratri used to be a ‘sarvajanik’ festival where people would indulge in buying clothes for Dandia or other cultural events. Over the years, Devi celebrations have increased, further increasing the demand for such sarees,” he said.
From Paithanis to exquisite Bengali sarees required for Durga Puja, his shop meets all needs. From smaller Devis to ones which are at least 15-20 ft tall, making sarees for them is a skill Raut and his family has perfected over the years.
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“There is a paucity of women who know how to drape the Devis with sarees. Thus, our shop started making readymade blouses with the front portion remaining same with attached sleeves to it which cater to the number of hands of the Goddess. Thus, we started making outfits for Devis that could be customised,” he added.
From Khar’s Devi and the Goddess in Santa Cruz to those in Dadar and Girgauncha, Ganesh claims his shop has specialised in fulfilling different demands for sarees of each pandal.
“We also provide customised sarees to the red light area in Kamatipura where they celebrate the occasion with pomp each year. The best part about our saree manufacturing is, they are made in parts of Varanasi, Bangalore and Shahapur by our hired skilled weavers while its cost of production remains low. This helps us give traditional sarees at almost equivalent costs to devotees each year,” he said.
Over the years, devotees’ demands for innovation has evolved. “Everyone wants to do something special or unique than the rest. It is a challenge for me and my team to satisfy each one’s demands. We study the market before making the sarees which helps us make it the best,” he added.
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