When you are thinking about handloom sarees, it cannot be possible that you forget Chanderi sarees. These sarees have been a great attraction to women of all ages. They are named after the town of Chanderi in Madhya Pradesh, which is their birthplace. The characteristics of the fabric like the glossy texture, the lightweight and the richness can mesmerize anyone. There must be a few Chanderi sarees in the collection of any woman who loves handloom sarees. There are many Chanderi saree retailers in Kolkata from whom you can buy your favourite saree. Here are some unknown facts about Chanderi saree that are sure to leave you astonished.
- Though it has been found that Chanderi weaves have been around since the 11th century according to historical records, references in Indian mythology to the Vedic period suggest that Lord Krishna’s cousin Shishupal introduced the Chanderi fabric.
- Due to the transparency and the sheer texture of the fabric, Chanderi sarees are referred to as ‘woven air’. The credit for this goes to the high-quality and extra fine yarns used to weave the Chanderi fabric. The Chanderi fabric gets its unique shine and texture as it doesn’t pass through the degumming process to prevent breakage during weaving.
- Handspun cotton yarn as fine as 300 counts was used to weave Chanderi fabric, making it as famous as the muslins of Dhaka. Kolikanda is the name of the special root from where the fine count cotton for Chanderi was extracted. It gives the fabric a glossy finish and is light yet strong.
- In the beginning, mostly Muslim weavers practised this craft. When Koshti weavers from Jhansi migrated to the town and settled down there in 1350, it moved to Chanderi. In the 17th century, Chanderi was established as the hub of Chanderi weaves, when the Mughals established a karkhana dedicated to the craft until 1677 when Aurangzeb ordered to shut it down.
- When the royal family of Scindia extended its patronage to the craft in 1910, Chanderi weaves were revived. Gold thread motifs were introduced to Chanderi weaving during this time. During the British Raj in the 1920s, the craft declined as they started importing cheaper quality mill-made yarn from Manchester via Calcutta and this badly affected the handspun cotton market of Chanderi. With the import of Japanese silk that was introduced in the warp, the quality of Chanderi fabric further deteriorated in the 1930s. However, cotton was retained in the weft of the Chanderi saree.
- Pure silk, chanderi cotton and silk cotton are the three most popular fabrics used to weave a Chanderi saree. There are many places where you can get the best Chanderi saree in Kolkata.
- Needles were used for weaving the butis on Chanderi fabric on the handloom. Different motifs were created by separate needles and these are coated with gold, silver or copper dust by the weavers.
- Nalferma, dandidar, chatai, jangla, mehndi wale haath, etc. are some motifs exclusive to Chanderi weaves. Soft and pastel shades are the characteristics of Chanderi sarees.