The History of Chanderi Sarees
India is blessed with a variety of textiles and weaving techniques; whether it’s the delicate georgette or the Banarasi weave, there is intricacy, talent, and hard work in every thread. Whether it’s the eclectic Bandhej or Ikat, the Indian textile industry encapsulates the identities of its regions. At one point in history, India’s textile industry was revered across the globe; it’s a position still held to this day with many fashion houses creating their exquisite designs in the country. There is luxury even in the simplest of the weaves that our country produces. Whether it’s the luxurious Kanjivaram weaved with real Zari or a simple Tant saree from Bengal, each weave is exquisite.
One of the popular saree coming from our handlooms is the Chanderi Saree. There are various types of chanderi sarees available. However, the most authentic chanderi handloom saree originates in Chanderi, a town situated in Madhya Pradesh. The town and the saree find their places in the history and mythologies of our country. The stories are interesting and gives us an understanding of the delicate weave we like to adorn.
The Mythical Tales Of Chanderi Sarees
The town of Chanderi holds a special place in our mythologies; it is surrounded by lakes, lush green forests and various monuments of historical significance. The town’s scenic beauty is mentioned in various texts. Apart from its significance in Hinduism, the town is also a major center of Jainism. Mahabharat is an extensive epic in Hinduism culture, while there are many memorable characters in the story, one of them happens to be Shishupala. Shishupala was the cousin of Lord Krishna and the King of Chanderi, or as it is known in the epic as Chedi. Shishupala was the last and final avatar of Jaya, Lord Vishnu’s gatekeeper. Shishupala was slain at the coronation of Yudhishthira.
Shishupala was also a great devotee of Goddess Durga. The Maa Jageshwari Mandir at Chanderi is a self-manifested temple. The form of the goddess in the temple is believed to be the form in which she gave darshan to Shishupala. This temple is also considered to be one of the fifty-one Shakti Peeths. It is beautiful and celebrates the divine feminine. It’s this iconic town where the beautiful Chanderi sarees came into existence, some say that it was Shishupala himself who introduced the fabric to the world.
History and evolution of Chanderi
The history of Chanderi is just as interesting as the mythology. The industry was pushed forth by the Scindias, a prominent royal family of the country. However, the legacy of the weavers goes back to the 7th and 12th centuries. The Koshti weavers of Jhansi migrated to Chanderi and resumed their weaving in the quaint town. During the Mughal era, the industry reached its peak. At the time of Emperor Jahangir, Chanderi fabrics extending to over fifteen yards were so fine and delicate that they would not even weigh a whole kilogram. Such was the artistry.
Royal families all over the country wore the sarees to auspicious events like childbirth and marriage. These included the nobility from Kolhapur, Baroda, Indore and even Nagpur, amongst others. The weaving process of Chanderi can take anywhere between a few days to even weeks. The tenacity and skill of the weavers cannot be exaggerated.
The craft declined in the 17th century, but the Scindia royal family extended its patronage to the craft in 1920. It’s here that the craft was revived and reintroduced in a big way; the translucent and billowy fabric was an instant love amongst everyone. Motifs created from gold were introduced around this time. However, the craft faced tough competition from the cheaply made mill yarn from Manchester. Still, Chanderi Saree have retained their own and are one of the most elegant weaves in the country. The weaving technique of this beautiful fabric is intricate.
Our country’s rich heritage is woven into the delicate threads of the tapestry; it’s colorful and fills us with pride. Chanderi Sarees are an integral part of our textile industry, and it’s history and association with our mythology only make them even more special. Having a Chanderi silk saree in our wardrobe is indeed special; this lyrical saree is soft, breezy and different from the other types of sarees prevalent in our country. Chanderi sarees can be quite visual with motifs like peacocks, geometric patterns, and florals. These sarees are some of the finest weaves in the country. The opulence of the saree cannot be defined or put into words.
Weaver Story offers some of the best chanderi sarees online, each created with immense love and affection and maintaining the authenticity of the craft. This luxurious saree makes for some of the most exemplary looks and is a must-have in every woman’s wardrobe.
Author: Uma Shekhawat