Handloom industry in Eastern Sri Lanka

Eastern Province has been traditionally famous for handlooms & textiles and has a centuries old history. Townships like Maruthamunai (Kalmunai) and Kattankudy (Batticaloa) in the region have been pioneers in the manufacture of handloom and the tradition of handloom weaving has been brought down from generation to generation. It is believed that the handloom industry in this region originated as far back as the 18th century and that people here produced handloom garments for the Kandian nobles.

Despite various challenges, eastern handlooms continue to command buyer appeal and have a good demand not only in the local markets, but also in foreign markets.  Handloom sector is a livelihood mean for unemployed women, men and the entrepreneurial youth in the region. If you visit Maruthamunai or Kathankudy, you can observe that handloom industry has become a popular cottage industry there and provides livelihoods to a considerable number of people. You can also witness the “division of work” and “job specialization”, the two key concepts in economics is applied here in the industry. Some people do handloom weaving as full time job while some others are doing it as part-time job. The industry is labour intensive and consumes less electricity and utilities while generating higher employment. The tools and machines required for this industry are also locally made, while the main input, the thread is imported.   


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Latitude: 7.435522 Longitude: 81.814238 Elevation: 33 ft
the best travel advice comes from the people who live here
Hafleen Fuad

Activities at this Site

House or factory visit, learn the process of hand loom weaving, try some of the machines and purchase final product—saree or sarong, bed sheet etc.  

Hours Open

Can be visited during day hours. best time would be morning hours.

Seasons Open

Through out the year

Eco-Friendly Notes

Be aware of the local culture and behave in the manner befitting. 

Accessibility Notes

There are several small pockets of hand loom manufactures in the Eastern Province. However, Maruthamunai and/or Kattankudy would be ideal to explore the industry.

Maruthamunai is located near Kalmunai Town on Kalmunai - Batrticaloa main road, approximately 4km north from Kalmunai town. Kattankudy in located near Batticaloa town along Kalmunai - Batticaloa main road approximately 7 km south from Batti town These two are very famous villages and easy to access as both villages are located on the same road.     

Kalmunai - Pandiruppu - Maruthamunai

Batticaloa - Kallady - Kattankudy

Pet Friendly Notes

Please do not bring pets when you explore the handloom industry.

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