Kanjeevaram sarees are well known throughout the Indian subcontinent and are associated with high status and festivities.
The origin story of these sarees starts with saint Markanda who people worship as the master weaver among all Gods. Legend says that he has even woven tissues by using the most delicate lotus fibre. The main weavers who handcraft these Kanjeevaram silk sarees are called Kanchis, also said to be the direct descendants of sage Markanda.
There is another legend or rather a historical anecdote that states that the renowned king Krishna-Deva Raya from the Chola dynasty reigned over Kancheepuram between 985 and 1015. He was among the forerunners who actively initiated silk trading and thus the two well-known weaving communities, the Devangas, and the Saligars arrived in the city of Kanchipuram. However, later during the 17th century, the trade saw a halt because of the French invasion.
What’s Kanjeevaram Sarees’ status now?
These days, Kanjivaram is the principal South Indian saree. After Kanjeevaram, there are certain specialties like Opara and others. It is among the most intricately woven sarees and if you are an ethnic fashionista then you must keep one kanjeevaram silk saree in your wardrobe. These sarees are even famous as kanjeevaram wedding sarees as they are worn throughout Southern Indian on weddings by the bride. The kanjeevaram has become a staple in South Indian culture and is largely associated with women of the Deccan where these sarees are widely worn on occasions. Even the famous actress Deepika Padukone wore a Kanjeevaram silk saree on her wedding along with a silk, handwoven kanjeevaram veil for the Saraswat wedding rituals.
How is it designed and what’s the pattern?
Sarees are 9 yards of elegance so naturally, the kanjeevaram is also 9 yards long. These types of sarees have designs of temples woven into it. Over time, Kanjeevaram sarees have transformed into 6 yards of grace that have gold zari weaving. These sarees with gold weaving are quite expensive. Some sarees have fruits, flowers, and peacocks woven into them using the zari thread of gold or silver or gold plated copper.
However, if you are exploring Kanjeevaram wedding sarees and need something within a budget-friendly margin then you can go for an artificial zari that looks quite like the original gold and silver zari but is much more affordable. These sarees are sold in a wide variety of colours which give the women wearing them an alluring and graceful appearance.
For proper maintenance, it is suggested that women having these sarees should go for dry cleaning only. They should never be washed inside a machine and nor should they be kept inside a plastic bag. Read the instructions on your saree maintenance well when you purchase it and don’t dry it in direct sunlight. Make sure that you nicely fold it and keep it clean.
The specialty of these sarees lies in their texture, glimmer, sturdiness, and refinement which is why they are touted as the queen of all sarees. The material used in making the heavy Kancheepuram silk sarees is refined which makes the sarees quite expensive owing to their finesse and weight. The weight of the sarees is the only parameter that reflects their quality. The heavier, the higher the quality.
Cost of kanjeevaram sarees
Best kanjeevaram sarees may cost in lacs and the starting price for these sarees is in thousands. These sarees are exported throughout the world, especially to countries like the USA, UK, Italy, Australia, Sri Lanka, Canada, Dubai, etc. These sarees have also been awarded the GI (Geographical Indication) status by the Tamil Nadu government.
You can also shop online directly at a trader’s online store if you know about the trader’s status and are aware of his/her quality of the sarees. Or you can explore e-commerce stores selling kanjeevaram sarees online and take your pick. It is better to shop from vast stores as you get a broader variety while shopping.