The royal handlooms of Madhya Pradesh – Chanderi Silk Sarees

by Shatika, May 19, 2017

Known as the country’s art repository, Chanderi in Madhya Pradesh houses Chanderi silk sarees that are uniquely extravagant sarees and are symbolic of grandeur and rightly come with the title, royalty. The popularity of Chanderi silk sarees was the times of Rajas and Maharajas that in Raja Ravi Varma’s paintings, one can see the way he has used Chanderi by looking at the textures of the paintings.

The Warp and the Weft of Chanderi Sarees

Time is a luxury with Chanderi handwoven sarees. With each saree taking about a month and more, the gossamer and silken textured Chanderi subscribes to the tradition of rich and varied textile traditions of India. There is a compelling magic about Chanderi sarees when compared to other silk sarees as the fabric of Chanderi is finer. Because of this one can create wider and more complex borders, which is not possible with other weaves.

Chanderi silk sarees have always been associated with auspicious occasions and traditions. This gossamer fabric from Madhya Pradesh is a timeless weave, which is part of the bridal trousseau of every Maratha family. Convenient and comfortable to wear, these sarees are rather light with a very soft texture and drapes well too. Sarees that have stood the test of time, Chanderi sarees are more versatile in terms of designs compared to the other weaves.

The Maratha royal family has patronized Chanderi sarees for ages. If one happens to see the portraits of the royal family of Baroda, one can find that every portrait depicts the royal heiresses with their sari pleats arranged elaborately at their feet, golden pallu in real zari glistening and the Chanderi saree draped luxuriously over the blouse, creating a subtle glow. In unusual colours such as the subtle blues and the onion pinks which are not commonly found in other silken weaves and motifs like the coin motif and leaf designs that date back 100 years, chanderi sarees are truly royal and are fit for the queens, quite literally!

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