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On The Road To Kanchipuram Silk Sarees

Spirituality, Temples, Traditions, Culture And Silks All Seem To Be Connected Since Ages With Kanchipuram. How Do We Explore The Origins Of A Town Popular Known For Its Magnificient And Impressive Art Combined With Purity And Spirituality? You May Be Guessing Right! Kanchipuram Is Known For The Two Big Words- Temple And Silk.

Kanchipuram Silk Sarees Are The Best Among All The Silks Worldwide And Are Known As The Queen Of All Sarees As They Last For A Life- Time And Have The Finest And Elegant Texture. Worn Across All Ages From Pavadai Skirts To Stylish Sarees, The Kanchipuram Silk, Is Used Across Many Functions And Ceremonies Worldwide. They Are Even Used In Temples For Big Celebrations On Our Deities.

According To The Ancient Mythology, Kanchipuram Silk Weavers Are The Descendants Of Sage Markanda, The Master Weaver Of Gods, Who Is Known To Have Woven Tissue From Lotus Fiber.  400 Years Ago, Many Weavers Have Settled In This Town And Built The Richest Cultural Heritage Of South India. Today These Same Motifs Are Being Taken From Sculptures And Reproduced On Silk Sarees In The Form On Peacock, Elephants, Leaves, Mangoes, And So On.

Only In The Kanchipuram Silk Saree, One Can Find Delightful Local Names For The Colours Used — Vadamalli (Bachelor’s Button Flower), Kathiripoo (Brinjal Flower), Elumichai (Lemon), Anantha (Bliss) Blue, Elaikai (Cardamom), Kesari (Saffron), Naval Pazham (Java Plum), Pon Vandu (Golden Beetle), Srichurnam (Traditional Yellow/Red Line Drawn In The Middle Of A Man’s Forehead), Manthulir (Violet With Green: A Shot Colour Of Tender Mango Leaves), Ennai Arakku (A Shot Colour Of Violet And Brown). No Wonder Do These Colours, Have A Visual And Emotional Impact — Both On The Silk And The Person Wearing It.

The Patterns In The Body Of The Saree Are Known Mostly As Motifs. Malli Moggu Or The Jasmine Bud Design, Coin Butta, Mango Or Paisley Are Amongst The Vintage Ones. The Stripes And Checks, The Veldhari (Representing The Spear Of Lord Murugan), Neli (A Type Of Finger Ring), Aathi Vazhai (Horizontal Stripes); The Different Kind Of Multi-Coloured Checks, Ranging From Kottadi Or Small Zari Checks, Vaira Oopsy (Diamond Needles), And Muthu Kattam To Larger Checks Called Papli Are Very Special Designs. The Geometric Precision Of A Kanchipuram Can Be Seen In A Muppagam Or Arai Pagham Sari; Muppagam, Means Three Parts And Arai Pagham Means Two Parts.

Why Should You Wear A Kanchipuram Silk Saree?

Kanjivaram And Kanchipuram Have The Same Terminology. They Are Only Written Differently. In Mauritius, They Are Mostly Known As Kanjivaram Sarees. Every Woman Should Have At least One Kanchipuram Silk Saree In Her Wardrobe, Characterized By The Splendid Borders And Designs All Over The Saree. Kanchipuram Silk Sarees Are Important Part Of Special Occasions Such As Weddings, Ceremonies For New Mum To Be Etc Because Of Its Association With Lord Vishnu Who Adored Luxurious Drapes.

Close Your Eyes And Imagine The Kanchipuram Silk Saree Of Your Dreams. What Do You Think Of? A Saree Made With Your Favourite Color Combined With The Elegant Patterns And Designs You Always Wanted!

Most Brides’ First Choice Is To Wear A Traditional Kanchipuram Silk Saree. In This Modern Era, Kanchipuram Silk Sarees Are Being Manufactured With Stones And Beads, But These Do Not Last Long And May Discolor Your Saree Over A Long Time Period. The Exclusivity Of Pure Silk Saree Matched With The Correct Jewelleries Truly Works Best. You Can Pair Out With A Designer Blouse Made With Maggam Work Known For Its  Exquisite Hand Embroidery.

There Is A Wide Range Of Silk Sarees Available Across Markets Worldwide. If You Do Not Have The Ability To Recognize A Pure Silk Saree, You Can Easily Be Duped. We Noted Down The Below Points Which May Help You:

  • The Kanchipuram Silk Sarees Have A Differentiating Factor That Allows You To Recognize The Sarees Among All The Different Sorts Of Sarees Made Across India. It Is Known As The Zari (Explained Below). To Identify The Purity Of The Zari, Cut A Few Strings From the Loose Side Of The Saree Border And Burn The Ends Of The Strings. If You Smell A Scent Reminiscent Of Burned Hair Or Leather Then It Is Pure Zari.
  • Another Easier Way Of Identifying Pure Zari And Is Again To Use The Strings, Put Out The Red Or Yellow Thread Inside On Of The String. If It Is Not Red Or Yellow, Then You Are Sure Not To Have A Genuine Kanchipuram Silk Saree.
  • Another Visual Test Is To Check If The Body And Border Are In Total Contrast. You Can Check The Weave Pattern, Colour Of Zari, Border Demarcations, And The Weight Of The Saree Itself.

The Kanchipuram Silk Saree Making Is An Art In Its Own And The Quality Of These Sarees Make Them Costly. Weaving A Kanchipuram Silk Saree Is Very Different From Another Saree. To Manufacture The Zari, Weavers Curve A Silver String Over A Silk String And Plunge It Into Pure Goldi. Nowadays, Many Weavers Use The Electroplating Method Whereby The Centre Core Of Pure Zari Is Made Up Of Degummed Twisted Red Or Yellow Mulberry Silk Yarn; Over Which Silver Flattened Wire Is Wound. The Silver Zari Threads Are Electroplated With Pure Gold Solution, To Produce Gold Zari.

All These Steps Do Hold A Cost! This Superior Craftsmanship Technique Comprises Of Excellent Skills Acquired Through Training, Staying Awake Till Late, Devotion, Passion, Dedication And Commitment To Meet The Household Expenses. Weavers Who Strive And Have Creativity In Their Hands From Generations To Generations Should Have The Recognition Of Their Handwork And Skills When They Sell Their Piece Of Art.

Nowadays, Machines Have Replaced Manual Work And In So Many Looms In India, Kanchipuram Silk Sarees Are Being Manufactured By Machines. We Call Them Powerloom Sarees. You Many Easily Differentiate A Saree Made By An Artisan And Another One Manufactured By Machines. Machines May Replicate The Same Designs As A Handloom Silk Saree But Will Never Replace One Made By A Traditional Hand Loom. The Price For Powerloom Sarees Are Half Or Sometimes Even Less The Price Of A Real Handloom Kanchipuram Saree. But Would You Prefer Lower Prices Or Higher Quality?

It Is The Same Rule As Eating Your Home Cooked Favorite Curry Instead Of Buying The Same Curry Outdoor…Often We Request For Low Price Sarees But These Sarees Won’t Flow From One Generation To Another As An Heritage.

Did You Know? Kanchipuram Silk Sarees Can Be Preserved For 25 To 30 Years. Only After This Long Period Of Time, Can You Really Determine The Saree Price!In Many Countries Where Our Elders Were Pawning Their Sarees, The Traders Were Removing All The Zari Threads From It And Melting Them. By Weighing Them, They Could Determine The Price Based On The Silver’s Day Price.

So How Do You Preserve Your Pure Kanchipuram Silk Saree To Make Last Till The Next Generations?

  • Keep Your Silk Sarees In A Cloth Bag With A Non-Metal Hanger In A Cool Dry Place. If You Don’t Have Such A Space, Please Fold It In An Old Pillow Case And Remove It From Time To Time To Avoid Deep Crease Marks On Your Saree.
  • Do Not Heap Your Saree On Top Of The Other. Never Keep Them With Other Cloth Materials Except for Cotton.
  • Always Remove Plastic Cover On The Sarees As It May Lead To Discoloration On The Silk.
  • Use Neem Leaves To Keep Away Insects As They Have Anti-Fungal Properties. Put Dry Leaves In Cloth Bag So That They Have No Direct Contact With Your Saree. We Do Not Recommend Use Naphthalene Balls As They Tend To Discolor The Zari Of Your Sarees.
  • Air Out Your Silk Sarees After Use.
  • Do Not Wash Your Silk Sarees With Hot Water. Clean Them With Cold Water If Need Be, With Mild Detergents And Always Hand Wash.
We Hope We Have Given You The Best Advice And You Will Soon Be A Kanchipuram Silk Saree Owner! 🙂