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Kanjeevaram sarees for sale at Kanchipuram

South India is a land full of heritage and culture that is unique to the peninsula. It is impossible to have any craft that is entirely separate the culture of the people. Kanjeevaram sarees are such an example. They are a heritage and a historical document of Southern culture.

Kanjeevaram sarees are woven in a small town in Tamil Nadu, Kanchipuram. This town is known for an immense number of temples and cultural architecture. The sarees bear the mark or symbols of these motifs. Elaborate temple designs, floral brocade, and bold colors are woven into these sarees. They are made of pure mulberry silk but the gold zari in the border is from Gujarat.


Kanjeevaram silk, dyed and spun, ready for weaving Image source: wikimedia commonswikimedia commons

The sarees are woven in three shuttles. Three people simultaneously weave the cloth and its designs. The silk is first soaked in rice water to give it strength and thickness, then it is dyed, and mounted on the loom. One distinguishing feature of this saree is that the pallu and the body of the saree are woven separately and then attached by a zig-zag line called a pitni. This attachment is very strong and cannot be broken unless the pallu is manually cut with scissors.

The gold brocade in the sari is intricately woven into the borders, they are also woven separately and attached to the saree with the same precision and strength as the pallu. The gold that the saree holds at the end of the weave can cause it to weigh up to two kilograms. Kanjeevaram sarees are the most preferred sarees in South Indian festivals, weddings, and special occasions. Their brilliant sheen and rich look cannot be matched by any other weave.

Silk saree being woven at a Kanchipuram loom Image source: wikimedia commonswikimedia commons

It is believed that the origins of this weave are deeply rooted in mythology. According to a legend, the Kanchi weavers are direct descendants of Sage Markanda who weaves for the gods. King Krishna Devaraya of the Vijayanagar Empire is credited for propelling this weave to prominence.

Keywords: Kanchipuram, Kanjeevaram, Silk, Sarees, History


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