Bamboo curtains lift spirits of Malakunta families

HYDERABAD: With summer gradually setting in, traditional bamboo curtains are making a comeback. Several families make a living by weaving these curtains along the roadside in busy Malakunta of Goshamahal area in the city. They are currently busy rolling out these curtains for their customers.

Malakunta area is the biggest market where people go to buy bamboo curtains. These are thin strips of bamboo tied together with strings into a mat, with a cloth stitched over. There are nearly 150 families depending on this business during summer months in the area.

Making these curtains calls for considerable practice, skill and craftsmanship, which are passed on from one generation to another. A third-generation craftsman is Grandhi Teja, who says he began making these curtains when he was just 10 years old.

“I and my family have been doing this for the past 20 years now. On some days during the season, we even make Rs. 2,000 per day. On others, it could be just Rs. 500 or no sales at all,” he remarked.

This summer, however, mats are selling fast. “More people are coming to buy as many families are staying home these days due to Coronavirus,” Teja stated.

According to him, each bamboo curtain lasts up to five years depending on materials used and add-ons, such as ropes, to roll them up. They cost between Rs. 45 and Rs. 60 per square foot. “We also offer to go and install them at customers’ houses. But that is for extra charge,” he explained.

Ramanamam and Yesu, a couple making these curtains, say they work about 10–12 hours a day, with their children too helping them. This keeps them busy for about six months. The mats are good not just for summers but also during rains. “We get the bamboo from Assam. Cloth that covers the curtain comes from Surat. There has been an increase in demand for these curtains over past few years,” Yesu pointed out.

Sujatha, another bamboo weaver, said she began learning how to make curtains after her marriage. It has been 10 years now. “Once this season is over, we switch over to making bamboo baskets and bamboo pandals for weddings,” she said.


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