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For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni
For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni 

Things to do in India

Colour, cocoons and mulberry trees on a Mysore silk experience

If you go to any Indian wedding, many of the women will be wearing saris made with Mysore silk…

By Nanjunda Swamy
Tour Guide in Mysore

If you go to any Indian wedding, many of the women will be wearing saris made with Mysore silk. It’s exceptionally soft and high quality, with a beautiful drape and sheen that makes every colour look amazingly rich, so you won’t be surprised to hear that the best saris cost around £3,000.  

On this tour, you’ll see how Mysore silk is created and we’ll explain the background. The story of how silk came to the city starts with Tipu Sultan in the 18th century, who was so delighted with a gift of silk cloth from China that he set up mulberry farms where silkworms could be raised. This particular factory was established in 1912 by the Maharaja of Mysore, who brought in power looms from Switzerland to revive an industry that was in decline.

To show how silk is made from start to finish, we begin in a village outside the city where the silkworms are raised and the cocoons are collected. It’s a fascinating experience of rural life, where the guests can see inside the houses, talk to the farmers over coffee, walk through the place where the mulberry trees are grown and learn about something that’s still done in a natural, traditional way. 

From here the cocoons are taken to the factory to be turned into thread and then cloth, so that’s the next part of the visit, and it’s very colourful. The finished fabrics mostly come in plain colours, though patterns are becoming more popular, with a golden border in an intricate design made with zari thread.

Mysore silk is something special, which makes you feel warm in winter and cool in summer, and it’s instantly recognisable. When I ask my wife what she wants for Christmas, the answer is always, ‘A Mysore silk sari.’

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Alfred & Nanjunda Swamy

With more than 25 years of experience in the travel industry, Nanjunda delights in hosting guests in his hometown, Mysore. His favourite aspect of the job is meeting people from around the world and he is always researching the newest and most experiential excursions for his guests.