This circular bamboo rim for the umbrella base spans from 4.5 ft to 18 feet, and knotting to open out and close the umbrella is an art that has be learnt on the ground.
A layer of canvas, Gada cloth goes in to the inner and outer lining. Finally a pure white jacquard layer finishes the look inside the rim, and a cream and gold in the outer rim. The ends of the umbrella are finished with a bright red lining, with tassels hanging to give a decorative look. The tassels are done by the women folks at home. Finally the inner side of umbrella is embellished with velvet strips and gold coloured lace designs.
Adhesives play an important role and the entire designs in velvet in the inner circular dome are stuck to the fabric. (During older times, they used an organic paste made from tamarind seeds or Puliyankottai, which is replaced with Fevicol now )
Every year they try to innovate with new designs, but the temples insist on sticking to traditional motifs. The artists don’t want to reveal the motifs and keep it as a surprise until the “Kodai poduthal” ceremony happens.
Both appliqué work and hand embroidery is used for designs within the umbrella.
One more type of umbrella made for temples and religious heads are these “Kerala Umbrellas” made in colourful velvets.