Kanchipuram Sari is to south what Banaras Sari is to the north of India. Both Saris have the similar attributes – elegance, durability, regality, art, color and tradition.
Kanchipuram Saris are pieces of art crafted by weavers in a small town called Kanchipuram in Tamilnadu. The name Kanchipuram sari brings to mind pictures of rich, gorgeous, textured, colorful and embellished Saris that last for Generations! I for one, own a beautiful and colorful Kanchipuram Sari of my paternal grandmother. Of course, this sari is heavier than the new Kanchipuram Saris available now in the market.
Coming back to the present, you will find innumerable designs, textures and colors to choose from. Motifs of Ramayana stories, Mahabharat anecdotes, Bhagawat Gita discourses, Pallava temples sculptures, paintings – sometimes Raja Ravi Varman paintings are common in Kanchipuram Saris. Of late Weavers are trying new designs and templates such as Tribal motifs to widen their market prospects. They may have thick or thin borders, rich real zari pallus or artificial zari pallus and sometimes pallus with exquisite designs made with silk threads.
The Rich and rare color combinations and special motifs will take your breath away. These saris are favored by whos-who of Bollywood like Rekha, Vidya Balan, Sridevi and Deepika Padukone. Take a peek at some of them
- Golden peacocks on pink Silk Saris with contrast border,
- Kumkum color Saris with golden mango motifs inside boxes and temple motif borders
- Blue sari with Magenta border and Pallu embellished with colorful flowers
- Mango yellow colored sari with a Pink border and rich motifs of Lotus zari
- Yallis motifs (mythical creatures mostly found in temple architecture) interwoven on an Orange Sari with yellow borders.
- Light Green sarees with purple borders with small flowery buttas all over.
- light Grey saree with golden zari embroidery all over and a rich red pallu
- Some sarees come in more than two color combinations
- Some weavers have used the Bharatnatyam dance poses, musical instruments, Seven wonders etc as motifs
- Seems the latest sari gifted to Vidya Balan by one Kanchipuram cooperatives society had her image showing wearing another Kanchipuram sari and showing-off her rich pallu.
No wonder they are the most preferred Silk Saris of would-be Brides for their Marriage day. Pair it with a beautifully tailored blouse and accessorize with Gold jewelry. You will be the center of attraction in the marriage hall, even if you are not the bride.
Photo by metromela
How are Kanchipuram Sari priced?
The weavers use silk colored threads and interweave it with Zari. The zari is made of pure Silver and dipped in gold. This makes the Kanchipuram Silk Sari exquisite and expensive! The amount of Zari in the Sari determines the cost of this sari. This is the reason the Saris cost ranges anywhere from Rs.2500 to Rs.1,00,000 and sometimes even more. Nevertheless, the labor of love of the weaver is worth all that money! Of course, nowadays you get budget-friendly saris made with artificial zari, which is equally beautiful.
How is a Kanchipuram Silk Sari made
The labor of love talked above takes more than 10 to 20 days to complete. An elaborate procedure starts with fixing thread on the loom. First, the thread is twisted. The dying and drying follow. Each part of the Kanchipuram Sari – the body, the border and the pallu are to be woven separately. Later the weaver joins all the parts together in a tight interlock. Over 250 to 300 silk threads are used; this is the reason why these saris last longer. The resale value is also more since the zari is made of silver dipped in gold.
Cultural Stamp of the South
Kanchipuram saris also called Conjevaram pattu, are the most famous variety of the South. They are worn on very special occasion to display status, wealth and happiness. Women wear these saris on their Marriage day, during Baby showers, when their baby is named and also when it gets baby grows and gets married. Women drape them even during Housewarming ceremonies, thread ceremonies, coming of age ceremonies engagement ceremonies, kitty parties, birthday parties, get-togethers. And the list goes on….
The History of Kanchipuram Sari
Let us talk about how the industry of making theses Kanchipuram Sari began. The earliest records talk of the Chola dynasty king of 985 Ad who took advantage of the silk route to obtain silk and give business opportunities to some weavers from Andhra Pradesh. These communities moved down south to Kanchipuram and established this silk industry in the 15th Century.
Though temporarily out of business due to the French for a short period, the Kanchipuram silk industry was revamped and is now famous world-wide – it has even featured in one of the Hollywood movies like Accidental Husband.
Why purchase one this Diwali?
Why purchase a Kanchipuram Sari for Diwali? The simple reason is you get it at a better price as compared to other times of the year. The next reason is the variety. This also the season when the demand is very high. So, Silk Cooperatives and shopkeepers all around South India, especially in Tamil Nadu, vie with each other to offer the best quality, variety and price to capture the biggest market share. Kanchipuram Saris are now available online as well. So, why wait, add a Kanchipuram Sari to your trousseau make your wardrobe collection complete.