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J&K Govt mulling a silk museum at historic Solina factory

Commissioner Secretary, industries and commerce, Shailendra Kumar said they are preparing a detailed project report which will be submitted to World Bank for seeking funds for establishing silk museum.
MUKEET AKMALI
Srinagar | Posted : Jul 12 2018 1:26AM | Updated: Jul 12 2018 12:47AM
J&K Govt mulling a silk museum at historic Solina factory
GK Photo

Buoyed by the successful revival of historic Solina Silk Factory, the industries and commerce department is now mulling to establish a state-of-art silk museum at the factory premise, which once established would be fourth silk museum in the world.

According to officials, silk museum is proposed to establish at Solina Silk Factory which has a sprawling 108 kanals of land. The silk museum will present the different phases of sericulture and silk manufacturing in detail and focuses on promotion of Kashmir silk.

Commissioner Secretary, industries and commerce, Shailendra Kumar said they are preparing a detailed project report which will be submitted to World Bank for seeking funds for establishing silk museum.

“ There is huge space available with us, which could be used for establishing silk museum where people would come and get acquainted with the heritage of Kashmir,” Kumar said adding that at present there are only three world class silk museums in the world, one is in Italy and remaining two in China.

“J&K’s silk sector has a huge potential. We are producing 900 metric tonnes of cocoon out of which only 150 MTs are consumed in J&K, while remaining 750 MTs are being sold at throwaway prices, meaning lesser returns for cocoon growers,” Kumar said.

“Our focus is to provide end to end solution in silk sector. That is why we are procuring cocoon which would then be converted to yarns at Solina and then into fabric in Rajbagh and Jammu silk weaving factories. By the end of this year we are aiming to manufacture 3.5 lakh metres of silk fabric.”

The silk of Kashmir was thought as something that could be compared to the best silk in the world. The yarn made its way through the capitals of Europe, palaces of the Middle East, and beyond. For as long as a century it clothed the rich and mighty in a sartorial elegance that won all-around praise for the silk yarn reeled in the Kashmir valley. Then in 1988 the rustle of silk could no longer be heard as the units in which the silk yarn was made became unviable to run. 

2018 might mark as the beginning of the revival of this industry in the Kashmir valley. Standing under big chinar trees on a big plot of land in Solina, the old Rambagh Silk filature is back in the business of reeling silk yarn.

Silk factory at Solina was established in 1897 with the help of Sir Thomas Wardle, President, Silk Association of Great Britain, who was impressed by the high quality of silk yarn of Kashmir. 

In the year 1897 also the directorate of sericulture was established under the directorship of CW Walton who had enough experience in sericulture. Improved variety of Silk seeds were imported from Italy and were distributed free of cost to the rearers and the cocoons were sent to England for reeling and weaving.