(Last Updated on : 12/09/2013)
The breathtaking beauty of the Kanjeeveram has entitled the sarees to act as the bride's trousseau, not only in Karnataka, or South India, but in other parts of the country also. The dazzling design, bright hues and fine quality fabric-texture, have escalated the position of this A-class drapery, as one of the topmost feminine choices in India.
The Kanjeeveram saree has got its name, after the little temple town called Kanchipuram, 76 kms away from Chennai (earlier called Madras) in Tamil Nadu. Kanchipuram silk is hand woven from mulberry silk thread, generated by the silkworms, feeding on mulberry leaves. In fact, the skilled artisans of Kanchipuram town, who are engaged in sericulture, rear the silkworms in cane baskets, filled with plenty of mulberry leaves as the food-provision. Daily fresh mulberry leaves are fetched from the nearby mulberry plantation. These leaves are pieced into bits, and distributed evenly inside the basket. Gradually, with time, after many weeks, the worms start maturing. At this stage they are re-installed inside circular, baskets, with inner compartmental sections. Here the worms start ejecting thread-like secretion, which construct around themselves a semi-transparent cocoon. And from this cocoon, silk-thread is derived. It is this numerous strands of silk tread, which consist of the silk fabric of Kanchipuram. The smooth, glazy and supple quality of the fabric, contribute to the dazzling aura, associated with the saree.
The heritage of Indian textile is displayed by the Kanjeeveram silk sarees and the peerless craftsmanship, the beauty and grandeur of the gold thread work, quaint motifs are typical designs for what the sarees are sought after. These sarees have been closely associated with ceremonial occasions since time immemorial. The intricate designs of these sarees with golden threads and the fabric used have enhanced the beauty of the sarees and have made them the most coveted among all from the commencement period of this saree.
The vibrant shades of Kanjeeveram sarees, not only adhere to the traditional favourites, but the latest discoveries too, such as shot colours. By shot colours, it is referred to the recent times' art of bringing about a finish, wherein, two colours blend in each other, while simultaneously one is reflected in the other, making the appearance enchanting. For example, pink and golden rust, if fused into one another, the one will come up with a unique shade amidst the other. This is an apt example of shot colour. The shot is the glimpse of one into another.
Pure Zari embroidery and patterns happen to be the hallmark of Kanchipuram silk. By Zari, one means, a silver thread electro-plated with gold. The magnificent Zari is interleaved into the yarn, to weave diverse cultural motifs, and images of flora or fauna. Including these, the patterns of these sarees exhibit extensive usage of bird and animal motifs and the rich gold-brocaded pallus and borders had patterns of rows of deer, peacocks, galloping horses, bulls, elephants, parrots, swans and such other birds in stylized abstraction. The Kanjeeveram sarees are made conjoining three threads. The Kanjeeveram saree is made of a heavy silk called Kanjeeveram silk and is one of the finest and most popular forms of silk in Tamil Nadu. Though heavy silk is used for making Kanjeeveram silk but there are light weight Kanjeeveram sarees that are made from Korean and Chinese silk. But the sarees made out of mulberry silk that is produced in Karnataka and few parts of Tamil Nadu, is said to be the excellent fabric for the classic Kanjeeveram saree.
The weavers create exclusive Kanjeeveram sarees with twisting the threads, then dyeing them and drying in the sun. After drying, the weaver starts weaving the sarees. The weaver creates the border, body and pallu separately and then interlocks them together to give the saree a complete look. This complete task takes about 10-12 days for completion and then designs are created on the sarees. The designs of Kanjeeveram sarees displays the predominance of animal characters basically peacock and parrot. Apart from these, the Kanjeeveram sarees are intricately designed with beautiful tribal designs, traditional patterns derived from the Pallava temples, palaces and paintings. Even scenes from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata and Bhagwad Gita are incorporated into the intricate designing technique. Sometimes, little gold motifs are seen scattered in all over the body of the saree including contemporary patterns. Though these sarees have a traditional and gorgeous look, contemporary and modern designs and patterns are included keeping in mind the present demand of the market. The Kanjeeveram sarees can be simple silk saree with wide zari borders and are also available with gold squares or stripes.
The exclusive designs of the Kanjeeveram sarees are sought after because of the intricate designs and the materials of the sarees. The traditional and ethnic look of the sarees has upgraded them to one of the most elegant sarees of India. The wedding sarees are decked with Zari adornments and meena work. The bridal saris, give the bride, the glory that she is supposed to be invested with on her wedding day.
The majestic outlook of Kanchipuram sarees can best highlight the innate beauty of the Indian women.