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Silk production in Karnataka dates back to the time of Tipu Sultan’s reign and is said to be the ‘ father of Karnataka silk industry’. . The silk produced throughout the kingdom on Mysore was widely popular during his reign. However, the great depression saw the decline of silk due to immense competition from imported silk and rayon.
In 1913, the architect of Mysore, Sir M Vishveshwaraiah, who gave much importance to sericulture in rural development,hired the services of Signor Washington Mari from Italy to organize and develop the silk industry in mysore. He made available 12 varieties of pure European and Chinese silkworm to conduct experiments in Mysore State (now Karnataka). Under the guidance of Signor Mari, Appadhorai Mudaliar conducted native environment breeding experiments in Channapatna.
In 1914, Signor Mari shifted the headquarters to Bangalore, and Mr Mudaliar continued to carry out the breeding program in his Channapatna Farm.
With this shift came a surge in silk producing sarees not just in Karnataka but also the rest of the country. In Karnataka there were some cross overs from cotton to silk sarees and sometimes a blend as in the case of Ilkals. Bangalore Silks and Mysore Silks also came to the forefront.