About The Weavers Who Weave Sesha Vastrams for Tirupati Balaji

The five-meter-long white vastrams (dhoti) with a maroon color silk border worn by Lord Venkateswara at the Tirupati Balaji Temple in Tirumala on the first day of the annual Brahmotsavam is known as Sesha Vastrams or Eruvada Jodi Panchalu. This holy dress for Lord Balaji is prepared by a group of weavers at Gadwal Town in Mahbubnagar District in Andhra Pradesh. The traditional loom used to weave the holy dress is only used for this purpose, The weavers perform special austerities and observe Vrata while weaving the dress, which is completed in six weeks.

Brahmotsavam in Tirupati Balaji Temple coincides with the Navratri (September – October).

S. Sandeep Kumar writes about this unique holy dress making in The Hindu

The Konkathi family has been weaving ‘Sesha Vastrams’ for the past 10 generations, on a decree from the Gadwal royal family. Chief weaver K. Venkateswarlu makes the designs and all the five of them weave the vastrams on a traditional loom in their house. The loom is used only once in a year and none is allowed to enter the room where it is kept, say family members.

The family brings superior quality cotton from Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu and Chirala in Andhra Pradesh. The weavers, adopting the traditional practice, work for over six hours a day to weave the vastrams. It costs nearly Rs 15,000 for raw materials and the total would jump to around Rs. 40,000 by the time the vastrams are presented to the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams. “But we charge only for the raw materials,” Mr. Venkateswarlu says.

The weavers stay at the Konkathi house until weaving is completed. They cook their own food after daily pujas. The food materials are bought in advance and kept in the room separately.

After the vastrams are woven, special pujas are performed and then these are presented at the Peshkar’s office at Tirumala, says Mr. Venkateswarlu, a tenth generation weaver in the family.