The Silk Weaving Industry in Kanchipuram

The trousseau of an Indian bride is incomplete without at least one silk sari. And, when it comes to a South Indian bride, it must be Kanchipuram silk. The unique textile quality, weaving, and fabric strength makes Kanchipuram silk sari popular among all Indian women. Named after the small town of Tamil Nadu, the silk industry of Kanchipuram is recognized as a Geographical Indicator by the Government of India. If you have a wedding coming up in the family, or are just planning a saree shopping spree and you’re in Vellore call taxi services that will take you to Kanchipuram in no time.

Weaving and Design

Kanchipuram silk sari is weaved from pure mulberry silk threads. You can recognize the authentic ones by the twisted yarn of double warp (vertical) and weft (horizontal), which adds to the weight of the fabric. The body and the border of the sari are weaved separately and then joined with a double weaving. This interlocking technique makes Kanchipuram saris unique and can be characterized by a zigzag line.

The most prominent aspect of the cloth, the Kanchipuram sari borders are elaborate and designed with intricate motifs. Temples, geometric patterns like checks, stripes and triangles, flora and fauna and mythology, often find a place in the border designs. In fact, originally, the patterns were inspired by images and scriptures of the temples of South India, stories of Hindu mythology, or works of legendary artists like Raja Ravi Verma. Epics like the Ramayana and Mahabharata are the most inspiring motifs for Kanchipuram saris. Some of the most distinguished patterns are Rudraksham (representing Rudraksha beads), Gopuram (representing temple towers), Mayilkan (representing the eye of a peacock) and Kuyilkan (representing a nightingale’s eye).

Another highlight of Kanchipuram saris is the highly contrasting border color of the body. Made in vibrant colors like scarlet, emerald green, ochre, black, purple, steel grey, peacock blue or turquoise, these saris indeed add a lively touch to a woman’s wardrobe. The designs of the Kanchipuram saris have evolved remarkably over the years, with the influence of designers and exposure to the world art and culture. The modern-day silk saris from this old town also include embroideries and crystal works, the weaving techniques and the base design concept remaining the same.

History

There is not dated the origin of Kanchipuram saris but is believed to be at least few centuries old. In those days, the saris were weaved in temples. Even during the reigns of the later kings and emperors, the industry was not organized. Much later, in 1949, the first co-operative society of silk weavers was formed by Kamatchi Amman Society, to systemize the process and provide them with proper financial support, unlike earlier. At that time, there were about 80 weavers, under the supervision and management of the state government. At present, Kamatchi Amman Society has about 2000 weavers working with them. Some of such reputed cooperatives are Murugan Silk Society, Vardharaja Silk Society, and Kamatchi Amman being the biggest.

Kanchipuram Silk Industry

The intricate weaving technique speaks of the skilled craftsmanship of Kanchipuram silk industry. The town, also known as Kanchi, is popular as the Silk City of South India, because of its economy largely being dependent on the silk industry. Weavers from surrounding towns like Salem, Coimbatore, and others are involved in the Kanchipuram silk industry.

Today, there are 24 such co-operative societies, with more than 50,000 weavers working across 60,000 silk looms. These cooperatives cater to both the domestic and international markets, contributing to a major percentage to India’s silk textile production. The Kanchipuram Silk industry has an annual turnover exceeding Rs 200 crores and an export of nearly Rs 3 crores.

Uniquely, though the town is one of the most significant silk fabric manufacturers of the country, none of its raw materials are produced in the region. To head to the town of Kanchipuram for saree shopping, call taxi Chennai services for a comfortable to the silk saree town.