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TALES 》 Kanchipuram Silk Sarees

My Trousseau, Kanchipuram Silk Saree

Kanchipuram is also known as Kanchi/Kachiped/Kancheepuram. Kanchipuram is a district in the northeast of the state of Tamil Nadu in India. Kanchipuram nickname is called as 'The City of Thousand Temples' and served as the capital city of the Pallava Kingdom.

The south Indian women are not complete without a lustrous Kanchipuram saree. With bright contrasting borders. During occasions such as Diwali (or Deepavali), Pongal, weddings and festivals, only Upper-caste families used to purchase of many silk saris. Current trends on Kanchipuram sarees, silver is being used in addition to gold. The famous 'Kamakshi Amman Temple' is a must if you are visiting Kanchipuram place the deity here is Parvati.

The ferocious Yali motif on a Kanchipuram Silk Saree

Origin and history:
The story of the Kanjeevaram silk saree begins in Hindu mythology. Legend has it that the Kanchi silk weavers are descendants of Sage Markanda, who was considered to be the master weaver for the Gods themselves. It was during the reign of Krishna Devaraya (from the Vijayanagara Empire) that the art really took off, images of scriptures and figurines found on the temples around the village.

Aesthetically divine beauties can be found in two different varieties from this place namely

The Tints:
Kanchipuram silk saree are handwoven from pure mulberry silk threads and are marvelous collection of hues, such as dark chocolate brown, bourbon orange, stunning mango yellow, exquisite mustard yellow , chartreuse green, sea green, exquisite black, bottle green, crimson red, pista green, wine red, tangerine orange, cardamom green, royal blue garnet maroon, rani pink, emerald green, navy blue, iridescent blue, fuchsia pink, pale sandalwood beige, mulberry purple, khakhi grey, rich violet, deep brown, onion pink, scarlet red, pale orange, off white, golden beige, turquoise, raspberry red and many more to timeless shades.

The Motifs:
Gopuram representing temple tower also known as temple motifs, mayilkann known as peacock eye, rudraksham representing Rudraksha beads, yaanai motifs also known as elephant , paisley motif, mayil chakram motifs, kammal motifs, lion motifs, neelambari motifs, malli muthu motifs, kili is also known as parrot motif, Iruthalaipakshi motifs is known as two-headed eagle, yazhi motifs, kuthirai means horse motif, maanga motif known as mango, Annapakshi or hamsa motif, tamarai motifs, kuyilkann known as nightingale eye, thuthripoo motif are few known motifs, depiction of stories from mythology are very common in Kanchipuram sarees and one can also see traditional motifs featured in the Kanchipuram sarees.

The beauty of borders
Borders are usually handcrafted with epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata and inspired by local temples and temple art, these sarees are traditionally woven with wide contrasting borders, depending on the designers artistic skills, innovation and taste and latest trends, varies types of borders in Kanchipuram silk sarees are seen such as Thuthiripoo border, Rudrakash border, Double border, Piping border, Broad border, Checks border, Digonal border, Korvai temple border, Ganga Jamuna border, Kadi border, Bavanchi border, Rising border, Sakari border, Thandavalam border, Tissue border, Meena work border, Vanashringaram border, Shikargarh border, Pogidi border, Retta petta border, kuthuvilaku border, Kottadi border, Kodivisiri border and beautifully crafted thread-work border saree are one of my favorites.

Kanchipuram silk saree has been recognized as a 'Geographical indication' by the government of India. These centuries old classic beauties, is done on a slow process via 'throw shuttle pit loom' or raised 'pit loom', to weave these sarees 'three shuttle' are been used. Kanchipuram silk saree uniqueness lies, were the main body of the saree and border are woven separately and then interlocked together, while joint is woven so strongly that even if the sarees tears, the border will not get detached, this differentiates from 'Kanchipuram silk' sarees from the others.

Patterns are formed by lines and squares and when the jasmine motif is found either inside a square or scattered all over, it is called mallinaggu. The Thandavalam motif has parallel-line motifs running all over the body of the sari. In the pattu motif, the pallu and the border alone have floral motifs independently woven on them.

Techniques used in weaving Kanchipuram silk sarees are

Celebration of draping
Silk is always considered the ceremonial wear in India, these silk fabrics are an extremely strong and durable. The vanity of India by showcasing and producing varieties of silk, the most popular of which is made from cocoons, whose worms feed on mulberry leaves. While happiness and content of every women draping these exquisite luxury sarees is an ultimate crown. Richness and luxury is a statement, whether it's "Cannels film festival" or "The Oscars", you name them red carpets in Hollywood or Bollywood, one who loves to stand out in the crowd than this is the best traditional attire. These traditional sarees are a delight, gifting to someone on there wedding anniversary, or wearing it on 'Big fat Indian weddings', cultural parties, temple festivals, during "Arangetram", Indian colorful festivals like "Varamahalakshmi", "Makar sankranti", Thai pongal(the harvest festival), the hindu festival of lights "Diwali", "Vinayaka Chaturthi"(reveres god Ganesha), dasara, "Ugadi" the beginning of a new age, navratri festival, house-warming, last but not least lovely Christmas.

Seeing the vibrant shades in kanchipuram, I turned crazy the never ending desire to buy more, my collection of Kanchipuram silk sarees started, I also seen many shopping for traditional silk salwar Kameez, Pattu pavadai, Kanchi cotton sarees and silk dhoti. People here are friendly and they guide us. One steps to any shop out here for just window shopping also they will get best customer service. "Customer is King" that's there motto, they keep showing products till one get quenched the thirst of buying kanchipuram sarees and other variants of silks. These days they use a substitute metal in the place of gold/silver such as copper zari that manages to hold on to the sheen of the texture while reducing the overall Kanchipuram silk cost.

The natives in this region speak Tamil(regional language), the major weaving communities of Andhra Pradesh migrated to kanchipuram, 'the Devanga' and 'Saligars' weavers, well known for their weaving skills. Depending upon the colors, intricacy of work, patterns, materials used like zari, gold threads used, the price is tagged. Depending on the Intricate design, handwoven masterpiece make take one week to fifteen days or even more to weave Kanchipuram silk saree.

Fabric care:
Kanchipuram sarees are the most expensive and require high maintenance. So do check out for specific care instructions on the garment tag once you purchase and follow the instructions carefully, it addition to it, here are certain guidelines.

  • Recommended only for dry clean.
  • Always iron on low-medium heat and do not spray water while ironing as it might leave a stain.
  • Never dry these saree under direct sun.
  • To prevent gold and silver zari to not tarnish, these sarees should be folded and wrapped in a pure cotton fabric, this would allow the saree to breathe as well.
  • Refold these saree from time to time to avoid ripping on creases.
  • If you have a handcrafted artistic tassels(kuchu) for saree, than never wash tassels area, it may become clumsy.


Know your Kanchipuram silk saree Zari Real or Fake?
Tamil Nadu Government have taken an initiative and TIFAC(Technology Information Forecasting and Assessment Council) both have collaborated and have set up a unit at Kanchipuram, to check authenticity of Kanchipuram silk saree zari, testing unit in which one can check the gold and silver content in zari, or if its a 'tested zari', 'pure zari' and 'imitation zari'. When I had been to Kanchipuram, I had been to the zari testing unit but unfortunately it was closed, locals says you have to pay a nominal fee to check, but when I go for next road trip definitely will show the glimpse of it.

How to identify an authentic Kanchipuram silk saree:

  • Silk Board of India has come up with a concept called Silk Mark, which is provided only for pure Kanchipuram silk sarees.
  • Carefully pick few loose threads from the saree, burn them, if it releases fumes like burnt hair or burnt leather smell it's an authentic one, fabricated or imitation ones will have no ash after burning.
  • To create exquisite designs, Kanchipuram silk saree is woven separately and then interlocked together
  • Genuine Kanchipuram sarees are woven with three ply, while low quality Kanchipuram saree will have just two ply silk, used in weaving.
  • The Pallu(falling edge of the saree), near the tassels area, pick few threads of the zari, pure zari is made of red silk thread which is twisted with a silver thread and then dipped in 22 carat pure gold, If upon pulling the zari, you notice that the silk thread is not red but white or any other color, than it's a genuine one.



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Tant Sarees from West Bengal India (also popularly known as Bengali Cotton Sarees) ↗
Saturday' 13-Mar-2021
Traditional flawlessness crispy weaves to flaunt
What reminds everyone when I says Bengali is mouth watering and luscious dessert 'Rasgulla' and 'Mishti doi' to name the most popular ones in the list and of course Bengali cotton sarees. The medium of communication here is Bengali. The traditional attire of Bengali women is simple forms of these Tant sarees takes around two days to weave and more intricate designs could even take five to six days to complete a saree. Generally Tant saree comes in pastel shades with beautiful thick borders.

Patola Sarees Cotton and Silk from Gujarat India ↗
Saturday' 13-Mar-2021
Exquisite craftsmanship, the treasured intensity of colorful art
During olden days these sarees were much in demand and loved by aristocratic and royal families. The traditional double ikat Patola which originates from Patan, small little town which is north of Ahmedabad in Gujarat state. Creating designs by tyeing knots on warp and weft, it takes around three to four months to prepare tie and dyed on warp and weft threads for one saree. Patola saree art was much of labour-intensive, with the combined effort of four weavers, it would take anywere around a six months to a year to weave a masterpiece saree from the scratch, its perseverance in doing it from the time of process of dying that is the reason it was too expensive, and was worn only by the royal and upperclass, who were able to pay for opulence.

Coimbatore Cotton Sarees ↗
Saturday' 13-Mar-2021
This summer, pleasant morning with earthy cottons
Aroma of freshly brewed coffee at home is an inspiration for me in the morning, twenty nine years back, I recalled, my dad saying I bought this 'Wet grinder' from business trip on a way, to my mother and now I'm gone grey, recollecting the past hailing from business backdrop, traveling passionates me and my dad! Generally considered as traditional city, very fine cotton mills are here, well a typical saree made in Coimbatore region is called as 'Kovai Cora cotton' or 'Kovai Kora cotton' sarees. Due to extreme summers and humid climatic here, always one cannot think of wearing heavy silk or just cottons, this led to innovation of 'Coimbatore sico sarees' here. Seamless saree are a best choice of fashion garment, no matter what occasion you are in.

Kollegal Handloom Silk Saree ↗
Saturday' 13-Mar-2021
Weaving is a tradition
Kollegala is also called as 'Silk City' and renowned for its handloom silk saree industry, much popular for reeling and twisting of silk. Silk weaving is the tradition in many parts of our country, almost each the state has its own cluster, the majority of the weaving skills are been heirlooms.

Ilkal Cotton and Silk Sarees ↗
Saturday' 13-Mar-2021
Contemporary Ilkal sarees goes on a delightful weaves!
The most down to earth yet vibrant colors are seen in traditional attire of Ilkal, Ilkal is a small town, this town is located in the South-East part of Bagalkote district, Karnataka state, India. This place is very hot during the summers but has a pleasant weather during the winters. The language of communication here is Kannada. Ilkal was an ancient weaving centre and known for renowned handloom sarees. The main source of income comes from the 'Red granite' which is exported all around the world, while Ilkal sarees are secondary source of income for the people residing over there since generations. The availability of local raw materials helped in the growth of this saree.

Traditional Molakalmuru Saree from Karnataka by Sarees are my passion ↗
Saturday' 13-Mar-2021
Roots of Karnataka 'Molakalmuru', Connecting Old is Gold
Living in the world of fast-moving fashion, where designer Ruffle Sarees takes a runway show stopper pace, I see the 'contrast' the traditional and the modern world. In India, especially when you focus on South India, Karnataka when we take a slice of the pie, the elder generation(mothers or grandmothers) still wear evergreen beauties like Ilkal, Udupi, Banhatti cotton sarees on a day to day bases, depending on the cultural belief system and comfort zone.

Banjara Embroidery ↗
Saturday' 13-Mar-2021
Banjara Embroidery-Stunning piece of art, Sarees are my passion
I am huge fan of Banjara jewelry which are antique yet collectables, their most flamboyant and mind-blowing costumes one goes crazy and highly appreciated, they still follow the rich and age old traditional art forms, which are been reflected in their art work, especially hand embroidery requires lot of time and patience and its laborious. These tribes speak Lamani language/Goar-boali it is also called as Banjari language. One can see Banjara tribes in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat in these places they are widely spread across.

Why Handpicked sarees are sold like hotcakes? ↗
Saturday' 13-Mar-2021
Why Handpicked sarees are sold like hotcakes?
It was one of the most humid days of summer in March, Bangalore and all of a sudden earthy mud smell ha being 'Taurus' sun sign I really love to play in the mud, and with natures basket, it might also include rain as well and slightly it drizzled it was first rainfall of a season and I had this topic in mind for a long time, having a cup of green tea to refresh me, so now so let's get started.

Printed Silk Sarees ↗
Saturday' 13-Mar-2021
Silk is one of the oldest fabrics in India, it was only used in royal garments these days everyone are able to afford it, because of its cost-effectiveness and contemporary look. Printed silk refers to a length of silk yarn or a silk fabric, which consists of patterns and designs in the form of prints on them. Printed silk initially showcased a number of unusual motifs such as geometric prints, splash of color and lately introduced in fine art in India. The motifs and prints of printed silk is being influenced from Bollywood, pop-culture and creative modern art. You can see prints on silks that have diversified over the years and modern sarees and other ethnic Indian garments that are created specifically to cater to younger. What I noticed in printed silk is it is flawless, more versatile, lightweight, contemporary and a statement attire.

Madhubani art ↗
Saturday' 13-Mar-2021
Six yards of connoisseur folk art, Madhubani
Touch of ancient beauty, a small town were colorful artists are born, in Madhubani district in the Indian state of Bihar, Madhubani. The word 'Madhuban' means 'forest of honey' from which Madhubani is derived. Madhubani art is also known by the name 'Mithila art', Madhubani painting/Mithila painting was traditionally created by the women of the Brahman, Dusadh and Kayastha communities in Mithila region in India and it is named after Madhubani district of Bihar which is where it originated, this painting as a form of wall art was practiced widely throughout the region. Madhubani painting being accorded the coveted GI(Geographical Indication) status.


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Banjara Embroidery ↗
Saturday' 13-Mar-2021
Banjara Embroidery-Stunning piece of art, Sarees are my passion
I am huge fan of Banjara jewelry which are antique yet collectables, their most flamboyant and mind-blowing costumes one goes crazy and highly appreciated, they still follow the rich and age old traditional art forms, which are been reflected in their art work, especially hand embroidery requires lot of time and patience and its laborious. These tribes speak Lamani language/Goar-boali it is also called as Banjari language. One can see Banjara tribes in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat in these places they are widely spread across.

Uppada Jamdani Silk Sarees ↗
Saturday' 13-Mar-2021
Opulent craftsmanship, Uppada Jamdani saree
The rich and colorful yarns pepping around, splashy Uppada, is a beach town in east Godavari district, Andhra Pradesh state, Indian. Road trip, it just takes thirty minutes drive to reach Kakinada from Uppada town, also known for fishery station for Prawns, fishes here. Fascinating beautifully handwoven sarees known as Uppada sarees are famous and these sarees were named after Uppada village. Handloom industry has retained the age old rich tradition of hand weaving in our country. Padmasali community is the major caste here engaged in the weaving of these wonderful sarees, which are very artistic, a blend of zari work is a add-on to give a charm to the saree. Proud to the state, Uppada Jamdani Sarees, gets geographical indication.

Begampuri Cotton Sarees from West Bengal India ↗
Saturday' 13-Mar-2021
The irresistible Handloom saree, that drapes like a dream
Indian textiles are rich in artifacts, Begampur is a small town in Hooghly district in West Bengal, the sarees woven here carries deep and bright colours. The economy of this place depends on textiles and also famous for dhotis. What reminds everyone when you say Bengal is handwoven cotton sarees and is the center for fine cotton weaving and these Begampuri cotton sarees are known for loosely woven light-weight and translucent and are extremely comfortable to drape. These cotton beauties would take one to two days to weave which are very simple ones and more intricate designs could even take five to six days to complete, although the saree fabric named after the city, the subtle madness look after wearing them is absolutely sophisticated.

Ethnic Indian Sarees - Sarees are my passion ↗
Saturday' 13-Mar-2021
Here is a list of various Cotton and Silk Sarees from different parts of India.

Patteda Anchu Saree ↗
Saturday' 13-Mar-2021
I never heard of Patteda Anchu Saree before
Well, many of them are not aware of this weave in the same state, it's an irony. Lack of awareness and less usage leads to this stage. It was in the year 2016 I first saw the Patteda Anchu Saree and I was very impressed at the first glance, for its simplicity and minimalistic weave, no woven designs these characteristics caught my attention towards this weave. Being and brought up in Karnataka, I was just familiar with Ilkal Saree, Molakalmuru Saree, KSIC Mysore Silk, Banahatti Saree, Hubli Saree because my mother had these magnificent weaves, and she wore them very often. When I told her about Patteda Anchu Saree, she was astonished and happy to shop one...

Understanding the choice of 50 year and above Women in Saree Business ↗
Saturday' 13-Mar-2021
In India local market I heard shop owners saying that we have Best Quality Saree, Best Price Saree, Wholesale Sarees. I always wonder, the educated crowd are they going to shop around on this? definitely, they say no please. The sophisticated group understand what is a plastic made recycled saree(synthetic versions) and authentic ones! They are always towards the art and crafts part end of the day, they read and update themselves.

Chettinad Cotton Sarees (Kandaangi Sarees) ↗
Saturday' 13-Mar-2021
Land of vibrant colors, handcrafted tiles, majestic architectural mansions, being a food and saree lover nothing is less while I walk you through the journey of ultimate heaven of sarees and foods!
Karaikudi is known as the capital of Chettinad, Chettinad in southern Tamil Nadu is a region of the Sivaganga district that is known for weaving the Chettinad sarees. The people here are very friendly and invite people with a warm smile, the language of communication here is Tamil. Chettinad is the home of the Nattukottai Chettiars(Nagarathar), this community faithfully follow traditions. The major communities involved in weaving Chettinad cotton sarees are Devanga Chettiyars, who are the skilled weavers from ancient days.

Paithani Cotton and Silk Sarees ↗
Saturday' 13-Mar-2021
Priceless intricacies of Paithani Sarees
The art of weaving Paithani flourished during the 'Satvahana era' in the 200 B.C. The name Paithani is derived from small town Paithan is situated on the banks of the river Godavari located in Central India, Aurangabad district, Maharashtra state, India. The Nizam of Hyderabad was also an ardent admirer of Paithani sarees, the Peshwas took it upon themselves to promote the craft, and consequently, settled Paithani weavers in Yeola, which is now the manufacturing hub for Paithani. The Paithani saree is traditionally a part of the trousseau of every Maharashtrian bride. People here speak Marathi language and they lead simple life. There are many communities involved in weaving these beautiful sarees namely Khatri, Koshti, Swakula Sali are few known communities.

Ilkal Silk Sarees ↗
Saturday' 13-Mar-2021
Decoding the traditional handloom of Ilkal
Remote corner in the state of south India is famous for its traditional handloom attire called Ilkal silk sarees and Ilkal cotton sarees, named after after the town Ilkal, in Bagalkot district of Karnataka state, these traditional handwoven sarees are GI protected craft of India. Ilkal is famous for red granite stone and traditional Ilkal sarees. Localites out here are very friendly and they speak Kannada(regional language of the state), one of the main source income of this place is weaving these handwoven evergreen classic sarees. If one happens to peep around in this place, almost all house are engaged in weaving these sarees, their is no discrimination done, both men and woven are engaged in weaving to make their livelihood. Major centres of weaving is from villages of Ilkal, Kolhar, Kamatgi and Nidagundi at the Bijapur district and many of them have their own loom at home.

Guntur Sarees ↗
Saturday' 13-Mar-2021
The finest spicy Grandmother's attire, nostalgic saree!
Each thread narrates of a story that weaves into a magical saree, red hot Guntur city lies on the south eastern side of Hyderabad in Guntur district of Indian, state of Andhra Pradesh. This city residents are referred as Gunturians, purest forms of the language can be heard here is Telugu(regional language). One can see largest Asian market for red chillies here, this place is main producer and renowned globally for exporting of most varieties of Chillies and chilli powder from India to countries like USA, UK, Latin America, Middle East, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and South Korea. Guntur sarees are known for finest cotton sarees, these sarees are worn by particularly in the coastal areas it's so simple and sober, which feels comfortable for everyday wearing. Main body of Guntur saree has single plain colors and patterns scattered here and there, with or without checks patterns and has small woven butis all over.