Shawls, mufflers, caps, jackets and socks made of Ladakhi yak wool are in great demand in Kullu. The consumption of yak wool handicrafts in local markets has gone almost double than the traditional goat and angora (rabbit) wools this year.
Yak is widely reared in Spiti and Ladakh region. The raw yak wool is very hard and rough but it becomes very soft when processed gently. Nowadays the raw material from Kullu is being sent to Haryana for processing at large scale.
Depending upon design and handy work, a yak wool shawl is being sold for Rs 800 to Rs 2,500 which is very cheap than pashmina and Kinnuari shawls which costs Rs 7,000 and Rs 5,000 respectively. One can purchase a goat woollen shawl starting from Rs 250 but yak being a rare and strange animal, purchasers, especially tourists are purchasing its products curiously.
“Yak wool products have beaten all other traditional wools,” said OP Jaswal, in-charge of Bunkar Utpad Mela in Manali where homemade woolen products of self help groups and mahila mandals are being sold with 20 percent discount. Jaswal said that the exhibition and sale fair of woolen handicraft was organized by HP state handicrafts and handloom corporation. “Ministry of textile is paying women the transportation charges and shop rents. A group of eight women can sell their products for most of 15 days and then chance is given to next eight women. We are getting a good response everywhere and now we are going to organize such fairs in Delhi, Kolkata and other states,” he added.
As all handmade woollen products in the Bunkar Utpad Mela are genuine and with special discount of 20 percent, tourists are flocking to the stalls. The government was compensating the loss to women that they were offering to the purchasers.
Besides yak wool, Kullu typical shawls, Kinnauri shawls, angora products, white wool mufflers, jackets and socks have been reflecting a good response in the district.