There is no discourse that gets complete without mentioning the queen of silks – the Kanjeevaram saree. This saree, known for being the best-preferred weave of the Gods, has a vibrant history through the ages of time. Initially weaved as a means of recording temple stories through a philosophy of designs and patterns, the Kanjeevaram saree was originally 9 yards long, but now, is 6 yards long with gold or silver zari.
According to the Myths
Once upon a time, there was a celebrated Sage Markanda, who was fabled to know all the tastes of the Gods. He weaved this silk from the Lotus fibre. Centuries later, his progenies settled in the quaint town of Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu. The weave comprises the thread called 'pattu-nool' from Karnataka, and the zari came from Surat. It was then a weave that is a family affair – one needs more than two hands to wind the thread through the beam. A classic handwoven saree takes anywhere from 5 to 20 days with full 8 hours of work each day.
According to History
It was during the medieval times, during Rajaraja Chola's period of rule, that silk was established as a trade. Expert weavers were called in, and from Andhra Pradesh came the Devangas and Saligars, who settled in Kanjeevaram. This movement of migration is still known for being the biggest in the 15th century.
A special weaving technique that uses three singular threads of silk yarn along with the zari, is the unique feature of the Kanjeevaram saree. The enthralling white mulberry worms produce the finest silk with which each saree having almost 200 or 300 threads is woven, making it secure, durable, and strong. The zari comprises both gold and silver zari, with the gold running in first and followed by a coating of gold.
Motifs and patterns dominate the designs of the Kanjeevaram saree, with pallu and the body being weaved as different stretches of fabric. The pallu is in a strikingly different color from the body, and then joined through a zig-zag pattern called the 'Korvai' joint. The designs are inspired by scriptures and art from the temples of Kanchipuram, while motifs like the conch shell, temple border, horizontal stripes, mango, small checks, peacock, large checks, Neli rings, or Vaira Oosi (diamond needles) make up the patterns.
Did you know?
- The Kanjeevaram saree is 48 inches long, a little more than 6 yards, while the other silk sarees have a standard length of 45 inches.
- Because of features like an intricate weave technique using the double wrap thread, a broader width, the pure gold-dipped zari, a regular Kanchi Pattu weighs between 500 grams and 1 kg.
- A traditional Kanjeevaram saree would have approximately 500 grams of silver and around 5 grams of gold for 1 kg of the saree.
For people who are saree connoisseurs, the Kanjeevaram Pattu Podava is bound to be a distinct investment. Of course, who wouldn't want to own a saree made of the queen of silks?