The Kanchipuram Silk Industry – industry fabric

The occasion of marriage for a South Indian bride is incomplete without a Kanchipuram saree in her trosseau. Among the wide range of silk sarees available in India, from the Benares silk saree to the Patola from Patan, the Kanchipuram saree holds a special position. The strength and magnificence of the Kanchipuram saree makes it one of the favourites among ladies all over the world.Now that the world has become a global village, Kanchipuram sarees are available the world over. However, the production of these beautiful sarees is still centred in Kanchipuram, a small town located on the Palar river in South India. Also called Kanchi, the town is renowned for its silk industry and its temples.The origin of the Kanchipuram saree dates back to centuries ago, when these sarees used to be woven in temples. Kanchipuram sarees, woven from pure mulberry silk, are found in myriad colours. These sarees have borders and ‘pallu’ in a contrast colour with heavy gold weaving. Kanchipuram sarees traditionally had designs representing simple gold lines or gold dots. The designs in these sarees were inspired by the designs in South Indian temples or natural elements like birds, leaves, etc. Some of the best known patterns in Kanchipuram saree borders are ‘Rudraksham’ (representing Rudraksha beads), ‘Gopuram’ (representing temples), ‘Mayilkan’ (Peacock eye) and ‘Kuyilkan’ (Nightingale eye). Keeping in view the changing trends, Kanchipuram silk sarees have undergone a transformation. Now, even Kanchipuram designer silk sarees are available, with embroidery or crystal work done on the traditional silk saree. One of the latest trends in these sarees is using ancient paintings and the images of gods and goddesses in the ‘pallu’.In an authentic Kanchipuram silk saree, the body of the saree and the ‘pallu’ are woven separately and then stitched together. The distinctive weaving technique of a Kanchipuram silk saree using three single threads of silk yarn along with ‘zari’, that is silk threads dipped in liquid gold and silver. The mulberry silk comes from the state of Karnataka and the gold ‘zari’ comes from Surat. In spite of Kanchipuram becoming a world-famous silk industry centre, the town does not manufacture silk or any other raw material used in the production of a silk saree.The town of Kanchipuram is well known as “Silk City” because almost ¾ of its population is dependent upon the silk industry. Skilled and semi-skilled weavers from neighbouring towns like Salem, Arani, Coimbatore and Kumbakonam are also involved in the production of silk sarees.View Full ArticleCopyright © 2007