The Importance Of Kanchipuram Silk in South India
The month of Thai (Makar/Jan 15 to Feb 15) is synonymous with happy things, weddings, and auspiciousness. Other religious ceremonies that are usually not held in the month of Margazhi make a grand return. At such ceremonies, the womenfolk of the families adorn themselves in Kanchivaram silks, the epitome of grace in South Indian textile. These silks are an integral part of any ceremony or festival in the region and feature the traditional 9 yards when it comes to religious occasions and rituals. This blog will explore the significance of Kanchipuram pure silk sarees in the South Indian culture and how it has become an quintessential part of traditional ceremonies over the years.
What is Kanchipuram Silk?
Kanchipuram Silk or Kanjivaram silk is a type of silk fabric handwoven in Tamil Nadu, India, dating back to the Chola dynasty in the 11th century. It has a labour-intensive weaving process that requires great skill and attention to detail and provides employment for numerous people in the region. Weaving involves dyeing raw silk in vivid colours and attaching it to a weaving loom to create traditionally woven sarees, which are heavy but soft with fine counts of silk and embellished with intricate designs inspired by temple architecture, nature, and mythology. In recent years, the popularity of these sarees has spread beyond South India, with people from all over the country and abroad, appreciating their beauty and craftsmanship. Compared to other silks of India such as the Banarasi silk sarees or Tussar silk sarees, the weaving techniques used in creating a Kanjivaram make it comfortable, sturdy and long-lasting.
Characteristics of Kanchipuram Silk Sarees
Kanchipuram silk sarees are handwoven with pure silk thread obtained from mulberry silkworms. Zari, a silver silk thread coated in gold colour, is used to add rich finishings to a saree's border and pallu. The weaving process is complex and involves several steps, from spinning the silk yarn to dyeing and weaving the fabric.
The weaving traditions followed by the weavers of the town of Kanchipuram are unique, and one of the main techniques followed is called Korvai. The techniques used ensure the durability of these sarees and with minimal maintenance, your Kanchivarams can keep its own for a long time. The designs on these sarees have transformed today with embroidery or crystal work done on traditional Kanjivaram sarees and paintings of gods and goddesses in the pallu.
Significance of Kanchipuram Silk in South Indian Culture
This silk has been an integral part of South Indian culture for centuries, and its cultural and religious significance makes it a must-have in any South Indian wardrobe. It’s a symbol of wealth, finesse, and status in India and is a popular choice for traditional ceremonies and special occasions. In weddings down south, it is a sacred symbol of the bride's purity and grace, and is also worn during other ceremonies such as the naming ceremony of a newborn baby, engagements, upanayanams, and religious festivals.
Global Recognition of Kanchipuram Silk
Kanchivarams are popular among celebrities in cinema, politics, and business, with a growing number of them using the attire for many occasions - big or small. You’d be surprised to know that international fashion brands such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and many other designers have incorporated Kanchivarams into their fashion wear! Designer Alberta Ferretti used the Kanchipuram as a centrepiece for a ball gown he designed. Tod's D bag features intricate zari with leather that valorizes the silk.
The GI tag (Geographical Indication tag) was given to Kanchipuram sarees in 2005 to protect traditional craftsmen and ensure customers get authentic products. However, globalisation has brought opportunities and challenges to the industry, such as competition from cheaper imitations, duplication or adulteration of zari. To preserve the industry's legacy, several efforts have been made to promote and protect the industry.
Kanchipuram silk sarees are an intrinsic part of the culture and tradition of southern India and are a symbol of elegance, beauty, and grace. Rasvriti offers a collection of traditional Kanjivarams that represents resolute craftsmanship and creativity of the weavers. To support the silk industry, we encourage you to check out the collection of Kanchivaram silk sarees online here. Get ready to be dazzled by the gorgeous collections and make your next special occasion one to remember with traditional Kanchivaram sarees.