Kalamkari Sarees – Inspiring Hand Painted Sarees of India

by Shatika, July 16, 2016

The art of painting or making a saree has a lot of reverence as both are an act of someone’s heartfelt emotions on view. A statement, a declaration or simple rendition of feelings. We at Shatika have a lot of respect for the weaver because he gives vent to his art and creates this creation-the saree, which dazzles us and makes us spellbound. The nimble fingers work non-stop for 15 days or a month depending on the obsession of the work. The sarees are hand-woven and painted into a piece of art to be honoured by donning it and flaunting them.

Kalamkari Sarees

The handwoven sarees are filled with colours which fill you with awe. At the dexterity, fluidity of the thought and the use of colors. We today refer to them as the kalamkari handloom sarees, which are painted  in the age old fashion and even today there is nothing to surpass that art! Natural colours were in use thus very friendly to the skin. There are two distinct styles. One is the Srikalahasti and the Machilipatnam style. In the Srikalahasti style, the pen or the ‘kalam’ was used to draw in freehand and gods, goddesses, nature, animals were drawn and colours were filled in. In view below are some kalamkari sarees of Shatika:

kalamkari sarees

Olden days of glory

It is believed that kalamkari tree of life pattern had a lot of European buyers and kalamkari paintings in those days were in demand. These magical painters as they were also called were in a lot of demand as this art was loved as canopies, prayer mats and also in temples.


The technique is laborious and tedious but worth the while, as we can see!! Before the hand printing, there is resist dyeing. The processes involved, and the mordant used changes the color of the cloth. Each step paves the way for perfection. The Kalamkari sarees are popular in India and abroad. Many of our foreign buyers only demand kalamkari sarees. A saree is made to be a source of joy to some woman , who is fated to buy it, it is a novel way of national integration because we love each saree regardless from where it comes. When man starts using this ideology in their attitude towards each other. To love each other based on one’s merit and not caste and creed. We have digressed but the fact remains that the kalamkari sarees have a niche for themselves, which no one can take from them.

Kalahasti , in Andhra Pradesh is famous for kalamkari sarees. In Machilipatnam block printing is done and these blocks are very old. Please take note these saree have been exclusive been made for Shatika:

kalamkari block print sarees

Shatika has in her repertoire priceless gems of Kalamkari sarees online which are reminders that we belong to rich nation of culture and tradition. Each nook and corner of India has something to be proud of and indeed the handloom industry is huge and can sustain many more generations.

Image Courtesy – http://thealternative.in/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Pedana-20.jpg

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