Meghalaya’s Umden–Diwon was declared as the state’s first ‘Eri Silk villages’ on Friday.

The declaration was made in the presence of textiles minister Banteidor Lyngdoh, Nongpoh MLA Mayralborn Syiem, Commissioner & Secretary (textiles), F. R Kharkongor, Secretary (textiles), FM Dopth, Ri Bhoi Deputy Commissioner, R M Kurbah, Director textiles, besides other dignitaries, and weavers and spinners.

The government has aimed at developing the Umden–Diwon village on the lines of Hai Aan Silk Village in Vietnam and Sualkuchi village in neighbouring Assam.

Umden–Diwon village, Raid Nongtluh, Ri Bhoi district, emerged as the epicentre of eri culture in the state.

Sericulture and handloom involve over 70% of full-time active weavers.

It continues to draw researchers & visitors for its exceptional products which are ethically produced and organically sourced.

The official declaration is expected to meet the aspirations of the weavers.

The declaration of Silk Villages is also expected to contribute to capacity building, design upscaling, financial assistance, promotion, selling & marketing integrating the sector with the latest technology to enable the village to further develop as a self-reliant, vibrant village, adding strength to women empowerment.

“Efforts will be taken to propel Meghalaya’s maiden Eri Silk Village as a Centre producing world-class silk products, right from the farm to fibre , fibre to fabric & ultimately from Thread to trend.

“Collective efforts are underway to assure availability and visibility of Eri products, while also elevating Meghalaya’s exclusive Eri product – Ryndia from a cottage industry to a fashion and lifestyle concept, ensuring consistency and quality while further motivating neighbouring villages to pursue and promote Eri Culture,” said a statement.

A Design Resource Centre (DRC) in collaboration with NIFT is proposed to be set up for the collective benefit of all its stakeholders.

The DRC will portray professional presentations of Eri Silk products and design research outcomes in specially designed display areas.

DRC will provide unique branding and identity to the Eri Silk Village by depicting the speciality of the region, in terms of the colour, motif, usage and looms through appropriate visual merchandising, while also facilitating an interactive platform for the artisans, industry and design students through display areas, specialized labs, resource centre and design activities.

An Eri corner on the lines of the one set up at MeghTex, Shillong will also be set up to showcase and establish market linkages between the village and the outside world, leveraging on the Department of Textiles unique Ryndia brand with the tagline “From Thread to Trend.”

It was a landmark occasion when all Eri producing villages under Raid Nongtluh coalesced to inaugurate the Special Eri Village signage at the entrance of the Umden-Diwon area to the accompanying beats of the Snap Paka Khasi percussionists.

The Minister and dignitaries also inaugurated an exhibition showcasing various unique Eri products of the area, besides a demo stall displaying the entire spinning, weaving and organic dyeing process which provided a fascinating glimpse to the visitors.

The Ryndia logo of the department, special brochures on Eri along with product catalogue of the Department of Textiles, Special Stamp cover in collaboration with the Department of Posts, Government of India were also released.

In his address, textiles minister Banteidor Lyngdoh expressed happiness on the maiden and historic declaration of Umden-Diwon as Meghalaya’s first Silk Village.

He hoped that this official recognition and declaration would further introduce capacity building, upscaling in design, technological interventions, market linkages for Eri and for the village, besides attracting visitors, tourists and researchers.

There was a costume display of Eri Fashion “From Thread to Trend” by three upcoming young Eri local designers-Ms Iba Mallai from Umden, Ms Baphinda Rynjah from Nongpoh, and Ms Sakaru Kyndiah from Shillong.

The programme came to a close with a special costume display-cum-fashion show on Eri presented by the Fashion Society Shillong.

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