Sarees are an integral part of Tamilnadu and it is one of the important aspects during the celebrations, weddings and festivals. Indian sarees look beautiful with their multiple hues and textures. Among the varieties of classical Indian sarees, the Kanchipuram (or Kanjivaram / Kanjeevaram) saree holds a dignified place and it is loved by the Indian women for its quality.
Kanchipuram, a city in Tamilnadu has the pride of being the birthplace of Kanchipuram saree. Kanchipuram sarees are the traditionally woven sarees, which have highest place in the silk saree industry.
Kanchipuram saree is one of the most superior silk sarees in the world, reputed for the weaving style and the broad borders. It is preferred for the brides during marriage for its durability and grandeur.
PLACE OF ORIGIN
As the name implies, the Kanchipuram saree originates from Kanchipuram, a city in Tamil Nadu. It is about 72km from Chennai – the capital of Tamil Nadu. The city can be easily reached by road and rail.
Kanchipuram can be called as “The capital of Silk”. This place churns out silk sarees through 20,000 looms with 2-3 weavers working on each loom. About 400,000 to 500,000 Kanchipuram silk sarees are woven in Kanchipuram every year.
Kanchipuram attained eminence during the period of Krishna Deveraya’s period. It was during this period when two weaving communities – the Devangas and the Saligars – migrated to Kanchipuram from Andhra Pradesh, the neighboring state to Tamilnadu. The Devangas and the Saligars are experts in weaving silk sarees that are worn by the women during festivals and functions.
There were nearly 129 finely crafted temples in Kanchipuram, where the rituals and the wedding ceremonies are conducted more often and the women wear silk sarees for all the functions.
The legend says that the weavers of Kanchipuram are the descendents of the sage Markanda, the Master Weaver of Gods. The favorite fabric of Lord Shiva is said to be cotton, whereas the favorite fabric of Lord Vishnu is silk. This is the reason for abounding the looms around Lord Vishnu temples.
Kanchipuram sarees holds special name for the intricate designing work and the colors of the sarees. The body designs are woven with golden threads and borders. The motifs that are woven are sun, moon, chariot, peacocks, swans, parrots, flowers, lions, coins, mangoes and leaves. Two of the used designer patterns are Mallinaggu (jasmine flowers scattered like dew over the body) and Thandavalam (parallel lines running alongside to each other). The sarees also display the structures of temples – the Ekambaranathar and Avudaliyari sarees bear the designs of these shrines.
In these sarees, gold is incorporated in the motifs by dipping the silk thread in liquid gold and silver. The cost of these sarees starts from Rs. 2,500/- The silk sarees are mainly reputed for its zari, which composes of 57% of silver and 0.6% of gold. The colors used in the borders and pallu are different from the colors used in the rest of the saree.
Kancheepuram silk holds the reputation for its 500-year-old tradition. Kanchipuram silk industry is known for producing heavyweight stiff silk sarees that are woven using thick zari for supplementary warp and weft patterns. The threads are dipped in rice water and dried in Sun. It takes 8 to 15 days to weave a Kancheepuram silk saree and the time duration depends upon the uniqueness and the intricacy of the designs.
Kanchipuram sarees are popular all over the world for its rich shining colors, finish and its beauty. People travel a long way to Kanchipuram for purchasing sarees for the family functions and festivals. Kanchipuram sarees have been exported to the US, Sri Lanka, Italy and Russia since 1960.
Kanchipuram silk saree is one of the 18 Geographical Indication (GI) tagged products of the Tamilnadu government. It is protected by the GI label that does not only certify its geographical origin, but also confirms its adherence to the standards.
Some of the recently available products are Aishwarya Kanchipuram Saree, Anuradha Kanchipuram Saree,Ankusha Kanchipuram Saree, Aradhana Kanchipuram Saree, Tammana Silk Saree, Chandralekha Embroidery Saree, Anusha Kanchipuram Saree, Apeksha Kanchipuram Saree, Amitha Kanchipuram Saree and Chinmai Kanchipuram Saree.
In Chennai, you can buy Kanchipuram silk sarees in shops like Pothys, RmKV, The Chennai Silks, Shri Kumaran Silks and Nalli silks. If you wish to buy these sarees with comparatively lower prices, you can directly purchase them from Kanchipuram.