While any beautifully hand woven Kanjivaram / Kanchipuram silk sarees can amaze the wearers and passionate lovers of the Kanjivaram / Kanchipuram silk sarees, this saree has more to offer. Kanjivaram / Kanchipuram wedding silk sarees come in various colors and designs etc., however this faboulous Kanjivaram has come with a different vibrant combination.
Ask any South Indian woman what the Kanjivaram saree means to her, she will inevitably state an expected fact – it is a rich-looking smooth ocean of silk that is meant for display at exclusive occasions and a possession to be prized for life. The South Indian answer to the famed Banarasi Silks of Northern India, Kanjivarams or Kanchipuram silks are definitely the pride of the wearer and the envy of onlookers.
Kanjivaram sarees are brides current best friend, originated from Tamil Nadu are now winning hearts in North. Kanjivaram silk is considerably thicker than other silks and therefore, heavier the silk, better the quality. Being on the expensive side; they are much more functional as can be wore on other occasions also. Usual motifs are of peacocks, parrots, temple motifs and buttas. The light brocade work makes them more enticing and easy to carry. How to keep a check that the shopkeeper is not fooling you with fake kanjivaram saree? As the designs on these sarees are weaved with golden threads and elaborated zari work.
Origin and History
Settled in the small town of Kanchipuram (Tamil Nadu), the famous Kanjivaram saree weave goes back 400 years. It was during the reign of Krishna Devaraya (from the Vijayanagara Empire) that the art really took off. Two major weaving communities of Andhra Pradesh, the Devangas and Saligars migrated to the town of Kanchipuram. They used their excellent weaving skills to make the silk saree that bore images of scriptures and figurines found on the temples around the village.
The silk that is used to produce Kajivaram sarees are obtained from the mulberry worms through the method of sericulture. About 250 to 300 threads are used to woven into the wept. This allows the saree to remain sturdy. The zari work used is generally gold and silver with silver running in first and coated with gold later.
Synthetic zari is also used avidly these days – which brings down the weight as well as the cost. Most Kora as well as Cotton Kanchi Sarees have cotton yarns or synthetic ones. These are pocket-friendly versions of Kancheepuram weave – yet extremely durable and strong.
The warp frame use to weave this fabric has about 60 holes, in which there are 240 threads in the warp and 250 to 3000 threads in the weft, giving it a sturdy feel. The pallu, the border and the body of the saree are generally woven separately, and then interlocked together with much precision and neatness.
Designs and Patterns
While most Indian textile genres are woven with a single warp – the Kanjivaram Saree is typified by its use of two or three warps that are dyed in distinct colors and are woven together by the most painstaking interlocking technique. The technique is locally known as the Korvai weave. This technique permits the play of colors that is a signature of this genre and elevates each Kanjivaram Saree to a work of art. The joint is woven so strongly that even if the sarees tears, the border will not detach. This is a hallmark for Kanjivaram weaving.
Over the years, the traditional and much preferred stripes or golden dot designs have given way to more symbolic motifs such as fruits, animals, birds, the sun and the moon, and even stories from mythology.
Temple borders, checks, stripes and floral motifs are traditional designs found on Kanjivaram sarees which were inspired with images and scriptures in South Indian temples or natural features like leaves, birds and animals. This is why they come in a wide variety depending upon the intricacy of work, colors, pattern, material used like Zari (gold thread) etc.
This is a 9 yard long saree with designs of temples patterened on it. Over a period of time, Kanjivaram sarees got converted in 6 yards with gold zari weaving. Those are really very much costly. In order to make it a bit cost effective, artificial zaris are used which look almost like the original zari. These sarees are available in a variety of colours which is its speciallity and that gives it an alluring and elegant look.
The silk thread (resham) that is used to weave the saree is dipped in rice water and sun-dried before it is used to increase both its thickness and stiffness. The silk thread is then interlocked with a thin silver wire and woven through after which a golden thread is used to complete the procedure.
Kanchipuram sarees have been recognized as a Geographical Indication by the government since 2006. This can be considered as a mark of authenticity and has helped improve the sales of Kanjivaram silk sarees. As of now there are about 5,000 families involved in the production and there are 15 silk and cotton yard industries and 60 dyeing units in the region to aid the production process.
Today Kanjivaram is the leading South Indian saree followed by Opara and others. It is one of the most demanding sarees among all and almost every ethnic fashion enthusiast lady will surely keep this saree among the favourite saree's list. Now a days people love to wear Kanjivaram saree in all sorts of occasions with pride.
The Kanchipuram saree that is being woven since traditional times is so deeply ingrained in the ethos of the place, no longer remains merely a costly fabric, it is considered a priceless heritage that is sacrosanct and guarded jealously by the people of the town. No wonder that it has become the primary source for eking out a livelihood and the skill and knowledge of the craft passed down from generation to generation. So obsessed are the people with this fabric that a pre-independence era movie called ‘Kanchivaram’ in Tamil on the subject was released in 2008. The theme of the movie while briefly showing the process, highlights the pitiable state of the weavers and their families wherein they lived a hand-to-mouth existence, owing to being unorganized, exploited and marginalized. Their lot improved only when the State govt. intervened and got them to form a co-operative which has then on, as a collective movement, looked after the interests of the weavers.
The vibrant colours and unique designs – which range from characteristic checks to scintillating broad borders – coupled with gorgeous woven motifs like peacocks, kalash, leaves etc. – make these sarees stand out pieces, amidst sea of other drapes. Authentic silk kanjivarams – even when relatively plain – are never embellished or embroidered for extra decoration. Such is their mesmerizing charm that no external ostentation is needed!
Originally a 9 yard weave, Kanjivaram is now usually available in a 6 yard length. With the evolution of designs, everyone is now spoilt for choice. Whether it is new brides or Bollywood A-listers, the kanjivaram is quite a hit among Indian ladies for all the right reasons. Awe-inspiring, royalty personified and truly Indian, this saree is a must-have in everyone’s wardrobe. Why not? It oozes class from every weave because the colours, the designs, the craftsmanship, the material, everything is just fit for a royal Indian queen!
So kanjivaram saree is not really an expenditure but an investment. The spectacular ensemble has the power to empower you with the confidence to walk the road like you’re walking the red carpet!
Care for your saree
Dry cleaning is the most preferred method to maintain the saree. However, if you do have to wash the saree at home avoid using soap during the first three washes. A rinse in cold water is more than enough. It is advisable to store the saree separately in a plastic or saree bag.
For proper maintainance dry cleaning is the most preferred method. Please don't keep these sarees inside any plastic bag. One can use some pre-washing techniques as well. Don't forget to nicely fold and keep the saree.
An everlasting tale
The Kanchipuram saree no longer is restricted to the town or Tamil Nadu alone. In fact it is a pride of India for being one of the ethnic varieties that has still remained faithful to its traditional values in the making and purity of materials. With the continued encouragement of the market and weaver friendly policies framed by the govt., one can be sure that hand looms shall continue to be a source of inspiration and cultural wealth of India for many more years to come.
Take inspiration from our Bollywood beauties or your own family tree, the kanjivaram will surely leave you awestruck, keeping you captivated for years before you reward your children or grandchildren with this prized possession. Until then, keep enjoying royal diva moments and feel like a queen every single time you drape yourself in a pure silk kanjivaram saree. You deserve it!