The Kanchipuram( or Kanjivaram) Saree, known for its traditional grandeur and rich feel, is chosen for its exclusivity, and displayed only on special occasions.
Kanchipuram, near Chennai, is famous for its Kanchipuram or Kanjeevaram Sarees.
Traditionally Kanjeevaram Sarees are of silk and cotton. However the Kanchipuram Silk Saree, exclusively known for its regal look and grand feel is the possessor’s pride and the envy of others. No marriage or traditional function in South India seems solemnized unless the resplendent Kanchipuram Silk Saree adorns many a woman present on the occasion.
Kanchipuram Silk Sarees are made of pure silk, achieving their grandeur from the motifs having zari of silk threads dipped in liquid gold and silver. Classification as a Kanjeevaram Sari, needs the Geographical Indication (GI) stipulation, that the decorative zari must have at least 57% silver and 0.6% gold in it, be followed in word and detail.
A geographical indication (GI) is a name or sign used on certain products which corresponds to a specific geographical location or origin. The use of a GI may act as a certification that the product possesses certain qualities, is made according to traditional methods, or enjoys a certain reputation, due to its geographical origin.
Kanchipuram Sarees have GI label for the product since 2005.
Elegant broad borders with colours and designs different from that of the body highlight the Kanjeevaram Silk Saree. The pallu or hanging end of the saree, could be of the same colour and design as that of the border or could differ. If different, it is woven separately and then finely attached to the main saree.
A Kanjeevaram Silk Sari could take two to three weavers working simultaneously, anywhere from a week to a fortnight to complete a Saree. The time taken depends upon the uniqueness and intricacy of the design to be incorporated in the motif.
Typical motifs are sun, moon, peacock, swan, lion and mango. Themes like jasmine flowers scattered between boundaries, parallel lines running across the sun or temple structures, are also popular.
A popular variation is a thicker, stiff and heavier Kanchipuram Silk Saree. This is achieved by the dipping of zari threads in rice water and drying it to get thickness, before weaving for supplementary warp and weft patterns.
Priced from a modest Rs. 2000/-, the Kanchipuram Silk Saree could move upto a lakh and above, based on the design, motif and materials used.
Modern designs, artistic floral work and other incorporations on the saree body are variations to widen the appeal of the Kanchipuram Silk Saree.
The latest Kanchi Pattu Silk Saris have crystals, kundans and beads. They make exclusive gifts on festive occasions, are preferred as grand bridal attire or are used as wear for special occasions like weddings, visit to temples during traditional festivals, cultural programs, big parties and birthdays.
The Kanchipuram Cotton Handloom Saree, which is soft and airy, with check patterns in attractive colour combinations, appealing motifs, elegant borders and pallus, is comfortable, appealing and preferred during summers.
The South Handloom Kanchi Cotton Saree with its embroidered bootis and having silk or zari brocades as borders, is suitable wear for daily casual, corporate office, college and functions.