Panchachuli - handwoven lambswool scarves from the Himalayas
The Panchachuli Women Weavers is a fair trade cooperative producing the finest quality handwoven scarves and shawls from cashmere and lambswool. Located near Almora in the foothills of the Indian Himalayas, visiting Panchachuli back in 2005 was a big inspiration for us and for the creation of From The Source.
The fair trade wool scarves made by Panchachuli are exquisite and exceptionally well finished. They wear and last really well - we've still got the scarves we bought for ourselves in 2005 and wear them all the time, especially during cold days on our Christmas Markets! Panchachuli has made a big difference to the lives of people in the local area of Kumaon, particularly women, as it provides valuable skilled employment and good working conditions. Transport is provided for workers to get to the weaving centre, and the textile production has revitalised and developed traditional local skills of weaving and natural dyes.
The cooperative produces only the finest quality textiles handmade from sustainable natural fabrics including cashmere and lambswool. This makes for really beautiful and practical scarves, and there is a new range of Panchachuli lambswool scarves available now on our website. Many of the colours look great on both men and women - some of the scarves in particular are very smart men's wool scarves - some of our favourites for men are the black striped and natural indigo blue lambswool scarves.
The lambswool stoles are quite a substantial size but because the fabric is so fine they are still fairly compact, and are very versatile - you can wear them around your shoulders as a warm shawl, or as the fabric is so fine they can easily be worn as a nice long scarf. They make a great small blanket for children, and can be really useful for travelling on long journeys when after sitting for a long period you might get a bit chilly and want something over your knees or around your shoulders!
The history of Panchachuli
Panchachuli Women Weavers was created in 1997 by the vision and creativity of Mukti Datta and Dena Kaye. As president of the Danny Kaye and Silvia Fine Foundation, Dena was in India looking for a project to immerse herself in, in memory of her father Danny Kaye and his outstanding work for UNICEF. She met with Mukti Datta and together the two set about creating the training programme of the local women. Mukti had grown up in the Almora region of Kumaon and has dedicated herself to many social causes in the area. From the creation of the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary to the formation of Panchachuli Women Weavers and lately the Dena Hospital in Almora, Mukti's passion has been the driving force behind these life changing projects. Mukti chose weaving as a profession for the women of Almora and today more than 800 women are involved in the co-operative.Future plans involve the establishment of further training programmes helped by friends and clients across the globe. The proceeds from sales of products is the sole source of income for the women who own and manage the enterprise.