Chanderi saris are produced from three kinds of fabric: pure silk, Chanderi cotton and silk cotton.[clarification needed] Traditional coin, floral art, peacocks and modern geometric designs are woven into different Chanderi patterns. The saris are among the finest in India and are known for their gold and silver brocade or zari, fine silk, and opulent embroidery.
The butis on Chanderi fabric were woven on the handloom with the use of needles. Separate needles were used to create different motifs. Weavers then coated these motifs with gold, silver or copper dust. Inspired by the Banarasi sarees, some of the motifs used in Chanderi handloom sarees are ashrafi or gold coin, churi, bundi, keri, phul-patti, phul-buta, akhrot, paan, eent, suraj buti, meena buti, kalgi and ghoongra among others.
Chanderi Sarees – The past
The history of the Chanderi Sarees seems to be linked with the history of Chanderi itself. It is said that Chanderi sarees have found mention in the Vedic period classic Mahabharata. Whether the pearl-embroidered sari referred in Mahabharata points to Chanderi Sarees is a matter of debate and discussion, but the history of Chanderi sarees can be traced back to 13th or 14th century AD.
The Mughal period witnessed the golden period of weaving in Chanderi. There is an interesting story that says, once a length of Chanderi weaved cloth was sent to Emperor Akbar packed in the small hollow of bamboo. When the cloth was taken out and unfolded, the emperor was surprised to find out that the cloth could cover even an elephant! Chanderi was the land known for producing fine muslin or malmal.
The Maharani of Baroda also patronized the Chanderi weave. It is said that she could identify the finesse of the fabric by rubbing it on her cheeks and would pay the weavers accordingly. Fine-quality Chanderi turbans were exclusively produced for Maratha rulers.
Chanderi sarees – the present
Chanderi is famous for its handloom even today. Chanderi sarees have impressed the women of India. Not only sarees, but Chanderi is also now producing fine quality dress materials and dupattas too.
The cloth is composed of the tana, which is the warp or the length-wise, a stretched-out set of threads through which the bana or the weft is woven back and forth.
The butis or designs on Chanderi fabric were woven on the handloom with the use of needles. Earlier two weavers were required to sit together to weave one saree. But nowadays, after the introduction of Fly Shuttle loom, one person can weave the saree. The weavers are the community that does the actual weaving and largely lives at subsistence level. The weavers procure the raw materials like silk or cotton yarn from the Master Weavers. They are mainly responsible for taking all the orders and getting them executed.
There are as many as 3600 active looms at Chanderi and women take an active part in weaving. Infact, there is a common saying that is quite famous in Chanderi.
This originates from the fact that weavers need to keep their hands soft. Women who naturally have softer hands are thus not allowed to do the drudgery of household work lest their hands become hard!
Till the 1920s, only white sarees were woven, which were then washed in saffron to give them their characteristic golden hue and fragrance. Flowers were also used for dyeing these saris into soft pastel colours. Currently, artificial colours are used to dye the fabrics.
It takes nearly ten days or more to make one saree depending upon the intricacy of the design. The cost of the sarees and materials also depends on the design. We could clearly see the expertise of the weavers and the hard work going into producing the beautiful silken fabrics. Like most of the indigenous handicrafts and handlooms of India, Chanderi sarees and fabrics are also a community-driven programme.
The Madhya Pradesh Government has set up a loom park with electric looms for the help of the weavers. And then there is Mission Chanderiyaan, supported by the Ministry of communication and IT, Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF), in collaboration with Media Labs Asia that aims to bring digital inclusion in the lives of weavers to enhance livelihood options.
The weaving of Chanderi saree is not just a production of fabrics. It is also a part of keeping the age-old traditions alive. We are working hard to bring their craft to the forefront keeping the heritage intact along with adapting to modern techniques, Chanderi is also doing so. So when you are at Chanderi, do not forget to buy a Chanderi saree or any dress material from Us. Buy it directly from the us. It will definitely help us in the long run.