Kanjeevaram Sarees: Origin, Motifs, Weaving Method

God’s tapestry and an Indian woman’s desire – Kanjeevaram Silk Sarees hold a high significance in Hindu Mythology. People across India consider Kanjeevaram sarees exceptional and auspicious. These sarees are a sophisticated ethnic alternative that sells like Sweets throughout the wedding season. Here’s all you need to know about Kanjeevaram Sarees Origin. From its origin to its history, motifs, the Weaving Process, Designs, Techniques and how to identify real Kanjeevaram. We have got you covered with everything that you need to know about the Queen of Pure Silk Traditional Sarees.

Suggested Read: Top 10 Most Luxurious Sarees in India

Kanjeevaram Sarees Origin

As per Hindu Mythology, Sage Markanda was famous for weaving Kanjeevaram saree. In fact, he was so famous that he was considered to be the father of Kanjeevaram Silk Saree Weavers. Kanjeevaram sarees AKA Kanchipuram Silk Sarees originate from the small city of Kanchipuram situated near Chennai in Tamil Nadu. With more than 129 magnificently carved temples, the great Pallavas built this city as a haven of fervent prayer and learning. 

Kanchipuram was soon termed the “Temple City.” The Pallavas worshipped Shiva, who isn’t recognised for his need for elaborate ceremonial garb. Only a white cotton veshti was required as a tribute to his simplicity. This veshti was woven by the best weavers in the land, using only the best cotton grown in the vicinity.

After Cholas took control of Kanchipuram, new temples were built, and they were particularly fond of worshipping Lord Vishnu, who was always dressed in extravagant robes. The cotton veshti has to be altered. The first alteration was to add a vividly coloured silk border with a touch of gold. 

Second, the professional master weavers of Saurashtra who had settled in Kanchipuram due to the high demand for quality woven fabric made a small innovation. As a result, the korvai technique came into being.  

After the Cholas, Vijayanagar monarchs ruled Kanchipuram. The great king Krishna Deva Raya gave authorisation for the Kanjeevaram sarees to be made for the palace women. These sarees were for religious rituals, marriages, and other festivities.  It’s because of the two famous weaver communities i.e. the Devangas and the Saligars who gave rise to the Pure Silk Traditional Kanjeevaram Sarees that we flaunt today!

How to identify traditional Kanjeevaram Silk Sarees around you?

An authentic Kanjivaram is composed of –

1. lustrous three-ply silk (called murukku pattu),

2. genuine zari (gold or silver thread),

3. contrast borders (karai) in Korvai (a hand-woven interlocking weaving technique),

4. a pallu (thalaippu) in contrast to the saree’s body, linked by the Petni technique. 

Kanjeevaram sarees are well-known for their texture, sheen, durability, and finish.  

The distinct traits in technique, pattern, colour, and fabric quality distinguish the Kanjeevaram from other Silk Sarees. The strongly contrasting border and pallu of a Kanjeevaram Silk saree are its most identifying features. 

Kanjeevaram cloth is one of the most resilient and sturdy textile materials. Since the saree is made with three silk threads woven together with silver wire, it is much more durable. A Kanjeevaram saree may weigh up to 2KGs. From 2005 to 2006, the Indian government has officially recognised it as a Geographical Indicator.

Read Also: All You Need To Know About Pochampally Sarees

The Magical Weaving Process & Technique

The Kanchipuram Silk Saree is hand-woven from pure mulberry silk yarn. It is then interleaved with designs made with pure gold and silver Zari sourced from Gujarat. Before using this fabric, weavers soak the threads in rice water and sun-dry to maintain their thickness and hardness. They then intertwine the motif of silver wire with the Silk threads. 

To make a Kanchipuram saree, weavers use up to three shuttles. While the weaver is weaving on the right side shuttle, his apprentice is weaving on the left side shuttle. The colour and design of the border are generally fairly distinct from the colour and design of the body. 

If the mundhi (the saree’s hanging end) needs to be woven in a different colour, it is first weaved separately and then gently connected to the Saree. A diagonal line is frequently used to depict the point where the body meets the mundhi. The body and border of a genuine Kanchipuram Silk Sarees are weaved separately and then fused together.

Weavers knit the border so tightly that even if the saree tears apart, it will not separate. Lastly, weavers use a golden thread to end the weaving. So, now you know why Kanjivaram silk has a certain golden sheen in its look. The thread has a metallic hue to it, which adds individuality to this gorgeous saree. Wow, the Kanjeevaram Sarees Origin is really filled with interesting facts and stories!

The Legacy of Hindu Myth, Indian History & Kanchipuram Culture – The Motifs

If we look at them closely, traditional motifs such as the lotus, parrots or peacocks, as well as geometric designs, have extensive amounts of gold or zari on the border and pallu of Kanjeevaram Sarees. It’s clear that most of the Motifs and Designs are strongly linked to Kanchipuram’s temples such as the temple borders from South Indian temples, the lions and yalis, the mango motif from the Ekambareshwarar temple, Rudraksha & Swans. 

The ancient temples of Kanchi are a never-ending source of inspiration. The exquisite carvings on the pillars, walls, and vimanas of the Kailasanatha, Ekambreswara, Varadaraja Perumal, and Vaikunta Perumal temples provide inspiration for floral, vine, animal, bird, and yali motifs.

Vintage designs include malli moggu, jasmine blossom design, coin butta, mango, or paisley. The veldhari, neli, horizontal stripes, and other types of multi-coloured checks, ranging from kottadi or tiny zari checks to bigger checks called papli, are all unique patterns. 

It’s only in Kanchipuram that one can find local names of various colours in the local language such as vadamalli, kathiripoo, elumichai, aanatha, elaikai, Kesari, naval pazham, pon vandu, srichurnam, manthulir, ennai arakku. It’s no surprise that these colours have a sense of visual influence on the clothing as well as the person wearing it.

So, this was all you needed to know about Traditional Kanjeevaram Sarees Origin. We know you believe too that Kanjivaram pure silk sarees are a wealth of silk fineness, made to be showcased on special occasions and cherished treasures, as every South Indian woman would definitely acknowledge.

Suggested Read: Difference between Kanchipuram and Kanjivaram sarees

Crazy About Kanjeevaram Sarees?

If you want a Kanjeevaram saree that looks right out of the cover of Vogue, then you needn’t look further than Julahaa Sarees. To know more about our Kanjeevaram saree catalogues, visit us at www.julahaa.com. We manufacture and supply Kanjeevaram sarees that women can pass down from one generation to the next. And what’s more, is that all our sarees come in prime packaging edition so that your sarees can look fresh forever!

Our expert craftsmen designed the packaging with state-of-the-art machinery. Also, it is our same dedication towards the highest quality that has made us India’s fastest growing saree brand 2021

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