Our Story

Digikala started as a project for the love of Ikat handlooms of Odisha. The project envisaged a marriage of hand woven textiles and digital technologies to enhance and expand the appeal of handloom products. The intention was to preserve the age old tradition of Ikat weaving and empowering handloom weavers to sustain themselves in the competitive market.

The project was started at Nuapatna and Barpali clusters by Digital Empowerment Foundation, supported by Microsoft. Digikala, while centered around handloom weavers, is much more; from Digital Literacy, to enabling government support for weavers, to creating Self-Help Groups, to executing a wireless for communities(W4C) project for the village and creating a design archive for the cluster.

As a labour of love and trust by Digikala team, we have been able to support weavers across the cluster, support them with design skills, and most importantly, by creating a market which the weavers can directly access and feel empowered to take the tradition of ikat weaving to a digital future, without losing essence.


Wireless for community

As part of Digikala, Wireless for Communities is organising the cluster digitally at local level, while enabling access and exposure to the larger market. This enables weaver groups to share information locally, peer learning, organising meetings, and taking feedback on various issues. Wireless internet empowers not just weavers but the whole community. For example, weavers from Nuapatna applied for Weaver ID cards digitally.


Self Help Groups

Self-Help groups are an important part of Digikala project. SHGs make it possible for weavers to organise themselves in small groups, contribute their savings to the group. And use the money as capital for collective ventures without getting in to any kind of debt cycle. This empowers them to use their own capital for raw materials, and even to take their products to the market.


Digital Design and Archiving

Digital design training empowers the community with the power to create their own designs; accurately and allowing much more innovation. Most people associated with weaving can conceive designs, but the skill to draw on paper was confined only to a few. Using a design software, the skill of designing has been democratised and anybody interested can now design. Apart from that, more than 500 designs have been archived which are either new, previously made on paper or from existing products. Going forward, the archive will showcase how designs have evolved over time


Digital Literacy

Digikala has already helped impart digital literacy to more than 1000 students, both children and adults in Barpali and Nuapatna centres. Digital Literacy has helped the whole community become familiar to computers, internet, social media and basic tools like word and excel. This has worked as the foundation for the community adopting e-commerce and digital designing.



Digikala has taken internet and e-commerce to weavers' doorstep. As a result, the entry barrier for becoming an entrepreneur has been brought down to almost zero. Every weaver can now display and sell their products through online platforms. This coupled with financially self-sustaining Self-Help Groups give them the much needed capital to start their own ventures, and participate in exhibitions on their own.


Handloom Tourism

Handloom tourism is an emerging part of Digikala. The rich art of Ikat weaving, several processes, history, culture and practices will be made available to enthusiasts and interested people to explore the clusters in a wholistic manner.

Ikat Weaving

Ikat weaving is defined by age old tradition of intricate designs, tie-dye, and Deep colours. While Barpali uses cotton, Naupatna uses Mulberry, Malda and Tussar silk. Traditional designs take their inspiration from local rituals or ceremonies, Geet Govinda, Jagannath Puri and philosophical teachings. Digikala has enabled a fusion of traditional and contemporary to create finest of sarees, dupattas, stoles and running fabrics.

Comfort and Quality

Woven with great care and eye for details, cottons and silks used are of highest quality, and colours used are safe, natural and skin friendly.

Traditional yet Modern

Digikala represents a blend of traditional and modern tastes. The patterns and colours used are fashionable, trendy and happy.

Care and Maintenance

Most of the fabrics are friendly to a gentle machine wash and dry in indirect sunlight. Specific details are available on each product.

Handmade with Love

Looms are threads are sacred to weavers. Each piece of cloth woven has a personal story and lots of love.