The Ultimate Guide to Chanderi Sarees


History of Chanderi Sarees

India is rich in 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. The Indian textile industry, encompassing diverse styles such as the eclectic Bandhej and Ikat, represents the distinct identities of its regions. Historically, India's textile industry was esteemed worldwide, a prestigious position it continues to maintain. Many fashion houses today still choose India for the creation of their exquisite designs. 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 give us an understanding of the delicate weave we like to adorn. 


The Mythology Of Chanderi Sarees 

The historical town of Chanderi has a special place in Indian mythology, it’s surrounded by the beautiful lake, lush green forests, and various monuments. The scenic beauty of the town is talked about in various texts. Apart from its significance in Hinduism, the town is also a major centre of Jainism. 

The Mahabharata Connection

Mahabharata 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 texts as Chedi. The last and final avatar of Jaya, Lord Vishnu’s gatekeeper, Shishupala was slain at the coronation of Yudhishthira. He 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 renowned for its beauty and its celebration of the divine feminine. This iconic town is where the exquisite Chanderi sarees originated, where the fabric was founded by Shishupal himself. 


History and evolution of Chanderi

The history of Chanderi is as interesting as its mythological stories. 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. It was during the Mughal Era, the industry was at its peak and 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. 

All over the country, the royal families and nobility from Kolhapur, Baroda, Indore and even Nagpur, wore sarees to auspicious events and celebrations like childbirth and marriage. The process of weaving a Chanderi Saree can take anywhere between a few days to even weeks, the tenacity and skill of the weavers cannot be exaggerated. 

By the 17th century the chanderi craft had declined, but with the help of the Scindia royal family, it was revived in 1920. The craft was now reintroduced in a big way, adorning motifs created from gold this time and the translucent and billowy fabric was an instant hit amongst everyone. However, the craft faced tough competition from the cheaply made mill yarn from Manchester. Yet, we have managed to retain and are one of the most elegant weaves in the country. 

Chanderi Sarees are an integral part of our textile industry, and its history and association with our mythology 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 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. 

WeaverStory 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