Kancheepuram, A Weave As Old As Time
-Arya Vasanth Nair
South India’s forever favourite Kancheepuram Silk that carries culture, stories, and architectural significance just like the pages of history comes from the land of Pallavas. This weave is as old as time, well, to be exact 400 years old. Kancheepuram Silk Saree industry flourished during the reign of Krishna Devaraya when the people of the weaving community migrated from Andhra Pradesh to Kancheepuram. These weavers drew inspiration from the temples sculptures and architecture to weave and hence they were magnificent and a Saree that is a must-have in every women’s wardrobe. This traditional saree bowled me over a long time ago when I first laid my eyes on one of my mom’s blue and pink colored Kancheepuram Saree. Elegant, dressy and rich, these Sarees are what will make you stand out of the crowd and so I am going to unveil some uncommon facts about this beautiful weave.
Thorough with the Weave
Kancheepuram Silk Sarees are woven from pure mulberry silk found in south India while the pure gold and silver zari comes from Gujarat. The silk thread that is used to weave the saree is dipped in rice water and sun-dried to increase its thickness and stiffness. The silk thread is then interlocked with a thin silver wire and woven through after which a golden thread is used.
Motifs at its best!
The motifs used in Kanchipuram Silk Sarees have always been temple figurines, palaces, general paintings, pyramidal temple designs, checks, stripes, floral buttas, and mythological stories. Over the years, the traditional stripes or golden dot designs have given way to more symbolic motifs such as fruits, animals, birds, the sun and the moon.
The Wedding Regalia
Kancheepuram Silk Sarees are the most preferred and royal Sarees that most people from South India prefer for Weddings. Be it the Bride, mother of bride/ bridegroom or the Bridesmaid, everyone sashays a heavy zari woven Kancheepuram Saree.
Test the Best!
Here are a few tips to find out if you have an original Kancheepuram Silk Saree. Pick a few loose threads from the Saree, burn them, if it smells like a burnt leather or hair you have got your hands on Original Kancheepuram Sarees. Another easier test would be to look for the loose ends of zari in the saree. Pure zari is made of red silk thread, that is then twisted with a silver thread and dipped in gold. If you find the zari thread white or any other color, know its a huge NO NO.
Feel like grabbing one of these, don’t you? Well, if you do know of any other facts do share them with me in the comments below.